By Brecken Branstrator
Washington--Now that the election is over, American shoppers are eager to begin their holiday shopping and see what deals retailers will offer during the upcoming weekend.

According to the annual survey released by the National Retail Federation and Prosper Insights & Analytics, 59 percent of Americans--an estimated 137.4 million people--are planning to or considering shopping during Thanksgiving weekend.

These numbers, covering Thanksgiving Day, Black Friday and Small Business Saturday as well as Sunday, include both in-store and online shopping. This also marks an increase from the 58.7 percent, or 135.8 million people, last year.

The survey found that 21 percent of weekend shoppers plan to shop on Thanksgiving Day, which is a slight decrease from last year’s 22 percent, but Black Friday will remain the busiest day of the holiday weekend with 74 percent planning to shop that day--the same as in 2015.

Meanwhile, 47 percent are expected to shop on Saturday; of these, 24 percent indicate they will do it to support Small Business Saturday, which is up from 22 percent in 2015. Twenty-four percent expect to shop on Sunday.

Younger shoppers said they would shop the weekend in higher numbers than overall consumers. According to the survey, 77 percent of 18- to 24-year-olds and 76 percent of 25- to 34-year-olds plan to shop over the weekend. As with shoppers overall, Black Friday is the day most millennial weekend shoppers plan to shop--86 percent of 18- to 24-year-olds and 78 percent of those between 25 and 34.

While not included in the 137.4 million total planning to shop during the Thanksgiving weekend, 36 percent of consumers say they plan to shop online on Cyber Monday, up from the 34 percent in 2015.

“Millennials continue to drive the trend of hitting the stores--both on their feet and online--as soon as the turkey is finished,” Prosper Principal Analyst Pam Goodfellow said. “Whether they’re hoping to find gifts for themselves or for the folks on their lists, they will do their research to find the best deals of the weekend and have allotted a large part of their holiday budget for Black Friday, Small Business Saturday and Cyber Monday spending.”

The NRF also released numbers earlier this week indicating that 56 percent of shoppers have already started buying holiday gifts, the second-highest level in the history of the survey and down slightly from the record 57 percent at the same time last year.

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