Thanksgiving Statistics, 80+ intriguing stats

Table of contents:

  1. Thanksgiving turkey
  2. Travel Thanksgiving statistics
  3. Food and Cooking
  4. Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade
  5. Drinksgiving
  6. Shopping and ecommerce
  7. NFL Thanksgiving Day games
  8. Friendsgiving
  9. Thanksgiving dangers and safety
  10. Thanksgiving around the world

Thanksgiving 2020 will be unique in many aspects. Therefore we prepared for you a wide collection of up to date Thanksgiving statistics and numbers covering many different sides of this lovely holiday. You will also find surprising insights that we uncovered for you.

You can use this information either to prepare yourself for the holiday ahead, to spice up your knowledge or to set up the marketing of your small business to get the most value of the holiday by understanding the shopping habits, attitudes among younger generations towards Thanksgiving, potential spikes in drinking occasions, expected price discounts, online vs online shopping dimensions, how many people will travel, where they will go and a lot more.

Thanksgiving turkey

How much turkey meat does the United States produce?

2.5 million tons is the average turkey meat production in the United States between 1993 and 2018.

The United States leads the world in production of turkey meat. It’s followed far behind by France with 413 thousand tons of produced turkey, Germany with 367 thousand tons, Italy 311 thousand tons, Brazil 310 thousand tons, and then comes the United Kingdom, Canada, Israel, Hungary and Poland.

Chart: Production of turkey meat by countries. Top 10 producers globally measured by average production in tons from 1993 to 2018.
Top 10 producers of turkey meat in the world

How many turkeys are cooked and eaten in the United States on Thanksgiving?

40 million turkeys is the correct number based on more recent reports by the National Turkey Federation and Bloomberg.

Otherwise most likely you will see information that 46 million turkeys are eaten in the United States on Thanksgiving, but this number is out of date and because of that is incorrect.

Anyway, getting to sales and consumption of 40 million turkeys this year may be a challenging goal. Based on Bloomberg reports, there is an uncertainty and fear among turkey farmers about what will be the consumption of turkey this year.

At the moment there is a surplus of turkeys compared to stock levels in 2019, also there is a tendency for people to order smaller turkeys because of a potentially downsized Thanksgiving celebration in 2020. Turkey as a Thanksgiving dish faces additional pressure from substitute products, turkey breasts, Guinea fowls, hens, and similar replacements. The National Turkey Federation reminds people that they don’t have to restrict themselves in the purchase of turkey this year. After all, you can use turkey leftovers and make other tasty dishes, they say.

How many turkey farms are there in the United States?

2,500, according to USDA.

How many turkeys are raised every year in the United States?

229 million, according to USDA.

How many turkeys are consumed in Canada on Thanksgiving?

2.5 million turkeys were purchased in Canada for Thanksgiving in 2019, that’s about 39% of the yearly turkey sales in Canada. (TurkeyFarmersofCanada)

As a reminder, Thanksgiving in Canada is celebrated earlier on the second Monday of October.

How much people in the United States will spend on turkey in 2020?

$1.095 billion is expected that Americans will spend on turkey only for Thanksgiving this year, according to Finder.

What is the average weight of a turkey?

30 pounds (13.6 kilograms) and slightly above that, but it weighed 16.83 pounds (7.63 kilograms) in 1960, according to WSJ. That’s an increase of more than 78% for a 60 years period. A surprising fact about the turkey bird, but true. To put things in perspective the average weight of humans was 166.3 pounds (75.4 kilograms) in 1960 and it went up to 195.5 pounds (88.6 kilograms) nowadays, an increase of 18%, according to WSJ.

Chart: Weight increase of turkey birds and humans from 1960 to 2020
Weight increase of turkey birds and humans between 1960 and 2020

How much edible meat yields roasted turkey?

0.71 pounds edible meat is left from each pound of roasted whole turkey. (USDA)

What is the ratio of frozen vs fresh turkeys sold for Thanksgiving in the U.S.?

2/3 approximately are sold frozen, 1/3 are sold as fresh turkey, according to USDA.

Thanksgiving turkey price

What was the average price of 16 pounds turkey in the United States in 2019?

$20.8 according to Supermarket News.

What is the cheapest and most expensive price of different Thanksgiving turkey types in major retail channels?

