57% of Consumers Support Retail Stores Closing on Thanksgiving Day

Thanksgiving Table - Survey recap by Drive Research

It was not long ago that major retailers started their Black Friday sales on Thanksgiving Day. While the tradition was met with controversy, it didn’t stop big-box stores from keeping their doors open. 

That was until COVID-19 forced stores everywhere to rethink their Black Friday store hours.

In 2020, 3 in 5 U.S. shoppers avoided in-person Black Friday shopping due to health and safety concerns. As a result, many retailers remained closed on Thanksgiving Day. 

Fast forward to the present day, there are fewer concerns with spreading and contracting COVID-19. However, many stores such as Walmart and Target are continuing to stay closed on Turkey Day.


57% of consumers somewhat agree or strongly agree that retail locations should be closed on Thanksgiving.

CHART- Should Retail Stores Remain Closed on Thanksgiving Day

Our market research company recently conducted a survey with 1,000 U.S. consumers about Cyber Week shopping trends and Thanksgiving Day traditions. 

Our survey revealed that 57% of consumers somewhat agree or strongly agree that retail locations should be closed on Thanksgiving. Only 10% of respondents strongly disagreed with this new tradition. 

Keep reading to learn more findings from the Thanksgiving 2021 survey. 

Or, to learn more insights specific to Cyber Week shopping trends including Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, and Cyber Monday, click here.


Nearly 3 in 5 people will celebrate Thanksgiving at their own residence. 

CHART: Nearly 3 in 5 people will celebrate Thanksgiving at their own residence.

We asked respondents how they planned to celebrate Turkey Day 2021.

The majority of respondents will celebrate at their own residence (58%). While 37% will celebrate somewhere else such as a friend or family member’s house.

Compared to our Thanksgiving 2020 Survey, 61% of American consumers did not travel and celebrated the holiday at their own residence. 

After a year of socially distanced holidays, it seems people are becoming slightly more comfortable with the idea of traveling for Turkey Day. 


On average, U.S. consumers will celebrate Thanksgiving 2021 with 7 people.

On average, U.S. consumers will celebrate Thanksgiving Day with 7 people.

Based on last year’s survey, here is how the average gathering size has changed:

  • The average size of gathering in 2019: 9 people
  • The average size of gather in 2020: 6 people
  • The average size of gather in 2021: 7 people

There is no data to support the reason for changes in average gathering size from 2020 to 2021.

It is safe to assume that with vaccines readily available for most Americans, people are more comfortable with slightly larger gatherings. 

We found that in 2020, 87% of Americans feared an increase in COVID-19 cases after the holiday which corresponds to the decline in gathering size from 2019.


Stuffing and mashed potatoes are America’s favorite Thanksgiving side dishes.

Stuffing and mashed potatoes are America’s favorite Thanksgiving side dishes.

Perhaps my favorite part of Thanksgiving celebrations -- the food!

While turkey may be the star of the show (with 46 million turkeys being eaten each Thanksgiving) there are various side dishes that excite Americans. 

The top five Thanksgiving side dishes include: 

  1. Stuffing (62%)
  2. Mashed potatoes (62%)
  3. Gravy (54%)
  4. Dinner rolls (54%)
  5. Deviled eggs (39%)

It’s no wonder we consume between 2,500 and 4,500 calories at the Thanksgiving table. 


Pumpkin pie is America’s favorite Thanksgiving dessert. 

Pumpkin pie is America’s favorite Thanksgiving dessert.

Lastly, we asked survey respondents what their favorite Thanksgiving dessert was. 55% of Americans said pumpkin pie was their favorite Thanksgiving dessert item. 

According to Good Housekeeping, Americans eat an estimated 50 million pumpkin pies on Turkey Day.

Other top rates Thanksgiving side dishes include:

  1. Pumpkin pie (53%)
  2. Apple pie (38%)
  3. Cheesecake (36%)
  4. Pecan pie (32%)
  5. Ice cream (27%)

About the Survey

Survey Methodology

  • The survey received 1,000 responses
  • Fieldwork was conducted with adult residents (18 years or older) throughout the United States.
  • Fieldwork for the survey began on October 15th and lasted united October 29th, 2021.

Respondent Profile (By Gender)

  • 44% of respondents were male.
  • 55% of respondents were female.
  • 1% of respondents were nonbinary.

Respondent Profile (By Age)

  • 5% of respondents were Generation Z.
  • 30% of respondents were Millennials.
  • 28% of respondents were Generation X.
  • 27% of respondents were Baby Boomers.
  • 10% of respondents were Traditionalists.


About Drive Research

Drive Research is a national PR survey company located in New York. Our market research firm works with a variety of organizations, helping deliver insights, action items, and ROI on their survey efforts.

Our research has been featured in top-tier media outlets including USA Today, CNBC, Forbes, Spectrum, Yahoo Finance, and Statista. 

To learn more about our market research services, contact our team today.

  1. Message us on our website
  2. Email us at info@driveresearch.com
  3. Call us at 888-725-DATA
  4. Text us at 315-303-2040

emily carroll about the author

Emily Carroll

A SUNY Cortland graduate, Emily has taken her passion for social and content marketing to Drive Research as the Marketing Manager. She has earned certificates for both Google Analytics and Google AdWords.

Learn more about Emily, here.


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