Thanksgiving to Cyber Monday Trends: Leveraging Last Year’s Insights for Your 2023 PR Campaigns

As we wrap up the year and dive headfirst into the holiday season, PR professionals have a golden opportunity to cook up captivating campaigns that resonate with consumers this Thanksgiving. 

Thanksgiving, Black Friday and Cyber Monday 2022 shattered records and presented a wealth of opportunities for savvy PR practitioners. Let’s delve into the insights and statistics from NRF’s annual survey to explore how you can use this data to craft compelling campaigns for these record-breaking days in your 2023 campaigns. 

[Free Downloadable: 2024 Editorial and Holiday Calendar] 

A shopping frenzy: Record 196.7 million shoppers 


The numbers are nothing short of astounding. In 2022, a whopping 196.7 million Americans embraced classic Thanksgiving traditions and embarked on a shopping spree that spanned the five-day period from Thanksgiving Day through Cyber Monday. This remarkable figure, as reported by the NRF, marks an increase of nearly 17 million shoppers from the previous year, setting a new record. It’s the highest number since NRF began tracking this data in 2017. 

So what exactly does that mean? As PR professionals, it’s crucial to recognize that Thanksgiving shopping has become a cherished tradition for many American families. Shoppers are seeking convenience and value, and this is where your campaigns can really cut through the holiday noise. 

[Read more: Explore the 2023 Halloween PR trends!]

Key strategies  

Harness the enthusiasm of holiday shoppers by crafting campaigns that celebrate the joy of giving and the convenience of seasonal buying. Showcase how your brand can add value to this festive season. 

  • Focusing on tradition. The holiday season and shopping have become inseparable traditions for many families. Leverage this sentiment in your campaigns by highlighting the nostalgia and sense of togetherness associated with Thanksgiving and Black Friday shopping. 
  • Emphasizing convenience. Promote your clients’ offerings as time-saving solutions. Whether it’s curbside pickup, express delivery or user-friendly mobile apps, make sure your campaigns emphasize the convenience factor, as consumers will be looking for hassle-free experiences. 
  • Value proposition. In addition to convenience, shoppers are keen on finding deals and value for their money. Develop messaging that showcases discounts, special offers and exclusive promotions to entice consumers. Highlight how your clients’ products or services provide exceptional value in the competitive holiday market. Embrace the visual nature of shopping by conjuring captivating imagery and videos that showcase the delight of Thanksgiving, Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Visual-forward tactics like infographics, videos and listicles would be a perfect fit for this time of year, helping to visually communicate the value your clients offer. 
  • Early planning. Early planning cannot be stressed enough. Encourage businesses to start planning their 2023 holiday campaigns well in advance — they are sneaking up quickly! The competition is fierce, and early preparation will be crucial for standing out and capturing a share of the market. Staying ahead of the game will be key in the 2023 holiday season, and let’s not forget 2024 planning.

To further enhance your holiday PR campaigns and ensure their success, consider incorporating Guaranteed Media Placements into your strategy. Guaranteed Media Placements, a category which includes MAT releases, can be powerful tools to disseminate important information to the media in a concise and effective manner. By planning and crafting your Media Placements in advance, you can ensure your message will stand out in the competitive holiday market. 

[Read More: What is a MAT Release?] 

Black Friday and Super Saturday: In-store shopping reigns supreme 


In 2022, we witnessed a remarkable surge in both in-store and online shoppers. Over 122.7 million individuals opted for the tactile experience of brick-and-mortar stores, marking a substantial 17% increase from the previous year. Simultaneously, the online shopping realm expanded, although at a more measured pace, with 130.2 million online shoppers recorded — a modest 2% increase over 2021. These statistics paint a clear picture: consumers continue to engage with both in-store and online shopping channels. 

[Read more: Discover 2023 holiday PR trends!]

How to leverage this 

  • Balancing act. For your 2023 PR campaigns, consider crafting messages that balance the convenience of online shopping with the allure of in-store experiences. Acknowledge that consumers appreciate having options, and your brand can cater to both preferences.

Black Friday remains an unshakable cornerstone of holiday shopping. Approximately 72.9 million consumers chose in-person shopping on this day, marking an increase from the previous year. This day continues to reign as the most favored day for in-store shopping, and its significance should not be underestimated. 

How to leverage this 

  • Make it memorable. Plan campaigns that make Black Friday an event to remember. Encourage businesses to offer exclusive in-store deals, create memorable shopping experiences and build excitement around this tradition.

