Thanksgiving, Black Friday and Cyber Monday Facts & Figures

For many of us, the Thanksgiving holiday means two things – turkey with all the trimmings and the beginning of the holiday shopping season.  Just how crazy do we get?  Here are some interesting facts from a few of our library databases, the U.S. Census, and the experts at the National Turkey Federation.

Talkin’ Turkey

A National Turkey Federation (NTF) survey reveals that nearly 88 percent of Americans eat turkey at Thanksgiving.  How big are those birds?  According to the NTF the average weight of turkeys purchased for Thanksgiving is 15 pounds. 1

The U.S. Census also dishes out some mouth-watering food facts: 2

  • It is estimated that 250 million turkeys will be raised in the United States in 2009. The typical American ate 13.8 pounds of turkey in 2007.
  • 1.8 billion pounds of sweet potatoes were produced by major sweet potato producing states in 2008. Per capita sweet potato consumption was 5.2 pounds in 2007.
  • The forecast for U.S. cranberry production in 2009 is 709 million pounds.  Massachusetts residents might be surprised to learn that the Bay State is ranked second in cranberry production at 190 million pounds (behind Wisconsin which weighs in at 400 million pounds).
  • Bring on the green bean casserole.  In 2008, the contracted production of snap (green) beans in major green bean-producing states was 794,777 tons.

Ready, Set, Shop!

Industry analysts at IBISWorld estimate that total retail sales on the traditional Black Friday weekend will increase 2.8 percent from last year, totaling $42.9 billion. Will you be one of the masses?  IBISWorld is predicting that 76.9 million people will be hitting the stores on Black Friday.3

Cyber Monday is also a boon for retailers.  According to market research firm Mintel, in 2008 the National Retail Foundation (NRF) reported that 37% of consumers were planning to shop online during work on the Monday following Thanksgiving.4 There’s a bright outlook for the upcoming holiday season, as Forrester Research expects online retail sales to reach $44.7 billion during the months of November and December 2009, an 8% increase over 2008. 5

Looking for more information?  Contact a Reference Librarian – we can provide research assistance and help you navigate the library’s databases.  The staff of the Bentley Library wishes everyone a very Happy Thanksgiving!

[1] “Turkey History and Trivia”.  National Turkey Foundation. n.d. Web. 18 Nov. 2009. <>.
[2] “Facts for Features – Thanksgiving Day November 26, 2009”. U.S. Census Press Release.  30 Sept. 2009. Web. 18 Nov. 2009. <>
[3] “Consumers Eat And Drink To Be Merry This Season“. IBISWorld Press Release. 10 Nov. 2009.  Web. 18 Nov. 2009. <>
[4] “Holiday Shopping – US – June 2009”.  Mintel Oxygen database. 2009. Web. 18 Nov. 2009. <>
[5] “US Online Holiday Retail Forecast, 2009”.  Forrester Research database.  2 Nov. 2009. Web. 18 Nov. 2009. <>