What Thanksgiving Day Searches Tell Marketers

How to cook a turkey and side dishes are typically the top Google Search queries this time of year.

Google has compiled search trends around Thanksgiving meals, suggesting the most popular way to cook a turkey, the most popular side dishes and desserts by state, and what people are interested in doing during their day off.

The majority of U.S. search queries show an interest in how to cook the bird, according to Google Trends. With the exception of New England, a couple of southern states, and Hawaii, the data shows that most of the country searched for a “smoked turkey” cooking method, including Pennsylvania.

New York, New England, Wyoming, Montana, South Dakota, Hawaii and a few other states are trending high for “roast turkey.” Louisiana consumers searches trended high for “fried turkey.” MediaPost columnist Adam Buckman in today's TV Blog describes a popular chef's method or favorite way to cook a turkey.  

Pumpkin pie -- always a favorite in my home -- came in as the No. 1 searches desert across the country with 43% of the searches, followed by apple pie with 25%, pecan pie with 19%, sweet potato pie with 11%, and cranberry pie with 2%.

The Associated Press reports that Americans are seeing double-digit percentage increases in the price of turkey, potatoes, stuffing, canned pumpkin and other staples.

The U.S. government estimates food prices will be up 9.5% to 10.5% this year. They typically rise about 2% annually.

Google Search Trends data makes no mention of prices for foods and fixings, but it does list the searches related to holiday traditions such as the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.

The traditional Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade is most popular search in the Eastern states, followed by Thanksgiving Day football and Turkey Trot.

Surprisingly, in-store shopping is back in style. There is once again more interest in Black Friday this year compared with Cyber Monday, according to Google Search Trends.

Data from Samba TV and HarrisX suggests around seven in 10, 71%, of shoppers plan to take part in Black Friday, and 70% plan to take part in Cyber Monday shopping. This is an increase from last year, when six in 10 participated.

Some 31% of U.S. adults plan to do most of their holiday shopping in-store this holiday season.

More than one in four plan to increase in-store shopping this year compared with last year. Among all age groups, Gen Z is most likely to shop in-store on Black Friday, with 56% planning to do so, according to Samba TV and HarrisX data.

The data also shows that in-store shoppers are planning to spend more than online shoppers, with the average person planning to spend $1,286 this holiday season and the average majority-online shopper planning to spend $853. 

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