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2023 Black Friday and Cyber Monday Recap and Holiday Sales Predictions

The 2023 holiday season has officially kicked off with a resounding success as a record-breaking 200.4 million people flocked to retail stores and scoured websites for gifts from Thanksgiving Day through Cyber Monday, according to a survey by the National Retail Federation (NRF). This turnout marks an all-time high since the NRF began tracking total in-store and online traffic in 2017, surpassing last year's figure of 196.7 million shoppers and even the NRF's own forecast of about 182 million people during the five-day weekend.

While the NRF did not provide an estimate for total spending, they reported that shoppers spent an average of $321.41 on holiday-related purchases over the weekend. This figure closely mirrors last year's average of $325.44, with no adjustment made for inflation.

During a call with reporters, NRF CEO Matt Shay attributed the impressive turnout to consumer sentiment, enticing deals offered by retailers, and cooler temperatures driving seasonal purchases.

Record Online Shopping – An Omnichannel Event

The shift towards online shopping continued to gain momentum, with 134.2 million people shopping online during this year's holiday weekend, compared to 130.2 million a year ago. On the brick and mortar side, the number of in-store shoppers fell slightly from 122.7 million people in 2022 to 121.4 million this year.

Black Friday online sales in the U.S. reached $9.8 billion, up 7.5% from the previous year, according to Adobe. Cyber Monday surpassed that figure, with e-commerce spending totaling $12.4 billion, marking a 9.6% year-over-year increase.

Early Shopping Trends

As of Thanksgiving weekend, consumers reported that they were approximately halfway done with their holiday shopping, according to NRF's survey of 3,498 adult consumers conducted from November 22 to 26. The top gifts purchased were clothing, accessories and toys, with personal care and beauty items also made their debut in the top five most popular gifts, reflecting evolving consumer preferences.

Holiday Sales Expectations

While the early holiday shopping season has shown strength, it is too soon to predict how the rest of the peak retail season may unfold. Retailers have expressed caution about the season's outlook, citing some ongoing challenges in discretionary spending, even though it has picked up during promotional events.

Holiday sales in November and December are anticipated to rise by 3% to 4% year over year, reaching between $957.3 billion and $966.6 billion, according to the NRF. This growth rate, although slower compared to the pandemic-era boom, aligns with average sales increases before COVID-19.

Black Friday and Cyber Monday in 2023 have set a high bar for the holiday shopping season, with record-breaking turnout and robust online sales. As we move forward, retailers will continue to navigate uncertainties while shoppers can expect more deals and promotions as they complete their holiday shopping lists.

About Bluestock Advisors


At Bluestock Advisors we are proud to offer our clients high-touch, high-value advisory services distinct from what large consulting firms offer. Our team of rock star experts have decades of experience with the top retail and CPG companies in the world.  We apply our skills (strategy + operations + deep sector expertise) and passions (home and retail goods + long-term relationships) to foster growth, creativity, and agility while being champions for women in the workforce.


We help our clients honestly assess how they are operating today relative to this framework, define their future state destination, and develop a roadmap to close gaps within the desired timeline.  Our clients are also our friends, because we care about each other’s passions, interests, and successes and value long-term relationships above commercial gain. 

Please be in touch if you’d like to connect and learn more. 


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