Thankful nation: Average American says ‘thank you’ over 2,200 times a year

NEW YORK — Mom always reminded us to say “please” and “thank you,” and it seems like those lessons have definitely stuck. New research shows that the average American expresses their gratitude more than 2,200 times each year.

The survey of 2,000 American adults over 21 examined the daily habits of people when it comes to practicing thankfulness during the holiday season. The poll found that on an average day, a person says “thank you” six times.

More than half of those surveyed claim that they’ve been saying “thank you” more frequently compared to the previous year, with 57 percent acknowledging this uptick. However, mere words aren’t always sufficient when it comes to expressing gratitude

According to the survey’s respondents, gratitude is best defined as the appreciation they hold for individuals who have made a positive impact on their lives (62%), and the sense of thankfulness they experience for things that affect them on a daily basis (57%). For another 28 percent, gratitude involves taking action to reciprocate kindness and genuine gestures.

Conducted by OnePoll for Josh Cellars, the survey also finds that a majority of those polled aim to practice some form of gratitude on a daily basis (83%). To achieve this, four in 10 even maintain a written “gratitude list,” and an additional 25 percent express their gratitude verbally.

Apart from their families, Americans predominantly feel grateful toward their friends (55%) and neighbors (51%). Perhaps more surprisingly, those polled are feeling the love even for their bosses, with 50 percent saying they’re showing gratitude for their supervisors this year. Other surprising people Americans are expressing gratitude for include their hairstylists (41%) and service workers (28%). 

The reasons for this gratitude? They vary greatly, but Americans are inspired to express their appreciation for folks “making a difference in the community” or being “supportive,” “helping in times of hardship,” and often just the ability to “relate to their experiences.”

Compared to the previous year, 55 percent of respondents believe they have more to be thankful for this year, such as their homes (63%), good health (54%), their pets (51%), favorite food or drinks (45%), and their jobs (43%).

brown wooden board
Thankful (Photo by Pro Church Media on Unsplash)

The survey also highlights gratitude in relation to the upcoming holiday season. Results show that 77 percent of respondents felt more grateful during the holidays than at any other time of the year, with three in four expressing their gratitude more often as well.

During this time, 76 percent of those surveyed felt more connected to their loved ones, and 46 percent noticed that others expressed their gratitude more, too.

To show their appreciation for those they are thankful for during this season, people polled chose to give personalized gifts (53%). Others choose instead to engage in heartfelt conversations (53%) or leave video or voice messages (47%). Some even went the extra mile by performing specific acts of kindness, such as taking out the neighbors’ trash, lending money to a friend, preparing dinner for their partners, or helping friends get to the airport before a vacation.

“I started Josh Cellars in honor of my dad, Josh, as an expression of my gratitude for all he did for me over the years,” says spokesperson brand founder, Joseph Carr, in a statement. “I think it’s important for people to make time to reflect on who and what they are thankful for and find ways to demonstrate their appreciation in a meaningful way, especially during the holidays.”

The study also shows that a significant majority (81%)  continue to feel grateful even after the holiday season has ended. These feelings are not confined to a specific time of year, as 53% say they also experience gratitude on their loved ones’ birthdays, 52 percent on Mother’s Day, and 48 percent on Father’s Day.

While many try to keep gratitude in mind regularly, 73 percent admit that the busyness of life often makes it challenging to remember to be thankful for the things in their lives.

Nevertheless, nearly two-thirds of respondents plan to reflect on 2023 at the year’s end to take stock of all that has transpired (64%). An impressive four in five have set a goal to make gratitude a regular practice in 2024, even in the midst of their busy lives.

Survey methodology:

This random double-opt-in survey of 2,000 Americans 21+ was commissioned by Josh Cellars between October 13 and October 17, 2023. It was conducted by market research company OnePoll, whose team members are members of the Market Research Society and have corporate membership to the American Association for Public Opinion Research (AAPOR) and the European Society for Opinion and Marketing Research (ESOMAR).

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