Geographies in Depth

Thanksgiving is a major holiday, but it has nothing on Chinese New Year

Pedestrians walk under red lanterns which was recently installed as Chinese New Year decorations, at Pudong Financial Area in Shanghai, January 24, 2014. According to the Chinese lunar calendar, the Chinese New Year, which welcomes the year of the horse, kicks off on January 31. Picture taken January 24, 2014. REUTERS/Aly Song (CHINA - Tags: ANNIVERSARY BUSINESS SOCIETY) - RTX17TDG

The figures for Chinese New Year are staggering. Image: REUTERS/Aly Song

Joe Myers
Writer, Forum Agenda
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It turns out that Thanksgiving might have nothing on Chinese New Year.

Thanksgiving represents a major holiday in the diary of Americans, not only in the US, but across the globe, and it generates some impressive statistics on spending, trips away from home and TV viewership. But the figures for Chinese New Year are even more staggering.

This is highlighted in the following chart from Statista, which uses Bloomberg data to compare Chinese New Year and Thanksgiving.

1511B67-chinese new year thanksgiving spending tv trips

Source: Statista

The chart emphasizes the numerical differences between the two holidays, with overall higher figures reported in China. While it must be acknowledged that substantial population differences exist between the world’s two largest economies, the figures still highlight the sheer size of Chinese New Year.

Last year, Americans spent around $60 billion across the four-day Thanksgiving weekend. By contrast, the week celebrating Chinese New Year generated nearly $100 billion for Chinese shops and restaurants.

Equally, while 46.3 million Americans made a trip further than 50 miles from their home during the holiday, nearly 3 billion Chinese made a similarly long trip, including 295 million on trains.

Finally, viewership of the Thanksgiving American Football game, one of the nation’s major sporting events, is nearly 22 times lower than the number of people who tune into China’s Spring Festival Gala, a variety show incorporating dance, music and drama.

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Author: Joe Myers is a Digital Content Producer at Formative Content.

Image: Pedestrians walk under red lanterns which was recently installed as Chinese New Year decorations, at Pudong Financial Area in Shanghai, January 24, 2014. REUTERS/Aly Song

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