According to data from CNBC, these selected types of turkey have the following prices:

Butterball frozen premium turkey:

  • $0.89 per pound is the cheapest one, sold at Albertson in 2020 and $0.87 per pound was the cheapest one in 2019, sold at Tesco
  • $1.69 per pound is the most expensive one in 2020, sold at Giant Eagle, and $1.59 per pound was the most expensive one in 2019, sold at Giant Eagle.

Butterball fresh turkey:

  • $0.99 per pound is the cheapest one in 2020 and 2019, sold at Costco.
  • $2.99 per pound was the most expensive one in 2019, sold at Costco too.

Whole frozen turkey of any type (excluding Butterball):

  • $0.29 per pound is the cheapest one, sold at Food Lion and Kroger.
  • $2.19 per pound is the most expensive one in 2020, sold at Wegmans, but this sort is free from unwanted substances and $2.99 per pound was the most expensive one in 2019, sold at Aldi.

Whole fresh turkey of any type (excluding Butterball):

  • $1.19 per pound is the cheapest one, sold at Sam’s Club in 2020 and Aldi in 2019.
  • $3.49 is the most expensive one in 2020, sold at Trader Joe’s and Whole Food’s; $4.49 per pound was the most expensive one in 2019, sold at Wegmans.

What is the lifespan of wild turkey?

3 to 4 years, according to National Geographic.

How many eggs wild turkey hatches?

4 to 17 eggs, according to National Geographic. That’s quantity for one year period. It means in a lifetime it hatches 12 to 68 eggs.

What is the flying speed that wild turkey can reach?

55 miles per hour according to National geographic, or 88.5 kilometer per hour. This however is valid for short flying intervals/distances. The farmed turkey as opposed to the wild one, does not have such ability.

Travel Thanksgiving statistics

GIF: Guy running with luggage
Getting ready for travel.
Source: Giphy

How many Americans are planning to travel for Thanksgiving this year?

43% of people plan to travel on Thanksgiving, based on a survey by the American Hotel and Lodging Association, (TravelUpdate). Another recent survey by TripAdvisor indicates that 56% of Americans will travel for Thanksgiving this year, which is down from a 70% level in 2019. Obviously the cause is the pandemic.

According to data from AAA, the forecast for 2020 is that there will be 50 million travelers in the United States, down from 55.3 million travelers in 2019. This breaks for the first time the positive holiday travel trend that started in 2008.

Chart: Amount of travelers for Thanksgiving holiday in the USA between 2002 and 2020 year
Amount of travelers for Thanksgiving holiday in the USA between 2002 and 2020 year

How are they going to travel?

76% by car/driving, 11% by taking a flight. (TripAdvisor)

When do travelers make bookings?

61% of Thanksgiving travelers in 2019 booked their trips within six weeks before the holiday. This tendency is expected to repeat again in 2020 because of the lingering uncertainties in the travel sector (TravelPulse).

This year United Airlines expects 50% of its customers to book their Thanksgiving flights less than 30 days before their planned departure. That’s a 10 percentage points increase from last year when 40% of its customers booked their flight 30 days before departure. (United Airlines)

What are the most booked destinations in 2020?

Top 10 Thanksgiving booked destinations until October 2020 on Skyscanner are (based on TravelPulse):

  1. New York,
  2. Cancun;
  3. Orlando;
  4. Las Vegas;
  5. Denver;
  6. Los Angeles;
  7. Fort Lauderdale;
  8. Atlanta;
  9. Chicago;
  10. Tampa;

When do people plan to depart for Thanksgiving this year?

Wednesday, November 25 is the departure date of the majority of bookings in 2020 according to Priceline. (TravelandLeasure)

When do people plan to return home from Thanksgiving this year?

Sunday, November 29 is the date when most or 36% of the bookings are scheduled with a return trip, according to Priceline. The rest will return on days before or after November 29. (TravelandLeasure)

What is the impact of covid-19 pandemic on Thanksgiving bookings this year?

-16% less bookings until September this year compared to 2019, according to Guesty, with a note that the number may decrease or improve because of last minute bookings. (CNBC)

Based on Guesty’s findings lack of bookings may hit Christmas and New Year’s Eve harder because until September the bookings lag with -35% and – 33% for each holiday respectively. (CNBC)

How do people plan to celebrate Thanksgiving this year?

  • 52% of people will celebrate the holiday this year with their closest family,
  • 14% won’t celebrate it at all, and
  • 10% will travel somewhere for the holiday, according to Ipsos poll in the U.S. (Ipsos)
Chart: Thanksgiving statistics about
Thanksgiving plans for 2020 - How people in United States plan to spend the holiday.
Thanksgiving holiday plans for 2020

Food and cooking

How much turkey do you need for your Thanksgiving feast?

