How Much Does the Average American Spend on Thanksgiving? 15+ A-Maize-Ing Statistics

Written By
G. Dautovic
January 11,2024

Kicking off the holiday season with some turkey, green bean casserole, cranberry sauce, corn pudding, and pumpkin pie on the table, accompanied with a little bit of wine, while surrounded by family and friends, sounds like a typical Thanksgiving Day to many.

Some may splurge a bit more on this yearly feast, while others prefer to keep it simple. Either way, the question is: How much does the average American spend on Thanksgiving? In this article, we’ll take a look at some stats that may surprise you.

Key Thanksgiving Statistis for 2024 - Editor’s Choice

  • Americans spent over $1.1 billion on Thanksgiving turkeys in 2022.
  • In 2020, Americans spent a whopping average of $475 on the Thanksgiving party.
  • In 2021, 44% of Thanksgiving hosts were projected to take on debt to finance the dinner.
  • In 2021, millennials were expected to be the generation to splurge the most on the Thanksgiving party.
  • Americans purchase approximately 80 million pounds of cranberries during Thanksgiving week.
  • Almost 29% of Americans planned to spend over $500 on travel during Thanksgiving in 2022.

A 16-pound turkey will cost an average of $20.32 in 2023.

(American Farm Bureau Information)

Due to inflation and supply chain issues, along with the highly pathogenic avian influenza which killed around 6 million turkeys in 2022, the prices have gone up drastically in the last five years.

For example, in 2018, the cost of a 16-lb turkey was just $13.46. The price almost doubled and rose to $24.69 in 2022, but has since started dropping, and in August of 2023 the average monthly turkey price was at $1.27 per pound (or 22% cheaper), according to the Agricultural Marketing Service.

average monthly turkey price 2023 

Americans spent more than $1.1 billion on Thanksgiving turkeys in 2022.


Due to the rise in the cost of turkey, the cumulative spending on this feast bird was projected to increase as well. Thus, the prediction for 2022 was that it would cost all Thanksgiving hosts over $1.1 billion in total. On the other hand, that number was $985 million in 2021.  

During Thanksgiving Day 2022, people spent a record-breaking $5.29 billion on online shopping.

(CNBC, The Washington Post)

According to Adobe Analytics, online shoppers typically spend between $2 billion and $3 billion in a day. In 2022, that number jumped to $5.29 billion. However, the overall increase was quite moderate compared to previous years, which saw a 10% to 14% rise in online shopping on Thanksgiving. 

This comes as no surprise, given that statistics indicate that more than 60% of Americans prefer to shop for holiday gifts online. What’s more, Thanksgiving week overlaps with Black Friday and Cyber Monday, when online shopping typically reaches its peak. In fact, the 2022 Black Friday online spending was at $9.1 billion, while on Cyber Monday, online shoppers spent $11.3 billion.

To compare, in 2018, spending on Black Friday reached $6.2 billion and $7.9 billion on Cyber Monday. On Thanksgiving Day, the number was $3.7 billion.

In 2020, Americans spent a whopping average of $475 on the Thanksgiving party.

(Lending Tree)

Despite the fact that 2020 was the year when the world was hit by the global pandemic, that year’s Thanksgiving dinner spending, along with other costs related to the holiday was unexpectedly high. To put things into perspective, in 2018 and 2019, Americans cashed out $334.34 and $310.17, respectively, to celebrate this holiday.

In 2020, the amount spent on Thanksgiving holiday purchases rose to $475. This estimation included all the items associated with Thanksgiving, from food and drinks to decorations and napkins.

One in four Americans planned to skip Thanksgiving in 2022 due to the upsurge in prices.

(Genesee Sun)

The percentage of Americans hosting Thanksgiving dinner is taking a dive. A survey by Empower showed that one in four people was determined to skip Thanksgiving in 2022. To compare, in 2021, as many as 90% planned to celebrate the holiday.

In 2021, 44% of Thanksgiving hosts were projected to take on debt to finance the dinner.

(Lending Tree)

With the rising prices, the percentage of Thanksgiving hosts who are relying on loans to finance the Thanksgiving feast is increasing as well. Nearly half of hosts, 44% to be exact, planned to borrow money in 2021, according to a Lending Tree survey. The share was at 38% in 2020 and 27% in 2019. 

In 2021, millennials were expected to be the generation to splurge the most on the Thanksgiving party.


Data from 2021 showed that millennials are the biggest spenders when it comes to hosting Thanksgiving parties. They were projected to spend $461.2 on average per party, compared to baby boomers, who were to cash out $232.4.

Americans purchase approximately 80 million pounds of cranberries during Thanksgiving week.

