Providing the most comprehensive and up-to-date information and analysis of the US Holidays And Traditions market, including the behaviours, preferences and habits of the consumer.

Concerns about COVID-19 and the need to remain socially distant from friends and family disrupted holiday celebrations and traditions in 2020. Now, with the majority of adults in the US vaccinated, the 260 million adults who celebrate Thanksgiving or Christmas can more safely resume in-person holiday celebrations this fall and winter. A new post-pandemic understanding of the importance of holiday celebrations will make spirits especially bright this holiday season.

Christmas and Thanksgiving are the most widely celebrated holidays in the US. Among adults, 93% celebrated either Thanksgiving or Christmas prior to the pandemic. This means the potential market for Thanksgiving/Christmas-related revenue includes almost 243 million adults. While only 57% of adults say they celebrate Halloween, it is also a lucrative holiday. Most consumers’ Halloween festivities include indoor and outdoor decorations, festive attire and costumes and community events.

Holiday spending and celebrations were curtailed last year because of the pandemic, but most adults are optimistic that their fall and winter holidays will be more “normal” than they were in 2020. Nevertheless, this year’s celebrations will be challenging for consumers who lost friends or family due to COVID-19, and some will be celebrating this year’s holidays without a loved one for the first time.

Read on to discover more details, read our US Winter Holiday Shopping Market Report 2021, or take a look at all of our US Holidays and Travel market research.

Quickly understand

  • The pandemic has instilled a new appreciation for the importance of spending time with loved ones.
  • Food-related traditions are universally understood and integral to holiday celebrations.
  • Moms with kids at home are an ideal audience for holiday-related promotions.
  • Families plan to celebrate Thanksgiving and Christmas with extended family this year.
  • Holiday traditions in the US.
  • Christmas holidays research.

Covered in this report

Holidays: Christmas, Thanksgiving, Mother’s Day, New Years Eve, Easter, Independence Day, Halloween, Valentine’s Day, Memorial Day, St. Patrick’s Day.

Brands: Home Depot, American Christmas Tree Association, McDonalds, Papa John’s, Campbell’s, Gemmy Industries.

Expert analysis from a specialist in the field

This report, written by Kristen Boesel, a leading analyst in the Food and Drink sector, delivers in-depth commentary and analysis to highlight current trends and add expert context to the numbers.

The threat of COVID-19 dampened or canceled holiday celebrations last year. Thanks to the widespread availability of vaccines in the US this year, adults are ready to celebrate Thanksgiving and Christmas with extended family and friends. Brands should bear in mind, however, that a sizable share of families will be celebrating these holidays for the first time after suffering great losses in 2020.
Kristen Boesel, Senior Lifestyles and Leisure Analyst
Kristen Boesel
Senior Lifestyles and Leisure Analyst

Table of Contents

  1. Overview

    • What you need to know
    • Key issues covered in this Report
    • Definition
    • Market context
    • Economic and other assumptions
    • COVID-19: US context
  2. Executive Summary

    • Top takeaways
    • Market overview
      • Figure 1: Holidays celebrated prior to the pandemic, percentage of adults, 2021
    • Opportunities and challenges
    • Younger adults expect brands to acknowledge culturally specific holidays
      • Figure 2: Agreement that brands should recognize holidays from a variety of cultures, 2021
    • Parents – especially moms – fuel holiday celebrations
      • Figure 3: Holidays celebrated prior to the pandemic, by parental status, 2021
    • Opportunities to get dads excited about holiday celebrations
      • Figure 4: Agreement that holiday celebrations mean more to parents than adults without kids, by parental status, 2021
    • Consumers already think of family birthday celebrations as holidays
      • Figure 5: Types of holiday traditions, 2021
  3. The Market – Key Takeaways

    • Winter holidays are almost universally celebrated
    • Women are a better audience for holiday campaigns than men
    • Americans re-emerge with new outlook on holiday celebrations
  4. Holidays by the Numbers

    • Nearly all adults celebrate Christmas and Thanksgiving
      • Figure 6: Holidays celebrated prior to the pandemic, number of adults (in millions), 2021
    • Valentine’s Day rounds out the top three holidays in terms of reach
      • Figure 7: TURF Analysis – Holidays celebrated prior to the pandemic, 2021
    • On average, women observe more holidays than men do
      • Figure 8: Holidays celebrated prior to the pandemic, by gender identity, 2021
    • Not all US holidays are for everyone
      • Figure 9: Holidays celebrated prior to the pandemic, by race and Hispanic origin, 2021
      • Figure 10: Holidays celebrated prior to the pandemic, by race and Hispanic origin, 2021
  5. Impact of COVID-19 on Holiday Celebrations

    • Holiday travel slumped
    • Outdoor Halloween and Christmas decorations were big. Literally.
      • Figure 11: Social media post with photo of 12-foot skeleton, 2020
    • Two thirds of adults have new appreciation for holiday celebrations
      • Figure 12: Post-pandemic perspective on the importance of holiday celebrations, by parental status, 2021
    • For most, the best gift this year will be time in person with loved ones
      • Figure 13: Agreement that time with loved ones is the best gift this year, by gender and age, 2021
  6. Companies and Brands – Key Takeaways

