Before the New England Patriots and Philadelphia Eagles square off in Super Bowl LII in Minneapolis on Feb. 4, retailers had better ensure they are stocked up on food, beverages, team apparel and TVs. U.S. consumers will spend a total of $15.3 billion on Super Bowl-related retail purchases ahead of the game, according to estimates from the NRF and Prosper Insights & Analytics. This total marks an 8.5% year-over-year increase and is the second-highest estimate on record.
Retailers have to prepare for the Super Bowl differently than a typical holiday or special occasion. While 30% of consumers started shopping at least one week before the game, 69% will complete their purchases just a day or two before, or even the day of, the Super Bowl, according to research from Valassis.
Although the 2017 holiday season has officially concluded, the sales leading up to and including Super Bowl Sunday extend the season for some retailers. While much of the revenue goes to food and beverages (82%), Super Bowl viewers also plan to buy other products, according to NRF, including:
- Team apparel or accessories (11%);
- Televisions (8%); and
- Decorations (8%).
“We note that due to the heavy spend in the consumer electronics sub-segment surrounding the Super Bowl, we do not consider the holiday season to be over yet,” wrote Charlie O’Shea, Lead Retail Analyst at Moody’s in a holiday report. “We still see important days ahead for several large retailers such as Best Buy, Amazon, Walmart, Target and Costco Wholesale.”
Younger Shoppers Spend More, Drive Party Attendance
The positive consumer sentiment that buoyed a strong holiday 2017 season will continue throughout the leadup to the game, according to Deborah Weinswig, Managing Director of FGRT (formerly Fung Global Retail & Technology) in commentary provided to Retail TouchPoints. Younger consumers are expected to drive this spending, and are more likely to participate in Super Bowl-themed activities than their older counterparts.
“On those younger consumers doing the spending, some 25.8% of those aged 18-to-34 plan to throw a party, compared to 18% of all of those planning to watch the Super Bowl,” Weinswig said. “38.3% of those aged 18-to-34 plan to attend a party, versus 27.5% of all Super Bowl viewers. And average expected spend among 18-to-34-year-olds stands at $110, which is 20% higher than the overall average of $92.”
National Event But Local Retailers Benefit
As many as 73% of Super Bowl party hosts expect to spend more than $50 on the event, and local retailers get to reap the benefits, according to Valassis. Up to 43% of consumers will primarily shop through local retailers and grocers (compared to 33% who will do so through chain outlets), and 52% are unwilling to travel more than four miles to make their purchases. Additionally, for those planning to order food, half will do so from restaurants located within just five miles.
With that in mind, retailers and restaurants need to think differently about how best to compete when preparing for the game, according to Curtis Tingle, CMO of Valassis.
“[Thinking in their traditional competitive set] is a very large risk going into this weekend,” Tingle said in an interview with Retail TouchPoints. “They need to expand the competitive set to think all the way across the board, because consumers are going to be ordering in from their local diner or their local restaurant. That’s a different occasion than what the grocers battle on a day-in-day-out basis. They need to think about what’s unique and special about this weekend. It’s not just about the game or the TV commercials, it’s about the party that’s going on around that, and the experience they’re having with their family and friends.”
Social Media Marketers Must Stay ‘On Duty’ Throughout The Game
As an event with different potential outcomes (both during the game itself and surrounding it), the Super Bowl enables retailers to capitalize on marketing opportunities in ways a regular holiday wouldn’t allow. When a power outage occurred during Super Bowl XLVII, Oreo tweeted about the blackout that read “Power Out? No problem.” with a dimly-lit image of an Oreo and the caption, “You can still dunk in the dark.”
“Unlike a typical holiday, the triggers associated with the Super Bowl can’t be predicted,” Portell said. “Think about when the lights went out at the game a few years ago…Oreo had to have an army of marketers ready to react in real time to an event that happened on the field. That’s very different than the Fourth of July where you might have fireworks at the end of the day, but nothing’s happening randomly throughout a four-hour event. Social media people will earn their money this week.”
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