Thanksgiving Week Spending Tops 2009

by Dennis Jacobe, Chief Economist

Daily spending during the three days spanning Black Friday higher than a year ago

PRINCETON, NJ -- American consumers reported spending more in the days spanning Black Friday and during Thanksgiving week this year than they did last year. Self-reported daily consumer spending in stores, restaurants, gas stations, and online averaged $92 per day in the three days ending Saturday, Nov. 27 -- up from $83 a year ago, and essentially the same as the $90 of 2008.

Gallup Daily: Consumer Spending, Thanksgiving Week, Three-Day Averages, 2008-2010

Consumer spending in the days leading up to Thanksgiving this year was higher than at the same time in 2009, and remained higher during the Gallup three-day rolling average spanning Black Friday, from Thursday through Saturday. While spending in 2010 for these three days matches that of the same period in 2008, it trails 2008 comparables for the days immediately before Thanksgiving.


Self-reported consumer spending for the days leading up to Black Friday and for the first few days of the Christmas shopping season should be encouraging to retailers and for the economy as a whole. It is also consistent with Gallup's early November finding that sales are likely to be better this holiday season than in 2009.

Retailers have been aggressive this year. Some were open on Thanksgiving Day and most pursued heavy promotion and price discounting. Still, the ultimate success of this holiday sales season will depend on whether consumers continue spending throughout the weeks ahead. In this regard, holiday spending could get a boost if Friday's jobs report contains good news.

Gallup will continue reporting on daily spending trends during the remainder of the holiday season.

See page 2 for complete data. reports results from these indexes in daily, weekly, and monthly averages and in stories. Complete trend data are always available to view and export in the following charts:

Daily: Employment, Economic Confidence and Job Creation, Consumer Spending
Weekly: Employment, Economic Confidence, Job Creation, Consumer Spending

Read more about Gallup's economic measures.

Survey Methods

Results are based on telephone interviews conducted as part of Gallup Daily tracking during the period of Monday to Saturday prior to Black Friday in 2008-2010, with random three-day samples averaging about 1,500 adults, aged 18 and older, living in all 50 U.S. states and the District of Columbia, selected using random-digit-dial sampling.

For results based on the three-day samples averaging 1,500 or more national adults, one can say with 95% confidence that the maximum margin of sampling error is ±3 percentage points.

Interviews are conducted with respondents on landline telephones and cellular phones, with interviews conducted in Spanish for respondents who are primarily Spanish-speaking. Each daily sample includes a minimum quota of 150 cell phone respondents and 850 landline respondents, with additional minimum quotas among landline respondents for gender within region. Landline respondents are chosen at random within each household on the basis of which member had the most recent birthday.

Samples are weighted by gender, age, race, Hispanic ethnicity, education, region, adults in the household, cell phone-only status, cell phone-mostly status, and phone lines. Demographic weighting targets are based on the March 2009 Current Population Survey figures for the aged 18 and older non-institutionalized population living in U.S. telephone households. All reported margins of sampling error include the computed design effects for weighting and sample design.

In addition to sampling error, question wording and practical difficulties in conducting surveys can introduce error or bias into the findings of public opinion polls.

For more details on Gallup's polling methodology, visit

Gallup Daily: Consumer Spending, Thanksgiving Week, Three-Day Averages, 2008-2010

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