Thanksgiving by the Numbers

Whether you roast your turkey or fry it, mash your potatoes or bake them, or buy your pumpkin pie vs. bake it from scratch, you do you for Thanksgiving–just the way it should be.

But have you ever wondered what everyone else is doing?

While we can’t tell you specifically what your neighbors will be noshing on this Turkey Day, we can give you an idea of what the general population will be serving up–and when they’ll be buying it all so you can avoid the worst crowds at the store. Thanks to our data team at for the numbers and an insider’s peek at how America does Thanksgiving.

Busiest Time for Shoppers

Plan ahead! Procrastinating means longer lines and emptier shelves. The Wednesday before Thanksgiving remains the busiest day to shop during the two weeks leading up to Thanksgiving with almost three times more traffic than the average hourly traffic. Your best bet is to get everything you need before then and stay away from the stores the day before Turkey Day.

Also, if you need to run out to get something you forgot, watch the clock: 2:00-5:00 p.m. is the busiest time of day to shop during Thanksgiving.

Most Popular Sides

Turkey’s hearty sidekick, stuffing (or dressing), is the most commonly purchased side, accounting for almost 25% of all the sides sold.

After that, it’s (in this order) Corn

Green Beans


Cranberry Sauce

Mac ‘n Cheese

And bringing up the rear in surprising fashion, Sweet Potatoes or Yams. With marshmallows, preferably.

Most Popular Turkey Alternatives

For some families, the bird is NOT the word, and they prefer other options for their feast’s main course. Chicken, which isn’t too radical of a substitute, makes up almost 50% of turkey alternatives purchased. Fish, beef, and ham are somewhat common, as well, but other alternatives like veggie options or lamb and duck make up a very small percentage of alternatives purchased.


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