40+ Thanksgiving Statistics to Gobble Up [2023]

thanksgiving turkey dinner

Thanksgiving is a time for gratitude, family, and of course, plenty of delicious food. But beyond the traditional festivities, there's a wealth of intriguing Thanksgiving statistics that shed light on how many people celebrate.

In this data-packed blog post, our market research company has compiled the best Thanksgiving statistics that are sure to amaze you. From the staggering number of pies consumed to the most popular Thanksgiving destinations, these figures provide a unique glimpse into the traditions and trends that define this special occasion.

Here's just a taste of the Thanksgiving statistics we'll uncover in this post: 

  • 40 million turkeys are eaten each Thanksgiving
  • 45% of Americans enjoy pumpkin pie for dessert on turkey day
  • Up to 79% of consumers think stores should be fully closed on Thanksgiving Day
  • 25% of Thanksgiving travelers plan on flying
  • Roughly 44 million viewers tune in to watch the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade

For further analysis, we broke down the data in the following ways:
Food | Shopping | Travel | EntertainmentHistory

Thanksgiving Food Statistics 

We'll start off with everyone's favorite Thanksgiving tradition - the food. Whether you eat early or late, have a small gathering or a large one, people have many strong opinions about their Thanksgiving meal. 

  • $96 million dollars are spent on stuffing as a side dish for Thanksgiving dinner

    One of those foods limited to the holiday season (especially Thanksgiving) stuffing is a classic side dish that goes hand-in-hand with mashed potatoes. In fact, Kraft sells roughly 40 million boxes of stuffing every year from October to December.

  • 40 million turkeys are eaten each Thanksgiving

    This counts for 50% of whole turkeys consumed throughout the year. Unsurprisingly, Butterball is responsible for one out of three whole turkey sales. In 2022, the average cost for a whole turkey was $28 dollars.

  • 45% of Americans enjoy pumpkin pie for dessert on turkey day

    Following that comes apple pie at 19%, sweet potato at 17%, and pecan at 12%. Additional Thanksgiving sweet treats enjoyed by diners include chocolate chip cookies, fruitcakes, and apple fritters.

  • Wine is the #1 choice of beverage when giving a Thanksgiving toast

    Right behind that was beer, and after that, whiskey. And how many drinks do people typically have on this holiday? The average amount of alcoholic beverages consumed on this day round out to roughly 2.7 drinks.

  • Roughly 480,000 pounds of fresh pumpkins are purchased every year for Thanksgiving

    Whether for pie or simply a nice decorative touch, the spotlight is on pumpkins all throughout the Thanksgiving season. Pumpkins can last as decor for one to three months if stored properly.

  • 80 million pounds of cranberries are purchased each Thanksgiving season

    Most popular forms of cranberries purchased for the holiday include jellied, and then pre-made sauce. And during the week of Thanksgiving, cranberry juice titan Ocean Spray sells roughly 80% of jellied cranberry sauce. 

Thanksgiving Shopping Statistics

For some, Thanksgiving dinner is just a means to getting to the real holiday event: Black Friday. Drive Research ran a national survey to discover Thanksgiving weekend shopping habits. Below, we'll briefly run down some of the key Black Friday statistics we uncovered. 

  • 20% of consumers spent $1,000 or higher on holiday shopping

    This is up 43% from the previous year. The most willing age group to spend this much? Gen X. That said, other common spending points included $200 to $399 (23%) and $400 to $599 (22%).

  • 38% of holiday shoppers were willing to wait in a checkout line for 30 minutes to an hour on Black Friday

    For those slightly less patient, 44% of consumers will not wait in a line past 30 minutes. But there are some who are willing to stick it out. We also found that shoppers would wait one to two hours (12%) and over 2 hours (6%).

  • 47% of in-person holiday shoppers preferred going to shopping malls

    While this is a fairly large amount, some still prefer to buy gifts outside of the mall. Up to 30% of shoppers feel they can skip the mall and snag some presents elsewhere. That's likely because personal safety plays a role in why shoppers choose to avoid the malls. For instance, 31% of consumers from rural areas feel less safe in malls. Additionally, females were less likely to feel safe in shopping malls (55%) compared to men (69%).

  • 64% of consumers plan to shop on Cyber Monday

    This is significantly higher than what we found in our 2021 holiday shopping survey (42%). But who makes up the consumers shopping online? 49% of consumers shopping on this day are either part of the Silent Generation or Baby Boomers. Additionally, 69% of consumers shopping on this day are women, while only 58% are men.

  • 69% of Black Friday consumers will shop online.

    Just 32% of shoppers will buy gifts in person. Millennials and Gen Zers make up the biggest group shopping online at 86%.

