Laura Petrolino

Thanksgiving Marketing Statistics You’ll Gobble About

By: Laura Petrolino | November 23, 2015 | 
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Thanksgiving Marketing Statistics You'll Gobble About By Laura Petrolino

How in the world did Thanksgiving come upon us so quickly?!?

Where did November go?

Where did the fall go?

Where did 2015 go?

Unfortunately, these are all important questions of time and space which transcend my powers.

What I can do is provide you with some fun-filled Thanksgiving marketing facts to help pass your time with friends and family while celebrating this holiday weekend.

How to Use the Thanksgiving Marketing Facts

Impress your friends and family by rattling off some of the facts below, like a true communications pro. Facts can be used to support your holiday goals in one or more of the following ways:

  • Distract Uncle Bernie from his five millionth telling of the story about his fire hydrant mishap with some quality holiday consumer buying know-how.
  • Keep Grandma Martha from launching into another dreaded “D” discussion (dentures, Depends, doctors) and keep the family’s attention captive through tales of Thanksgiving parade branding.
  • Steal the last piece of pie as you distract cousin Fred with astounding holiday retail facts.
  • And most importantly, get the entire family out of the house on Black Friday by telling them you require their participation in a “Black Friday” case study for work.

Oh yes my friends, all of this and more can be yours when you take the knowledge I’m about to share in this post and put it to good use.

Thanksgiving Marketing Turkey Talk

Before we start, let’s hear a cheer for our host of the day—the turkey. Did you know individual turkeys have unique voices? This allows them to distinguish one another.

So a turkey conversation would go something like this:

Lucy: “Gobble?”

Carl: “Gobble, gobble”

Linda: “Gobble”

Which roughly translates into:

Lucy: “Hello, are you all home?”

Carl: “Lucy, so great for you to stop by. How are the kids?”

Linda: “Oh Lucy, you sound more and more like your mother every day”

Why does this matter or having anything to do with Thanksgiving marketing?

Duh…follow my feather trail here people!

Just like a turkey, your brand must have it’s own distinct brand voice. A voice that speaks to who you are and allows consumers to not just recognize you in a crowded field, but to connect with you.

The Truth About Black Friday

Obviously no discussion of Thanksgiving marketing would be complete without talk of Black Friday.

Before we get into the details, do you know why Black Friday is called…”Black Friday?”

It got it’s name in the 1960s by the Philly Police Department. They coined the term because of all the traffic jams, crowding, and often violence that resulted from the retail frenzy.

My absolute favorite Black Friday fact comes from a RetailMeNot survey (as reported in Time). The survey found 12 percent of Thanksgiving shoppers admit to shopping drunk.

This explains a lot, right?

Another interesting “battle of the sexes” tidbit, comes from a 2014 Nielsen study which showed more men than women actually visit stores on Black Friday.

Us ladies, however, are more active on Cyber Monday, click, click, clicking away at the savings

More Than Just Black Friday

The National Retail Federation (NRF) has all sorts of interesting Thanksgiving marketing facts, figures, and tidbits. They look into the holiday season as a whole vs. just Black Friday.

This is very important, especially now that consumers are starting “holiday shopping” much earlier than Black Friday (which used to be the official kick-off).

Some of their most interesting Thanksgiving marketing stats look at consumer sentiment and behavior when it comes to holiday shopping.

For the first time this year, NRF asked consumers what they thought about the holiday promotions and Thanksgiving marketing they’ve seen so far this season.

The  survey found 40.1 percent rank them as “excellent” or “good,” while 34.8 percent rank them as “average.” So around 75 percent of shoppers aren’t completely annoyed with holiday marketing efforts yet.

Of course the results didn’t indicate if these people who provided positive rankings were also the ones who shopped drunk.

Interestingly enough, Millennials are much more positive about holiday and Thanksgiving promotions.

For this group 58.9 percent of 18-24 year olds and 54.5 percent of 25-34 year olds agree retailers’ deals have either been excellent or good (these consumers might also have been drunk, no definitive answers have been given on the sobriety of respondents).

Holiday Gift Ideas Galore

Possibly of greater interest are the methods which resonate most effectively with consumers this holiday season (both those sober and drunk, I’m assuming).

NRF reports:

Traditional methods of advertising still resonate with consumers when it comes to sparking ideas for holiday gifts, however online searches and social media both serve as preferred inspiration channels for shoppers. According to the survey, 46.9 percent will use an online search to find their gifts, and more than 35.4 percent of those surveyed will look for inspiration for holiday gifts through advertising circulars. Additionally, 30 percent will look to catalogs and 31 percent will use TV ads for inspiration. When it comes to social media, Facebook is the most likely place shoppers would look for inspiration (13 percent), though Pinterest will also be a key location for holiday shoppers (nine percent).

The latest NRF survey also finds 135.8 million consumers plan to shop Thanksgiving weekend and nearly 80 percent of holiday shoppers—183.8 million people—plan to shop on Cyber Monday.

To bring it back to our RetailMeNot study, that means approximately 16.3 intoxicated adults will be hitting the stores this holiday weekend. 

Turkey Talk: Grocery Store Style

Turkey, itself, is part of a unique Thanksgiving marketing tactic, which deserves mention.

While normally high demand goods (items such as flowers and chocolates on Valentine’s Day, jelly beans on Easter, candy on Halloween)  cost the most the month of their peak demand, turkeys are the cheapest during November. 

This is a very strategic move on the part of grocers to use turkey as a loss leader, simply to get people into the store to buy other higher priced Thanksgiving companions.

Consumers have come to expect cheap turkeys so they use the cost as part of their comparison for which store to go to for their other holiday items. 

And so I end this post with a salute to the Turkey.

Branding genius, yummy protein stable, and strategic economist—sacrificing itself every year for the good of the economy and your family’s meal.

Gobble salute to you feathered friends.

About Laura Petrolino


Laura Petrolino is the chief client officer at Arment Dietrich, an integrated marketing communications firm. She also is a weekly contributor to the award-winning PR blog, Spin Sucks. Join the Spin Sucks   community.

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