Holiday Kickoff: Swarm Insight on Thanksgiving and Black Friday

U.S. Grocery stores will be packed this week as shoppers rush to pick up items for Thanksgiving. The traditional meal typically includes a big turkey, stuffing, cranberry sauce and mashed potatoes. According to an annual survey by the American Farm Bureau Federation, the average cost for a home-cooked Thanksgiving Day dinner for 10 is just under $50.

Beyond the meal, Thanksgiving means a lot to Americans for a variety of reasons. Researchers at Unanimous A.I. looking for insight into their motivations posed questions to a Swarm Intelligence. The researchers leveraged UNU, a social platform for swarming, to bring people 30 randomly selected Americans from around the US, working together as a real-time system. As a Swarm, the group’s brainpower is amplified for greater intelligence through their knowledge and insights. (For more information about the science behind Swarm Intelligence, you can read a published scientific paper here.)

Best traditional Thanksgiving dinner fare?

best tg food

No surprise, turkey was the consensus favorite Thanksgiving item. But looking more closely, researchers found a deeper insight. A faction analysis of this swarm shows that while lovers of pumpkin pie, mashed potatoes and cranberry sauce were willing to switch allegiances, stuffing lovers remained entrenched. Almost none of them budged, even as the rest of the group converged on turkey. The lesson? Go all out on stuffing! If you’re preparing the Thanksgiving feast, that is one item where you’ll get outsize returns on kudos from your guests, so start looking for your favorite recipe now.

turkey chart

Best alternative to traditional Thanksgiving dinner?
alt thanksgiving

For those not in the mood for cooking or the stress of meal preparation, letting the staff do all the work at your local steakhouse rose to the top as an alternative.

Best thing about Thanksgiving?
best thanksgiving

Overall the Swarm said the best thing about Thanksgiving is officially kicking off the holiday season. But as the swarm initially gave this thought, it started off with almost similar support for time with family, giving thanks, watching football, the festive meal and shopping. Ultimately the majority of the swarm concluded it really is about kicking off the holidays. And, you can’t get around that fact and there are signs everywhere that the holiday season is upon us.

best thanksgiving chart


Walk into almost any store and the holiday decorations are in place. Most likely you’re already getting holiday sale ads in the mail, and commercials on television are offering enticing gift ideas on what to buy your loved ones. And, if Thanksgiving is the official start to the holiday season, that can only mean one thing—Black Friday and shopping.

The day after Thanksgiving, and into the weekend following, are traditionally the busiest shopping days of the year with more than 137-million people expected to make purchases, according the National Retail Federation. Consumers say they’ll spend just over $935 on holiday gifts. Swarm Intelligence provides some insight on those shopping habits to see if individuals actually do plan to get out and spend, and where that spending might take place.

Will you go out Black Friday shopping?
BF shopping

Where to shop on Black Friday?
BF where

What to buy on Black Friday this year? (8)

Although the Swarm indicated that shopping is indeed part of their plans for Black Friday, they would also rather do their shopping online versus braving the crowds at a retail location. The Swarm plans to shop online via Amazon, not at the big box stores. Overall, according to the National Retail Federation, online shopping this holiday season will account for $117 billion in spending—up between 7 and 10 percent over last year.

The best news? The Swarm believes you’ll be happy if you’re on the receiving end of Black Friday. The majority of purchases will be for holiday gifts….

As the start of the holiday season gets underway, UNU will continue to seek topics of interest for a Swarm Intelligence to provide insights. If you’ve got a topic for us, drop us a line below.

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