A family shops for holiday toys and decor. | Source: Adobe Stock

The Thanksgiving holiday weekend — aka “Cyber Week” — that includes Black Friday and Cyber Monday was a big one as consumer habits continued to shift.

A variety of factors resulted in a holiday shopping weekend that saw shoppers return to physical stores in droves despite a slight decline in the number of consumers who shopped for deals.

According to the annual survey by the National Retail Federation (NRF) and Prosper Insights & Analytics, nearly 180 million consumers shopped in-store or online over the five-day weekend. That figure is down slightly from the 186.4 million last year but falls in line with the average of the last four years. NRF says that the number exceeds its forecast by more than 21 million.

The NRF cites the number of promotional offers that have shifted away from Thanksgiving weekend in recent years to kick off the holiday shopping season will deals in October and early November.

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“Retailers have adapted and enticed customers with a number of incentives throughout November,” says NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay. “The Thanksgiving holiday weekend remains a significant time for friends and families to check specific holiday items off their lists. Over the last few years, consumers have shifted their holiday shopping plans to start earlier in the season.”

Perhaps driven by supply chain issues and the prospect of a better assortment in stores this year, retailers saw a big uptick in foot traffic this year as e-commerce traffic declined. Approximately 104.9 million shoppers visited physical stores over the holiday weekend, up from 92.3 million last year. Online shoppers decreased to 127.8 million versus 145.4 million last year.

Toys were a major focus for gift-givers this year with 32% of those surveyed having purchased toys and games for someone on their list. Only clothing and accessories topped toys at the register with 51% of consumers having purchased items from that category.

According to Adobe Analytics, total consumer spend for Cyber Week fell 1.4% from last year. Thanksgiving day sales were flat, while Black Friday dipped 1.3% and Cyber Monday declined 1.4%.

Adobe also says that toy sales led the charge on Cyber Monday with sales volume that was 11 times that of pre-season sales levels in September. Top items showing up in virtual carts on Cyber Monday included Hot Wheels (Mattel), NERF (Hasbro), Baby Alive (Hasbro), PAW Patrol (Spin Master), Squeakee (Moose Toys), and Tamagotchi Pix (Bandai).

Finally, Amazon — which didn’t cite actual numbers — says that it had a “record-breaking” Black Friday and Cyber Monday. The e-commerce giant called out the Catan Board Game (Catan Studio), Candy Land and Monopoly (Hasbro), Hot Wheels Criss Cross Crash Track Set (Mattel), Let’s Play House Dust! Sweep! Mop! Play Set (Melissa & Doug), Gravity Maze Marble Run Brain Game (ThinkFun), and the Light-Up Tracing Pad (Crayola) as top sellers since the holiday season kicked off in October. Amazon says that Blue Marble’s National Geographic Earth Science Kit and Hasbro’s Connect 4 charted highly for Black Friday and Cyber Monday.