A Majority of Millennials will be Hosting Thanksgiving Dinner as They Bring Their Own Digital Spin to the Holiday, Finds New Report

18 November 2015

2 out of 10 Americans aged 25 to 34 plan on buying Thanksgiving groceries with a food delivery app while nearly half plan on finding this year’s recipes on social media, according to new survey report

Cincinnati, OH – November 18, 2015 – Established American Millennials are straying away from tradition as they begin to host and make major contributions to the Thanksgiving holiday, according to a new national survey by dunnhumby, the world’s leading customer science company. Thanks in large part to the digital culture they grew up in, 25 to 34 year olds – older Millennials that are most likely to be established in their careers, married or in serious relationships, homeowners and have children of their own – plan on approaching and preparing Thanksgiving dinner quite differently than previous generations.

According to dunnhumby’s Thanksgiving consumer trends survey, 59 percent of Americans aged 25 to 34 plan on hosting a Thanksgiving dinner this year. These Millennials are exploring new shopping options in addition to the traditional supermarket, and are far more likely to leverage technology in the planning and implementation of their holiday dinner. 21 percent of 25 to 34 year olds report plans to buy groceries for their holiday meal using a food delivery app (such as Instacart, Shipt and Google Express) while 16 percent say they’ll be using an online grocery delivery service (such as Peapod, FreshDirect, Amazon Fresh or BlueApron). This is an incredibly sharp contrast with the outlook for their parents and grandparents, as none of those 55 years old and older reported plans to use either of these types of services.

These established Millennials are also the most likely to break from tradition and use online resources to find cooking ideas and recipes this Thanksgiving. Nearly half (48 percent) of 25 to 34 year olds say they plan on using social media websites such as Pinterest, Instagram and Facebook – far above the national average of 27 percent. This age group is also the most likely to turn to other online and mobile resources such as recipe apps (31 percent versus 16 percent of all Americans) and food blogs (27 percent versus just 13 percent of Americans as a whole).

“Nearly every retailer is hyper-focused on engaging millennials, but very few know what that actually means. These maturing customers are connected and always on, and need to be met with relevant offers, goods and services on the digital platforms they’re regularly using,” said David Ciancio, Senior Customer Strategist at dunnhumby. “Our findings prove that the traditional grocery shopping trip is a thing of the past – even for Thanksgiving. There are now four primary mind sets around shopping, which are discover, shop, buy and reflect, and retailers need to understand the new expectations and needs customers have for each.”

The survey also indicates a strong generational divide in regards to alcohol consumption. Younger Americans are much more likely to increase their drinking during the Thanksgiving holiday, as 52 percent of 25 to 34 year olds, and a whopping 64 percent of 18 to 24 year olds, say that their alcohol intake will increase as they devour their Turkey dinner. Older Americans clearly take a more sober approach – only 23 percent of those 55 years old and older plan on upping their alcohol intake during the holiday.

“We are in the midst a generational and attitudinal shift throughout the United States where technology has given rise to the emergence of the new connected customer – not just in regards to Thanksgiving dinner, but for all retail and grocery shopping,” said Andy Hill, Managing Director North America, dunnhumby. “It’s absolutely vital for today’s retailers to understand both offline and online behavior through data and customer science in order to create a complete picture of consumer behavior and preferences – including how they shop, source their information and share experiences with friends and family.”

Additional key findings of dunnhumby’s Thanksgiving consumer trends survey include:

  • 92 percent of Americans plan on buying at least some of their Thanksgiving groceries at their local supermarket
  • An overwhelming majority of respondents (78 percent) say that they don’t worry about calories or diets on Thanksgiving
  • Unsurprisingly, Turkey is by far the most common food during Thanksgiving – 85 percent of all respondents plan on eating the popular poultry
  • 58 percent of Americans have never heard of Friendsgiving – a Thanksgiving tradition with friends instead of family
  • Millennials are the most likely to attend a Friendsgiving dinner this year (42 percent of 25 to 34 year olds and 37 percent of 18 to 24 year olds)
  • The majority of Americans (60 percent) plan on spending Thanksgiving Eve pre-making or preparing Thanksgiving dishes while over a quarter (27 percent) are last minute food shoppers, planning to spend the eve of the holiday shopping for groceries
  • 74 percent of Americans believe that Thanksgiving is a time for helping the hungry or less fortunate
  • Despite retailers’ best efforts, only 30 percent of Americans believe that Thanksgiving is also a day for shopping
  • The majority of men (55 percent) plan on watching football after their Thanksgiving meal

Survey Methodology

This survey was carried out by dunnhumby, the leading customer science company, and captures the thoughts, feelings, and actions of Americans’ Thanksgiving traditions. The survey was fielded online among 500 Americans from a nationally representative sample on age and gender, and was fielded from October 13th through 15th, 2015.

About dunnhumby
dunnhumby is the world’s leading customer science company. We analyze data and apply insights from nearly one billion shoppers across the globe to create personalized customer experiences in digital, mobile, and retail environments. Our strategic process, proprietary insights, and multichannel media capabilities build loyalty with customers to drive competitive advantage and sustained growth for clients. dunnhumby employs over 2,000 experts in offices throughout Europe, Asia, Africa, and the Americas and works with a prestigious group of companies including Tesco, Monoprix, Raley’s, Macy's, Coca-Cola, Procter & Gamble, and PepsiCo.