New Study Reveals Staggering Number of Americans Contributing to Holiday Consumerism

Most Believe Stores Should be Closed on Thanksgiving, But Shop
Anyway

WEST CONSHOHOCKEN, Pa.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–A new study has revealed that more than two-thirds of Americans
participate in Thanksgiving consumerism, despite the fact that a
majority of consumers (72%) believe stores should be closed for the
holiday. What will it take to get consumers to practice what they preach
and bring back the “thanks” and “giving” this holiday season?


The
John Templeton Foundation
, a philanthropic organization, released
the results of The Templeton Giving Survey, a look at how the
consumer mindset has taken over the concept of Thanksgiving. The survey
revealed that despite the growing popularity of Giving
Tuesday
, a global day dedicated to giving to kick off the holiday
season, just 18% are familiar with Giving Tuesday while almost all (93%)
are familiar with Black Friday.

“Holiday consumer spending is climbing each year,” said Henry Timms,
founder of Giving Tuesday and executive director of 92nd Street Y, “but
Giving Tuesday allows consumers to focus on the true meaning of
Thanksgiving.”

In addition to charitable habits, the survey asked respondents about the
habit of gratitude. Those who said they think about what they are
grateful for daily (vs. less than daily) on average donate more money
($468 vs. $319). One key finding was that people who think about
gratitude daily are more likely to see themselves as grateful and
generous, as well as happy and content. Sadly, among those celebrating
Thanksgiving, only 36% go around the Thanksgiving table saying what they
are thankful for, but half watch or play football and watch parades on
TV.

“Gratitude can truly transform every aspect of life,” said Janice
Kaplan, author of New York Times bestseller The Gratitude Diaries:
How a Year Looking on the Bright Side Can Transform Your Life.
“The
holiday season is the perfect time to put thankfulness into practice for
the whole family.”

This is the second year of the study, which also reveals interesting
data like which holidays politically affiliated people favor – Democrats
are more likely to prefer Thanksgiving than Republicans, while
Republicans are more likely to prefer Christmas than Democrats. Men
believe they give more than women (44% of males vs. 37% of females say
that they give 5% or more of their annual household income to those in
need). But with 2/3 of Americans saying they would give more if taxes
were reduced, many have the desire to give more of their time and money.

“Like many Americans I think it is important to refocus on gratitude and
generosity during the holidays,” said Heather Templeton Dill, president
of the John Templeton Foundation. “When people approach the season with
an attitude of gratitude, and a spirit of generosity, blessings unfold
for everyone.”

Findings from The Templeton Giving Survey

Thanksgiving traditions can be a barometer for gratitude, generosity
and giving

  • Only 36% of those celebrating Thanksgiving go around the Thanksgiving
    table saying what they are thankful for, but half watch or play
    football and watch parades on TV
  • Generous people (people who donate time or money) have more traditions
    around Thanksgiving than those who do not (3.5 vs. 2.5), including
    spending time with family who live far away or are not seen often (54%
    vs. 45%)

Generosity and gratitude are good for you and society

  • Those who usually express gratitude daily (vs. those who do not) on
    average donate more money ($468 vs. $319)
  • Generous people (people who donate time or money) are more satisfied
    and happy with their life than those who do not (49% vs. 33%)

Giving Tuesday is growing in popularity, but hasn’t caught up to
Black Friday

  • 80% of millennials believe there should be a holiday focused on giving
    back to those in need
  • 93% of people are familiar with Black Friday, but only 18% are
    familiar with Giving Tuesday

Battle of the sexes

  • When asked which gender was more likely to give back in time or money,
    91% of females and 72% of males say women are more generous
  • But 44% of males say they give 5% or more of their annual household
    income to those in need vs. 37% of females
  • Females are more likely to think about what they are grateful for
    daily than are males (61% vs. 48%)

Baby Boomers, Gen Xers, Millennials and giving

  • 41% of those who donate any money, give 5% or more of their annual
    household income to charity annually
  • 55% of Millennials describe themselves as more grateful than the
    average person vs. 48% of Gen X and 45% of Baby Boomers

The politics of Thanksgiving

  • People who identify as Democrats are more likely to choose
    Thanksgiving as their favorite holiday than Republicans. Conversely,
    people who identify as Republicans are more likely to choose Christmas
    as their favorite holiday than Democrats
  • Almost two-thirds of people say they would give more money to charity
    if their taxes were lower (including 75% of millennials)

Religion and giving:

  • People who participate in religious practices donate significantly
    more money ($598 vs. $166) and time (21 hours vs. 7 hours) than those
    who do not

Most charitable celebrity

  • Oprah still reigns: Of celebrities tested, 47% say Oprah
    Winfrey is the most generous/giving celebrity

About The John Templeton Foundation

The John Templeton Foundation is a $3 billion non-profit private
foundation endowed by pioneer investor Sir John Templeton. The
Foundation funds research, public engagement projects, and programs to
advance Sir John’s philanthropic vision. Our funding is allocated across
eight different program areas that include: the discovery of new
spiritual information through science, character virtue development,
individual freedom and free markets, genetics, cognitive genius, and the
Templeton Prize.

The Foundation’s motto, “How little we know, how eager to learn,”
exemplifies our support for infinite discovery through rigorous
scholarship and civil, informed, dialogue and engagement. We help open
new doors of knowledge for everyone, from the tenured professor to the
primary school student, to explore, question, and benefit.

About The Survey

The Templeton Giving Survey is an online survey of 2,014 Americans ages
18+ commissioned by John Templeton Foundation and produced by a global
insights and analytics firm Edelman Berland. The margin of error is ±
2.18%. Data was collected between November 7-10, 2015 by Edelman Berland.

Contacts

Edelman for The John Templeton Foundation
Erin Farkaly, 415-202-3503
Erin.Farkaly@edelman.com
or
The
John Templeton Foundation
Earl Whipple, 610-941-2828
ewhipple@templeton.org