GREENSBORO, N.C. — The holiday shopping season is here. Retailers across the U.S. are already experiencing large crowds, long lines, and shoppers searching for the best holiday deals and deals for 2019. 

According to the National Retail Federation, the world's largest retail trade association, an estimated 165.3 million people will likely shop Thanksgiving Day through Cyber Monday. 

The NRF conducted its annual holiday shopping survey. It shows about 39.6 million people began shopping on Thanksgiving Day. NRF also expects about 114.6 million people to shop on Black Friday, 66.6 million on Small Business Saturday, and 33.3 million on Sunday. The shopping weekend will wrap up on Cyber Monday when 68.7 million are expected to take advantage of online bargains.

"The tradition of Thanksgiving weekend holiday shopping has become a five-day event with consumers spending money in stores, supporting local small businesses, and online with their mobile devices and computers," NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay said. "Even as people are starting to purchase gifts earlier in the season, consumers still enjoy finding good Thanksgiving deals and passing time shopping with family and friends over the long holiday weekend."

The top reasons consumers are planning to shop include:

  • The deals are too good to pass up 
  • Tradition 
  • It's when they like to start their holiday shopping 
  • It's something to do over the holiday
  • It's a group activity with friends/family

For consumers who do not plan to shop, 53-percent say something could convince them. The top reasons given that would change their minds are a sale or discount on an item they want, if a family member or friend invites them to shop, if they could be sure the items they want are available, or a free shipping offer.