Survey Says: Supermarkets’ Turkey Giveaways Aren’t That Exciting To Younger Shoppers

Getting a free turkey to serve proudly on your Thanksgiving table used to be a source of great excitement for shoppers in the holiday season, and an easy way for supermarkets to attract more customers (who then buy more stuff when they’re in the store). But nowadays there’s a new demographic on the block that everyone’s trying to please, and a free turkey just isn’t going to cut it.

Those all-important millennials aren’t about to be wooed by a marketing gimmick featuring a free fowl, according to a new survey from retail analytics company Precima (h/t Forbes): Only 27% of millennial respondents (folks born anywhere from the early 1980s to the early 2000s) polled said receiving a free turkey was important to them, versus 66% of Generation X shoppers.

But as millennials age, the tradition could appeal to them more as they start to pay to host their own Thanksgiving dinners instead of going home to mom and dad’s for the holiday.

Businesses using free turkeys as a shopping lure near Thanksgiving is a tradition that goes back at least to the 1800s, Forbes notes, giving the example of an 1887 mention in The Cincinnati Enquirer that says that most of the saloons in the city were dangling the bait of a free turkey lunch on the holiday. While you’re there, you might as well order a few non-free drinks to wash that bird down with, of course.

And of course, there’s the “turkey drop” episode of WKRP In Cincinnati from 1978, as noted by Consumerist reader Bob:

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