    • It’s the most wonderful time of the year
    • The gift you give the earth
    • Consumers are interested in learning about holidays from other cultures
    • Winter holidays were hard last year; this year will also be difficult
  7. Competitive Strategies

    • Mintel Global Trend Drivers
    • Mintel Global Trend Driver: Experiences
      • Figure 14: Mintel Global Trend Driver, Experiences
    • Leveraging food-related nostalgia to build brand associations
      • Figure 15: Green bean casserole Instagram post, November 2020
    • Appealing to consumers’ sense of playfulness with seasonal promotions
      • Figure 16: Enjoyment of brands’ seasonal promotions, by gender and age, 2021
      • Figure 17: Twitter post with photo of Papa John’s Jack-o-lantern pizza, 2018
    • Mintel Global Trend Driver: Surroundings
      • Figure 18: Mintel Global Trend Driver, Surroundings
    • Offering products that help consumers celebrate sustainably
      • Figure 19: Reusable & Eco Furoshiki Fabric Book Cover – Quick & Easy, 2021
    • Mintel Global Trend Driver: Identity
      • Figure 20: Mintel Global Trend Driver Identity
    • Crossing outdoor holiday décor with fandom
      • Figure 21: Mickey Mouse inflatable Christmas decoration, 2020
  8. Market Opportunities

    • To consumers, birthdays are essentially holidays
      • Figure 22: Word cloud representing open end responses about holidays celebrated or shopped for, 2021
    • Interest in holiday traditions from other cultures
      • Figure 23: Agreement that brands should recognize holidays from a variety of cultures, 2021
    • Opportunity to acknowledge families’ COVID-19-related losses
      • Figure 24: Agreement that “Celebrating holidays helps me remember people who I have lost,” 2021
  9. The Consumer – Key Takeaways

    • Families aren’t the only ones who have traditions
    • Parents are more enthusiastic about holidays than adults without kids
    • Personal identity takes precedence over cultural background
    • Christmas boasts the most celebratory traditions
  10. Holiday Traditions

    • Half of all adults have traditional family recipes
      • Figure 25: Types of holiday traditions, 2021
    • More than a third of adults have holiday traditions with friends
      • Figure 26: Percentage who have holiday-related traditions with friends, by gender and age, 2021
    • Brand spotlight: Friendsgiving
      • Figure 27: Plans to shop for Friendsgiving, 2021
    • One in five adults celebrates holidays from other cultures
      • Figure 28: Percentage who celebrate holidays from cultures different from their own, by race and Hispanic Origin, 2021
  11. Parents, Kids and Holidays

    • Adults enjoy sharing their childhood traditions with kids
      • Figure 29: Agreement that “I enjoy sharing holiday traditions from my own childhood with the children in my family,” by parental status, 2021
    • Most parents won’t miss a chance to celebrate with others this year
      • Figure 30: Agreement that after the pandemic a chance to celebrate with others should not be missed, by parental status, 2021
    • Moms: holiday heroes
      • Figure 31: Holidays celebrated prior to the pandemic, by parental status, 2021
    • Having kids changes men’s perspective on holiday celebrations
      • Figure 32: Agreement that holiday celebrations mean more to parents than adults without kids, by parental status, 2021
    • Households outgrow some holidays as kids get older
      • Figure 33: Holidays celebrated prior to the pandemic, by age of children in household, 2021
  12. Culture and Identity

    • “Me” before “we”
      • Figure 34: Connection between holidays, personal identity and cultural background, by race and Hispanic origin, 2021
    • Holidays resonate with parents’ sense of personal family identity
      • Figure 35: Connection between holidays, personal identity and cultural background, by parental status, 2021
    • Dads are strongest proponents of attending religious services on holidays
      • Figure 36: Importance of attending services on religious holidays, by parental status, 2021
  13. Celebrating Specific Holidays

    • Not all holidays are celebrated the same way
      • Figure 37: Correspondence Analysis – Principal map – Ways of celebrating, 2021
    • Christmas and Halloween most popular for decorating
      • Figure 38: Ways of celebrating specific holidays, 2021
  14. Plans for 2021 Celebrations

    • The vaccine offers hope for the return of holiday traditions
    • Most adults are ready to spend time with friends and family in person
      • Figure 39: Level of comfort with activities, 2021
    • Social gatherings and parties will stay small this fall
    • Multicultural consumers more reluctant about social gatherings
      • Figure 40: Comfort with attending or hosting a party/gathering, by race and Hispanic origin, 2021
    • Thanksgiving and Christmas are for celebrating with family
      • Figure 41: Family members with whom adults plan to celebrate selected holidays, 2021
    • Halloween is for kids and communities
      • Figure 42: People with whom adults plan to celebrate selected holidays, 2021
  15. Appendix – Data Sources and Abbreviations

    • Data sources
    • Consumer survey data
    • Consumer qualitative research
    • Abbreviations and terms
    • Abbreviations
  16. Appendix – The Consumer

    • TURF analysis methodology
      • Figure 43: Table – TURF Analysis – Holidays celebrated prior to the pandemic, 2021
      • Figure 44: Table – TURF Analysis – 2021 comfort level with selected activities this fall, 2021
    • Correspondence analysis methodology
      • Figure 45: Pre-pandemic celebratory actions, by holiday, 2021

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