  • Up to 79% of consumers think stores should be fully closed on Thanksgiving Day.

    An ongoing hot topic, many consumers think stores should be closed on the Thanksgiving holiday. Pre-pandemic, stores had begun to kick off Black Friday shopping on Thanksgiving afternoon. And while COVID-19 put a stop to this, consumer sentiment on the topic is still strong.

    For additional context, 80% of women believe stores should be closed on Thanksgiving, compared to 75% of men. Additionally, 63% of the Silent Generation and Baby Boomers agree retail locations should be closed on Thanksgiving.

Thanksgiving Travel Statistics 

While Thanksgiving travel rates are high, there are just as many people willing to hunker down for the holiday. For those that choose to travel, road trips are popular choices. 

However, there are still those willing to make a bigger commute in the name of Thanksgiving. 

  • 25% of Thanksgiving travelers plan on flying

    Since the pandemic has ended, those traveling by plane have increased. And what's the cheapest day to travel around this time? Thanksgiving Day! Kudos to that select group.

  • The Sunday after Thanksgiving is the busiest travel day of the year

    Based on past TSA passenger data, the Sunday following Thanksgiving is the busiest day of the year to travel by plane. Even in 2020, airports were busier than usual on the post-Thanksgiving Sunday.

  • Air travel was up by 8% during the 2022 Thanksgiving holiday

    A good Thanksgiving travel tip to ease the holiday flight craze? If you drive to the airport, be sure to reserve a parking spot rather than risking it. 

Thanksgiving Entertainment Statistics 

The Thanksgiving holiday can be peaceful (provided your travel plans go accordingly and you avoid family drama at the dinner table, of course). 

And as such, the entertainment is often laid-back too. Whether it's football, an early Christmas movie marathon, the beloved National Dog Show, or the infamous Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, there are plenty of ways to enjoy yourself before (and after) the big meal.

  • Over 44 million viewers tuned in to watch an NFL football game on Thanksgiving

    Whether it's a group watch at a local bar or around the coffee table, football is a classic American tradition on turkey day. Some other fun facts: after hosting the Thanksgiving game in 1966 for the first time, the Dallas Cowboys have played every year aside from 1975 and 1977. Also, the Cowboy's Matthew Stafford holds the title of most passing yards (3,000) on Thanksgiving.

  • 87% of Americans have seen Home Alone

    Not a football fan? Start your Christmas movie binge early instead. Recent data reveals Home Alone is one of the most-seen Christmas movies by Americans, followed by How the Grinch Stole Christmas (82%) and A Charlie Brown Christmas (81%).

  • Terriers have placed number one in the National Dog Show more than any other breed

    Terriers are the second-most common breed to win number one. Additionally, only one bulldog has placed number one in the history of the National Dog Show--Thor, in 2019.

  • 3 million people watch the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in-person

    And those are just spectators in the crowd. Roughly 44 million viewers tune in to watch the festivities take place on TV. The parade is known to kick off the holiday shopping season in New York City and other than those who are sponsored by the parade, the only people allowed to participate are Macy’s employees. 

Thanksgiving History Statistics 

To finish off our post, we wanted to include some Thanksgiving statistics about the history of this holiday. Dating back to the early 1600s, Thanksgiving has a rich and varied history. 

  • Thanksgiving became an official US holiday in 1863.

    While the holiday became official that year, Thanksgiving is loosely modeled after a harvest meal between European colonists and the Wampanoag people in 1621. Prior to being made an official holiday, Thanksgiving began to be observed as a special day of thanks in 1789.

    Another fun fact: Sarah Joseph Hale, who wrote the original nursery rhyme "Mary Had a Little Lamb" helped convince President Lincoln to make the Thanksgiving holiday official.

  • Because of Thanksgiving leftovers, the first TV dinner was created.

    Swanson, the popular food corporation, had far too many turkeys leftover after Thanksgiving in 1953. Using 5,000 aluminum trays, the 260 tons of leftover turkey was divided and packaged into separate meals along with sides.

  • President Coolidge was given a raccoon to eat (instead of a turkey) for Thanksgiving in 1926.

    Sent from a man in Mississippi as a gift to the president, Coolidge opted to keep the raccoon as a pet and named her Rebecca. 


Contact Our Market Research Company 

Hopefully, this list of fascinating Thanksgiving statistics and facts has given you some early excitement for the holiday! Keep an eye out for our 2024 holiday shopping post this fall. 

Drive Research is a market research company based in New York. Our team will work with you to craft an ideal project to deliver important statistics about your company. 

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Lark Allen

As a Content Marketing Specialist, Lark has a strong background and passion for creative, professional, and journalistic writing. She is also a self-proclaimed music freak and 90s enthusiast.

Learn more about Lark, here.

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