Stores see more in-person shoppers during Thanksgiving weekend

Published: Dec. 5, 2022 at 6:07 PM CST
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CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG) - During the Thanksgiving Weekend, the National Retail Federation said in-person shopping grew faster than online shopping compared to last year.

It’s a shift from the COVID-19 pandemic when more shoppers bought products online. The advocacy group also said the average consumer spent more money this year than last year, but the difference was similar to the inflation rate.

Stephanie Hanna, who owns Tangled Heartstrings in the Newbo City Market, said she noticed an increase in foot traffic near her store over the holiday weekend. She said the market has stayed consistently busy, which allows her to create a connection with her customers rather than a picture on a screen.

“The neat part for me is people, who come past my space whether they are going to be my customer or not, they all stop and look,” Hanna said. “Macrame brings back memories for a lot of people.”

She said the market has created additional hours in the morning for artisans to handle the increase in demand.

The National Retail Federation said more people are shopping online compared to brick and motor stores, but they are growing at two different rates. The number of online shoppers, according to the group, grew increased by 2% compared to 2021. While the number of in-person shoppers, according to the group increased by 17% compared to 2021.

Nancy Abram, who is a business professor at the University of Iowa, said she believes the increase is happening because people are less concerned with COVID-19 and large crowds. She also believes people like to shop and missed the experience over the holiday weekend.

“I think they missed it the last two years. Even last year with Omicron, I don’t know if everyone was comfortable getting back into crowds,” Abram said.

Regardless, COVID-19 hasn’t gone away in Eastern Iowa. Data from the city of Cedar Rapids shows COVID-19 is being found in wastewater at its third-highest rate since September 2021.

Screenshot from December 5, 2022
Screenshot from December 5, 2022(Ethan Stein)

The National Retail Federation said people this year spent around $325.44 this year, which is about an 8% increase compared to last year. According to Adobe Analytics, more people are also using “buy now pay later” methods to purchase products.

Two professors at Michigan State University said it’s common for consumers to plan purchases more carefully during a troubled economy. A survey they published found more than half of people will try to spend more time finding the best deals.