(Agricultural Marketing Resource Center)

On average, 675 million pounds of turkey is consumed on Thanksgiving. However, turkey is not the only food product in demand when this holiday approaches. Namely, Americans buy around 400 million pounds of cranberries over the course of a year, 20% of which during Thanksgiving week.

Around 40% of sales of Campbell’s Cream of Mushroom Soup go toward making the green bean casserole.

(Smithsonian Mag) 

The green bean casserole is another signature Thanksgiving dish. That’s why it comes as no surprise that the sale of its ingredients, including Campbell’s Cream of Mushroom soup, increase during that time of the year.

The recipe, which includes a can of Campbell’s Cream of Mushroom soup, green beans, milk,  fried onions, black pepper, and soy sauce, dates back to 1955. That’s when a woman by the name of Dorcas Reilly, a supervisor for Campbell’s test kitchen, was asked to create a recipe for an Associated Press feature, and she came up with this now-famous dish.

Almost 29% of Americans planned to spend over $500 on Thanksgiving travel in 2022.


The cost of Thanksgiving doesn’t come down solely to food and drinks. A survey showed that 43% or over 112 million Americans planned to travel on Thanksgiving. Out of that, around 29% or 74 million adults expected they would spend more than $500 on these travel expenses.

The most expensive Thanksgiving dinner ever cost $181,000.


In 2019, Old Homestead Steakhouse, a Manhattan restaurant, was offering what was termed the “world’s most expensive Thanksgiving dinner.” But what did this offer include? As is to be expected, this was a turkey dinner. It included two 20-pound free-range turkeys covered in edible gold flakes. 

The turkeys were served along with seafood bread stuffing, candied sweet potatoes, butternut squash, and cranberry sauce. For dessert, there was a range of pies, namely, pumpkin, coconut custard, pecan, and apple pies. When it comes to drinks, this package included Cristal champagne.

Those who decided to cash out for this luxurious dinner also received four tickets to the Super Bowl LIV in Miami, two tickets to “The Voice,” two iPhone 11 Pro Maxes, a SeaDream Yacht Club Cruise for two, and more.

A staggering 88% of Americans who participated in the Empower survey planned to cut costs by excluding at least one dish from their Thanksgiving dinner in 2022.


The Empower survey showed that a large number of people were planning to cut their Thanksgiving costs this year. As many as 88% of survey participants stated they would eliminate at least one dish. 

Other ways they prepared to save up was by asking their guests to bring food, drinks, or money and by inviting fewer people. The generation that was keen on employing those methods the most was Gen Z. Some also decided to shop early to avoid spikes in prices as the holiday approached. 

One in five Americans were doubtful whether they would have enough funds to finance the Thanksgiving feast in 2022.


According to the survey conducted by Empower in 2022, one in five Americans doubted they would have enough money to cover the costs of the Thanksgiving dinner. This pessimistic attitude came after the huge spikes in prices in grocery stores. 

Key Takeaways

The main point to be drawn from these Thanksgiving spending numbers is that the higher retail food prices led to fewer people being keen on celebrating this holiday, but also more of them having the need to take out loans. Despite this, 43% planned to travel on Thanksgiving this year, with 29% expecting over $500 in travel expenses.

Furthermore, when it comes to spending between different generations, millennials are taking the lead, as their Thanksgiving parties are the most expensive. On the other hand, baby boomers have been spending the least.

Surveys also show that Americans were looking for ways to cut expenditures this Thanksgiving. Some planned to do so by reducing the number of dishes they would make or the number of people they would invite, while others resorted to asking their guests to bring some Thanksgiving money or food.


What's the average cost of a ten-person Thanksgiving dinner?


The average cost for Thanksgiving dinner has been steadily rising. This year, it was projected to be $64.05 for 10 people.

Is Thanksgiving more expensive this year?


The American Farm Bureau Federation survey showed that the cost of a Thanksgiving dinner for 10 people rose by 20% in 2022. The reason for this significant difference is the fact that food and beverage prices have been increasing.

Is Thanksgiving a bigger holiday than Christmas?


Thanksgiving is deemed the most popular holiday in the US, after Christmas. People spend a significant chunk of their budget on these two holidays. For example, people spent an average of $475 on Thanksgiving in 2020. On the other hand, that same year, they cashed out $502 on Christmas gifts for family members alone. 


About author

I have always thought of myself as a writer, but I began my career as a data operator with a large fintech firm. This position proved invaluable for learning how banks and other financial institutions operate. Daily correspondence with banking experts gave me insight into the systems and policies that power the economy. When I got the chance to translate my experience into words, I gladly joined the smart, enthusiastic Fortunly team.

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