Can you guess these Thanksgiving and Black Friday Retail Fun Facts?

Thanksgiving is one of America’s oldest and most celebrated holidays, dating back to 1621 when the Pilgrims celebrated their first harvest in the new world. Today, it looks much different than it did in the 1600’s, and for the world of retail, it has become one of the biggest shopping weekends on earth.

The term ‘Black Friday’ originated in Philadelphia in the 1950’s, as droves of shoppers and tourists made their way to the city ahead of the Army vs. Navy football game. The city’s police force was overwhelmed, and even with all-hands-on-deck, shoplifters had a heyday amongst the bedlam. Retailers attempted to change the theme to “Big Friday”, but it wasn’t much use.

In the late 1980’s, retailers turned it around, reinventing the holiday to signify a nation-wide sale as the Christmas shopping season kicked into high gear. In recent years, largely thanks to eCommerce, it has become a week-long event with “Black Friday Deals Week” and Cyber Monday becoming a 10-day affair.

Between Thanksgiving and the week of massive shopping events, the are a ton of fun facts to know. Is your Turkey Day Trivia knowledge up to snuff? Take the CMA Blog Thanksgiving Week quiz and find out!

How many Turkeys are sold for Thanksgiving every year?

  1. 31 million
  2. 37 million
  3. 42 million
  4. 46 million

Answer: D. 46 Million. Turkey is America’s favorite Thanksgiving food by a landslide, with 39% of Americans identifying it as their delicacy of choice. That’s more than the 2nd and 3rd place foods combined, with stuffing and pumpkin pie coming in at 23% and 12%, respectively. Bad news if you’re a turkey.

How much is spent on all those Thanksgiving turkeys?

  1. $513 million
  2. $552 million
  3. $576 million
  4. $598 million

Answer: B. $552 million. It’s true. Americans love their turkey to the tune of over half a billion dollars. Of course, buying a sizable bird means more leftovers, and 73% of Americans agree that having a fridge jam packed full of leftovers is the best part of hosting the holiday.


Last year, we saw a huge jump in Black Friday week eCommerce on Thanksgiving Day itself. How much was spent online during Thanksgiving Day 2018?

  1. $2.7 billion
  2. $3.1 billion
  3. $3.7 billion
  4. $4.1 billion

Answer: C. $3.7 billion. Early Black Friday Deals brought a huge increase of 28% over 2017. While many retailers backed off the early deals and gave employees the day off on Thanksgiving for years, we’ve seen, especially over the last 3 years, sales surging on Turkey Day as it is starting to supplant Black Friday as the first big kickoff day of the holiday shopping season.

Last year also saw a record $6.2 billion in online sales for Black Friday. How many of those sales originated on smart phones? 

  1. $1.5 billion
  2. $2 billion
  3. $3.2 billion
  4. $3.9 billion

Answer: B. $2 billion. Nearly 1 in 3 eCommerce transactions took place on mobile phones last year. Expect that number to continue to grow, as mobile commerce is expected to be nearly 50% of the total eCommerce by 2020.

Which U.S. President began the annual tradition of pardoning a turkey on Thanksgiving? 

  1. Richard Nixon
  2. Jimmy Carter
  3. Ronald Regan
  4. George H.W. Bush

Answer: D. George H.W. Bush began the tradition of offering a presidential pardon to one lucky bird back in 1989. It’s been an annual tradition ever since. In 2005 and 2009, the lucky turkeys went on to Disneyland and Disney World, where they were named official Grand Marshals of the Thanksgiving parade.

Which state is the leading producer of sweet potatoes?

  1. Idaho
  2. California
  3. Mississippi
  4. North Carolina

Answer: D. North Carolina is the leading producer of sweet potatoes in the U.S., by far, producing over 60% of all the sweet potatoes in the country.

In which year was the term “Cyber Monday” first used?

  1. 2001
  2. 2003
  3. 2005
  4. 2007

Answer: C. 2005. The term was first used in a press release in 2005 to describe the surge in eCommerce sales on the Mondays following Black Friday. Comparatively speaking, this surge would be more of a blip now. While Cyber Monday pulled in a little over half a billion dollars back in 2005, last year the holiday set a record with $7.9 billion in online sales, topping Black Friday by over $1.5 billion in terms of eCommerce.

We hope you enjoyed another round of CMA Blog Holiday Trivia. Since this season is all about giving thanks, we would just like to extend a thank you to all of our valued CMA and SIMA members. Without you, none of this would be possible. We hope you all have a fun and safe holiday weekend!

What do you think about the ever-growing format of Black Friday? Has the week-plus-long format come as a challenge for you? We’d love to hear what you have to say. Sound off on social media now and join the conversation.