At RJMetrics, we don’t just look at our data, we look at all the data we can get our hands on. It’s easy to get obsessed with our own data (in a good way, of course), but it’s helpful to look at bigger trends as well. When researching data for food and travel plans for Thanksgiving, some trend stats really stood out for us. We think these three stats speak volumes of how consumers think.

The first stat:

Over Thanksgiving, about 1 in 4 turkeys consumed is a Butterball Turkey

How we interpret this data:

The most terrifying part of this article is that turkeys have seemingly gone on a collective diet solely to ruin our Thanksgiving plans (well played, turkeys). However, the most interesting part of the article is that nearly 25% of Thanksgiving meals involve Butterball.

Consumers stick with what they know. We’re not sure where Butterball turkeys rank on a scale of deliciousness, but we’re guessing they are pretty average. While there are plenty of other options, including purchasing a fresh turkey from a local farmers’ market, Butterball is the only recognizable brand of turkey.

What this means to you:

While Butterball isn’t quite a proprietary eponym, it is pretty darn close. Customers go to purchase a turkey, not a brand, then choose the only brand that seems familiar. If you are trying to win customer mindshare in an ecommerce situation like this, think about PPC ads along the lines of “buy turkey now” and less about “brand X turkeys are delicious.”

The second stat:

E-commerce sales rose 17.4% on Thanksgiving Day 2012

How we interpret this data:

This article makes at least one thing abundantly clear; nobody enjoys hanging out with their family for an entire day. Online retailers are taking advantage of this for good reason. It gets a jump on Black Friday sales. It also reaches a captive audience – these customers want to be interacting with their devices, not their families!

What this means to you:

Don’t miss out on an entire day of sales because you are spending all your time planning for Black Friday. Have separate campaigns targeting customers on Thanksgiving and track the performance of both.

The third stat:

Confusingly, 64% of Thanksgiving travelers plan to travel during off-peak hours to avoid heavy traffic

How we interpret this data:

Everyone wants to feel like they are beating the system.

What this means to you:

If you aren’t making your customers feel special, you’re doing it wrong. Whether it is free shipping, a deal before your Black Friday deals start or surprising them with a gift at checkout, think about giving the VIP treatment to everyone that shops on Thanksgiving.

We often talk about data helping us make incremental changes, but it should also be used to learn big things about our customers, broad trends and changes in the market. Once you start using data analytics to make decisions, you begin to see insights from all kinds of sources. Test any of these theories out and track the results. The more theories you test, the better you’ll get at understanding great opportunities when you look at the data.

Photo by: Floodllama

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