The Saturday after Thanksgiving has also witnessed a substantial increase in in-store shoppers, with 63.4 million individuals participating — a significant upswing from the previous year. What’s even more heartening is that a resounding 77% of these Saturday shoppers indicated they were specifically shopping in support of Small Business Saturday. This trend underscores the importance of community and supporting local businesses. 

[Read more: 3 Takeaways for the Next 3 Years for PR Industry!]

How to leverage this 

Reiterating early planning can’t be emphasized enough: the holiday season waits for no one, and businesses that start their preparations now are more likely to stand out and succeed. The lessons from the record-breaking 2022 holiday season offer invaluable insights to inform and inspire your upcoming campaigns.

How to leverage this 

  • Early bird gets the worm. Early campaign planning is a key factor in staying ahead in the competitive 2023 holiday season. Provide actionable steps for businesses to begin their planning.

By weaving these insights into your PR strategies, you can create campaigns that resonate with consumers in the upcoming 2023 holiday season. It’s all about combining tradition with modernity, celebrating community and ensuring your clients are well prepared for the festivities ahead. 

Thanksgiving weekend shopper preferences: Where and what they bought 


In 2022, Black Friday was again the most popular day for online shopping. Around 87.2 million consumers indulged in online shopping on Black Friday, consistent with 2021 figures. Similarly, Cyber Monday saw an impressive 77 million online shoppers. Notably, a record-breaking 59% of Cyber Monday shoppers made their purchases using mobile devices, up from 52% in 2021. 

How to leverage this 

  • Digital excellence. Emphasize the importance of optimizing online shopping experiences in your 2023 PR campaigns. Encourage businesses to make their websites and apps mobile-friendly and ensure seamless transactions. Highlight the significance of being prepared for the digital shopping frenzy.

The preferred destinations for Thanksgiving weekend shoppers in 2022 included online retailers (42%), department stores (42%), grocery stores and supermarkets (40%), clothing and accessories stores (36%), and discount stores (32%). These insights provide a clear picture of where consumers turned to for their holiday shopping needs. 

How to leverage this 

  • Retailer collaboration. Suggest collaborations and partnerships between businesses that align with these shopping destinations. For instance, if your client is an online retailer, consider collaborations with department stores or supermarkets to expand their reach and tap into the shopping preferences of consumers.

Consumers displayed a generous spirit in 2022, spending an average of $325.44 on holiday-related purchases over the weekend, up from $301.27 in 2021. Importantly, most of this spending, $229.21 on average, was directed specifically toward gifts. 

How to leverage this 

  • Gift-centric campaigns. Encourage businesses to focus their 2023 campaigns on gift-giving and the joy of sharing. Develop heartwarming narratives that connect with consumers’ gifting intentions, emphasizing the emotional significance of holiday presents.

A significant 90% of Thanksgiving weekend shoppers felt that the deals they encountered were either the same as or better than those of the previous year. This is a testament to the perceived value consumers found during the 2022 holiday shopping period.

How to leverage this 

  • Highlighting value. Stress the importance of communicating the value proposition in your 2023 PR campaigns. Encourage businesses to showcase their deals, discounts and special offers prominently. Leverage customer testimonials and reviews to build trust in the perceived value.

Your Thanksgiving campaigns and beyond

As we draw the curtains on this insightful journey into the Thanksgiving to Cyber Monday trends of 2022, one thing is abundantly clear: PR professionals have a unique opportunity to create campaigns that resonate with consumers and make a lasting impact. The record-breaking numbers, the shift in shopping preferences and the enduring traditions all offer valuable insights that can shape your PR strategies for the 2023 holiday season. 

But remember, early planning is the key to success in the fast-paced world of holiday PR campaigns. The lessons from the 2022 holiday season provide a blueprint for creating memorable and effective campaigns that combine tradition with modernity and celebrate the spirit of community. So, don’t forget to download our 2024 editorial and holiday calendar, which can be a tool for navigating the upcoming year and making the most of strategic opportunities. 

We specialize in crafting PR campaigns that capture the essence of the season and deliver results. If you’re looking to leverage these insights and create impactful campaigns for the 2023 holiday season, don’t hesitate to get in touch. Our team is here to help you navigate the evolving landscape and make the most of the opportunities ahead. Explore this year’s Holiday PR trends!

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