The DataHero Blog

Festivities, Food, and Football – Thanksgiving By The Numbers

November 25th, 2014


This week, about 316 million Americans will celebrate Thanksgiving largely by spending time with family and friends, and stuffing their faces with delicacies specific to this holiday like cranberry sauce, sweet potato casserole, mashed potatoes and of course, turkey. While you’re bustling about your kitchen, tuning into the football games and settling in for your post-turkey nap, chew over these facts.

The average price of a Thanksgiving dinner has been steadily increasing, as is to be expected with inflation. This average price of a Thanksgiving dinner is an interesting barometer for overall economic health, much like coffee.

There are only a few dips in the average price of a Thanksgiving dinner, around 2000 after the dotcom bubble burst, and then again around 2008-2009 after the recession. It picked up again quickly and has leveled out a bit between 2012 and 2013. Now let’s take a look at the pieces that make up our Thanksgiving dinners.

Production of cranberries has steadily increased in the past few years, with 2014 being the highest projected year for cranberry production:

Wisconsin provides the bulk of your cranberry sauce resources, with an average of 540 million pounds annually.

The midwest apparently plays a pretty important role in ensuring the rest of us Americans have Thanksgiving feasts. We have Minnesota to thank for providing the most turkeys in the US.

The above data was collected from the US census, take a look if you’d like.

Of course, Thanksgiving’s focus is the food, but there are plenty of other traditions that are part of it. The NFL has its largest viewership day on Thanksgiving, thanks to the initial efforts of the Detroit Lions to draw eyes away from baseball in 1934.

There are three games played on Thanksgiving day, and viewership skyrockets. This is far and away the best day for NFL viewership during the scheduled season.

If your mind has already moved on from Thanksgiving day and Black Friday is more your speed, you’re certainly not alone. Black Friday last year brought in $61 billion for retailers.

Cyber Monday sales seem to pale in comparison to Black Friday (both in store and online sales) but let’s take a look at the percentage change in revenue from Black Friday and Cyber Monday for the past 5 years:

Revenue brought in through Cyber Monday grew by 55% from 2012 to 2013. It’ll be interesting to see what the 2014 data reveals, will this upward trend continue?

From everyone here at DataHero, enjoy your Thanksgiving, everyone.  Check back on the blog for our infographic that outlines Black Friday after the data comes in.

By Kelli Simpson

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