1 pound per person, according to USDA.

How many families gather each Thanksgiving for a dinner?

96% of American families gather for a feast (Nationwide). Based on the survey results shown above, this figure probably applies in normal times, not this year.

What is the average number of dinner guests per household on Thanksgiving?

11 is the average number of dinner guests per household (FinancialTimes), and 28% of Americans had more than 12 people at their table in 2019, according to Nationwide.

How much time is spent on cooking the Thanksgiving meal?

7 hours is the average time, according to Nationwide.

How much time is spent on eating the Thanksgiving meal?

16 minutes, according to Nationwide. Obviously people spend a lot more time in preparation for the Thanksgiving dinner than for the eating occasion.

What kind of pies are eaten after dinner?

  • 57% are pumpkin pies;
  • 14% pecan;
  • 9% sweet potato;
  • 20% other type of pies, according to Nationwide.

How many Americans eat turkey for Thanksgiving?

88% approximately of all Americans eat turkey as part of their dinner, according to SFN Today.

Are Thanksgiving leftovers worthy and useful?

79% of Americans value their leftovers more than their Thanksgiving meal, according to Nationwide.

How many calories are consumed on Thanksgiving?

4,500 is the average number of calories consumed. (WorldStride)

How many pumpkin pies are eaten on Thanksgiving?

50m, according to FT.

How many cranberries are eaten on Thanksgiving?

80 million pounds, that’s equivalent to 36 million kilograms, according to FT.

How much is the average Thanksgiving expenditure?

$186.05 in 2019 (Lendedu). We can expect this year the number to decrease to some extent.

What is the cost and the menu of a typical Thanksgiving dinner in the United States?

$48.91 on average cost a dinner for 10 persons in 2019, according to Supermarket News. That’s $4.89 per person.

Based on new research and data by CNBC, the cost of a four-persons dinner in 2020 is in the range from $40.16 to $96.23 and the price includes home delivery. The price depends on the choice of the retail chain and the quality of the ingredients. The number and the quantity of the ingredients included in the analysis by CNBC is standardized and consists of:

  1. minimum 8 pounds turkey,
  2. chicken broth (1 quart),
  3. unsalted butter (16 ounces),
  4. stuffing mix (12 ounces),
  5. fresh potatoes (5 pounds),
  6. whole milk (half gallon),
  7. frozen sweet corn (12 ounces),
  8. fresh cranberries (12 ounces),
  9. refrigerated crescent rolls,
  10. pie crust (2 packs),
  11. apples (3 pounds),
  12. ground coffee (10 oz).

Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade

How many people gather in the streets of Manhattan to watch Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade?

3.5 million people lined the streets of Manhattan in 2019 to watch the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade. (FinancialTimes)

This year because of the pandemic the parade will be televised only instead of taking the traditional form with outdoor audiences.

How many people watch the parade on TV?

22.1 million people watched the parade on TV in 2019, down from 23.7 million viewers in 2018 (Variety). Probably the number of TV viewers will increase this year.

How many people participate backstage in the execution of the parade?

8,000 to 10,000 people participated in the parade in 2019, while this year the number will decrease about 70% to 2,000 people (App)

Drinksgiving

According to Wikipedia Drinksgiving is also known as Blackout Wednesday because people often engage in binge drinking, sometimes with some consequences.

GIF: Drunk couple - parody on Drinksgiving and Blackout Wednesday.
Drinksgiving effect.
Source: Giphy

The celebration of Drinksgiving happens on the day or more precisely on the evening before Thanksgiving. It has become one of the most important holidays for the alcoholic beverage and the HoReCa industry.

By how much increase the sales of different alcohol types on Blackout Wednesday?

Chart: Blackout Wednesday 2019 alcohol sales increase by type of alcohol
Blackout Wednesday alcohol sales increase in 2019 by type of alcohol

Based on data from Upserve, Tequila saw the largest rise in sales among all alcohol categories. It jumped 156 percent over the previous Wednesday. Sangria posted the smallest double digit growth of 38 percent. Vodka, rum, whiskey, beer, cider and gin, are in-between as it is displayed on the chart above.

How much Drinksgiving increases the guest count at the restaurants and their sales?

