Win the Turkey, Win Thanksgiving

It’s no surprise that more people shop for Christmas than any other holiday. But while Santa is the unquestioned king of holiday shopping, Tom the Turkey is holding his own.

*Note: We hope you find these insights from past years useful, and we know 2020 brings with it new challenges & considerations. For the most up-to-date insights, check out our latest blog on 2020 Thanksgiving Predictions & Planning.

A survey analysis from the InfoScout OmniPanel™ tells us that Thanksgiving is the next biggest shopping holiday of the year, ahead of Mother’s Day, Easter, Valentine’s Day, Father’s Day and Halloween. Last year, grocery spend for Thanksgiving in November totaled $42.1 billion, according to data from Numerator Insights.

How prepared is your business for the Thanksgiving shopping season? More specifically, how much of that $42.1 billion are you prepared to claim?

Let’s take a closer look at shopping behavior, trip types, the importance of winning the Turkey trip, which retailers are winning Thanksgiving, and why those retailers are winning.

Prepare Early to Grab the Biggest Piece of the Thanksgiving Pie

49% of consumers plan to start their Thanksgiving grocery shopping two to three weeks before Thanksgiving, according to our InfoScout OmniPanel Thanksgiving Survey. 36% will start one week before. By the time we get to November 13 (10 days before Thanksgiving), only 50% of Thanksgiving grocery spend will remain.


Shoppers often get their turkey early but wait until the day before Thanksgiving to get most of the fixings, such as fresh vegetables and gravy, as well as beverages like coffee and vodka. In fact, the number of Express Lane trips increases by 50 percent the day before Thanksgiving compared to the average Wednesday. Retailers need to plan early to win more Thanksgiving dollars but also prepare to take advantage of those last-minute trips.

The Turkey Is the Ticket to Bigger Baskets

The average basket size for any grocery purchase during the 2017 Thanksgiving season was $40.97. The average basket size when turkey was in the basket was nearly two-and-a-half times higher at $96.36. Interestingly, most of those turkey purchases are up for grabs.

60% of Thanksgiving shoppers will purchase some key items from outside of their regular store, with the turkey topping the list of such items. This is a tremendous opportunity for retailers to capture the all-important turkey purchase and a larger portion of leaking Thanksgiving dollars.


There are more than 17 million turkey trips to be had. The retailers that win the turkey trip will be in the driver’s seat to win the Thanksgiving shopping season.

Who Won Thanksgiving in 2017 and Why?

Albertsons claimed the largest share of wallet for Thanksgiving shopping compared to the rest of the year, while Fine Wine & Good Spirits and Total Wine & More were the go-to retailers for leaking wine trips.

According to Numerator Promotion Insights, Albertsons started mentioning Thanksgiving on its circular covers before its competitors, beginning with a promotional offer for a free turkey on November 1. Albertsons continued its Thanksgiving push with a price-matching guarantee on circular covers that directly referenced competitors, then transitioned to a lower price-per-pound offer during the week before Thanksgiving.


Why did this approach work? Our InfoScout OmniPanel Thanksgiving Survey found that 83% of shoppers actively look at store circulars for the best deals on food and drink for Thanksgiving. Albertsons promoted Thanksgiving early and often, staying ahead of the competition with compelling offers that grabbed the attention of shoppers and won more turkey trips.

How You Can Take Action

The first step is to analyze shopping behavior in the full market, including traditional and non-traditional channels, so you can answer these and other questions:

  • What are the top items from your category in Thanksgiving baskets?
  • How can you win leaked trips by shoppers who look outside their regular store for Thanksgiving staples?
  • What do trip circuits look like for specific banners or items?

Armed with these insights, you can develop a data-driven marketing strategy that capitalizes on the latest trends, caters to current shopper preferences, and maximizes basket size and market share. Click here to set up a demo and learn more about how Numerator, powered by the InfoScout OmniPanel, can help you win Thanksgiving.

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