23% increase in guest count comparing previous Wednesday to Blackout Wednesday in 2018 or WoW (Wednesday-on-Wednesday) comparison. The sales of the restaurants increase equally by 23% also, according to Upserve. Upserve says that the drinking holiday increased average table turn by 3%, this means that the largest part of the growth came from increased consumption per guest. Beer and liquor saw the largest Wednesday-on-Wedneday (WoW) growth.

This year probably we won’t see so strong peaks of alcohol sales in HoReCa or out-of-home channels (restaurants, bars, cafes, etc.) on Drinksgiving. The peak in sales will be more visible in stores and similar retail channels suitable for at-home alcohol consumption.

How much Drinksgiving increases the go-to-orders in restaurants?

20%, according to Upserve.

Which region in the U.S. has the highest increase in drinking on Blackout Wednesday?

Based on the increased sales, this is how each region ranks according to Upserve insights:

  • 34% Midwest
  • 31% South
  • 27% Northeast
  • 23% West
Infographic: Levels of alcohol sales increase in USA regions on Blackout Wednesday - Drinksgiving
Alcohol sales and consumption increase by regions of USA on Blackout Wednesday – Drinksgiving

How important is Drinksgiving for the liquor stores and alcohol industry?

  • 3rd biggest day for the liquor stores, based on Womply data. Only New Year’s Eve and Christmas Eve are ahead of it
  • 130% increase of sales on Drinksgiving compared to the average daily sales at the liquor stores (Womply)
Chart: Increase of liquor stores sales on Blackout Wednesday - Drinksgiving (Thanksgiving Eve).
Jump in liquor sales on Blackout Wednesday – Drinksgiving

Shopping and ecommerce

GIF: Large number of shoppers entering a store
Ready to buy it all.
Source: Giphy

While 2019 Thanksgiving was a shopping record-breaking year with consumers spending online $4.2 billion, this holiday shopping season will be like no other for the retail industry. The ultimate desire of most of the retail chains to have more footfall and as many customers possible within the stores, faces the covid-19 wall and the guidelines for preservation of public health.

Instead of driving the customers into the physical stores, the companies will have to conceive a creative way to balance the health of the customers and the employees and the business/commercial concerns. Probably this year we’ll see a strengthened combination of online and offline retail business models, and most likely an even stronger tendency to rely on online sales channels.

What is the commercial value of Thanksgiving Day as a holiday in the U.S.?

It holds the 3rd place as an online shopping holiday of the year in the United States. (eMarketer)

What’s the proportion of people that want the stores to be closed on Thanksgiving?

76% of the people, in a survey conducted by Accenture.

How many people will shop online for Thanksgiving 2020?

75% of the shoppers plan to place some online shopping orders for the forthcoming holiday, this represents an increase of 10 percentage points from 2019. (Accenture)

How many people want their purchases to be delivered directly to their home?

77% of the consumers want the purchased items to be delivered to their home, 11% accept to pick up their goods in the store, and 11% accept other forms of contactless purchase options in the store like lockers and curbside pick up, according to Accenture.

How many people plan to make in-store purchases for Thanksgiving?

80% of people plan to make the holiday purchases in a store despite the increased tendency for online shopping in 2020, according to a survey by NC Solutions. (SupermarketNews)

Are U.S. consumers going to spend more or less for Thanksgiving this year?

15% of the shoppers plan to increase their spending for the holiday this year, 58% plan to spend an equal amount as last year, and 27% plan to spend less than last year, according to NC Solutions. (SupermarketNews)

What are the top 5 selling products for Thanksgiving?

According to data from Adobe:

  • On the day before Thanksgiving most popular gifts are: Just Dance 2020, Frozen 2,  L.O.L Surprise Dolls, Samsung TVs, Instapots.
  • On Thanksgiving Day most popular products are: Frozen 2,  L.O.L Surprise Dolls, Fire TV, Apple LapTops, Madden 20.
  • On the day after Thanksgiving, i.e. on Black Friday most sold products are: L.O.L Surprise Dolls, Frozen 2 Toys, FIFA20, Madden 20, Nintendo Switch.

What is the amount of online sales for Thanksgiving?

According to data from Adobe:

  • $2.9 billions in 2019 on the day before Thanksgiving. This represents 22% year-on-year growth of sales against 2018.
  • $4.2 billions in 2019 on Thanksgiving Day. This represents 14.5% year-on-year growth of sales against 2018.
  • $7.4 billions in 2019 on the day after Thanksgiving, i.e. on Black Friday. This represents 19.6% year-on-year growth of sales against 2018.

How much do prices drop on Thanksgiving?

GIF: A person shocked from the price tag.
Afraid of the price? Don’t be, Thanksgiving has a lot to offer.
Source: Giphy

According to Adobe, the online prices on computers fall:

  • -16% on the day before Thanksgiving
  • -18% on Thanksgiving day
  • -18% on Black Friday
  • -18% on Cyber Monday
Infographic: Discounts on computers for Thanksgiving holiday
Computer prices reduction on Thanksgiving holidays

The online prices on televisions are down by:

  • -18% on the day before Thanksgiving
  • -19% on Thanksgiving day
  • -18% on Black Friday
  • -19% on Cyber Monday
Infographic: Discounts on televisions for Thanksgiving holiday
Television prices reduction on Thanksgiving holidays

The online prices on toys drop:

  • -9% on the day before Thanksgiving,
  • -14% on Thanksgiving,
  • -14% on Black Friday.
  • -17% on Cyber Monday
Infographic: Discounts on toys for Thanksgiving holiday
Toy prices reduction on Thanksgiving holidays

What is the conversion rate (number of online purchase orders divided by the number of site visits) by device?

  • 4.9% on Desktop, 1.9% on Smartphone, 3.3% on Tablet – on the day before Thanksgiving. (Adobe)
  • 4.8% on Desktop, 2.3% on Smartphone, 3.6% on Tablet – on Thanksgiving day. (Adobe)
  • 6.9% on Desktop, 2.9% on Smartphone, 4.8% on Tablet. – on the day after Thanksgiving, i.e. on Black Friday. (Adobe)

What is the average online order value for the days between Thanksgiving and Cyber Monday?

$140 according to ReadyCloud.

How many consumers in the U.S. did some shopping between Thanksgiving and Cyber Monday in 2019?

189.6 million consumers. This represented a 14% increase from 2018. (NRF)

What is the expected growth of retail sales this holiday season?

 1% to 1.5% growth in 2020, compared to last year’s 4.1% growth. The figures are based on Deloitte forecast, according to Bloomberg.

NFL Thanksgiving Day games

How many years passed since the first NFL Thanksgiving Day game?

100 years, from 1920 until 2020 today. This year it’s a jubilee year for American football on Thanksgiving.

Which NFL team has the most wins so far on Thanksgiving Day?

Detroit Lions with a score of 37 wins, followed by Dallas Cowboys with a score of 31 wins, and Chicago Bears with 19 wins, based on SportingNews data.

Chart: NFL teams with most wins on Thanksgiving Day. Top 3 teams.
NFL teams with most wins on Thanksgiving Day (team logos source: PngAAA)

Friendsgiving

How many people prefer Friendsgiving over Thanksgiving?

68% or almost 7 in 10 people among the population aged 18 to 38 years, according to NYPost based on a survey by OnePoll. 62% of this demographic segment actually doesn’t enjoy hosting or being a Thanksgiving guest, according to NYPost.

Why do some people prefer Friendsgiving over Thanksgiving?

  • 58% say so because they want to avoid personal questions coming from the family members. (NYPost)
  • 38% want to avoid getting into situations that will make them offend a family member. (NYPost)

Thanksgiving dangers and safety

How much heart attacks increase during or after Thanksgiving?

5% uptick in heart attacks between Thanksgiving and Christmas, according to the cardiologist Abdolreza Agahtehrani, M.D in a Norton Healthcare report. The reasons for this are found in some of the following factors: increased food and alcohol intake, holiday stress and cold temperatures, according to Norton Healthcare.

How much property value is lost during Thanksgiving?

$19 million – in most cases the cause is fire from roasting turkey (People)

Thanksgiving around the world

How many countries in the world celebrate Thanksgiving?

12 – the countries are: Grenada, Netherlands, Liberia, Australia, Northfolk Island, Canada, Saint Lucia, United States, China, Germany, Japan, South Korea, based on insights from Vox, WorldPopulationReview and Yahoo Finance.

Final thoughts

This numbers guide through Thanksgiving provided you an overview of all important aspects of the holiday. Now you have a better understanding of it and a handy resource for personal and business use. The Thanksgiving statistics will be updated with freshly released data and you are welcome to revisit this page again when you have a need for it.

If you are interested to find out more about Halloween in 2020 you can go to the Halloween facts and triva article.