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    Most Super Bowl Viewers to Watch at Home, Spend Same on Snacks: Nielsen

    The vast majority of U.S. households — 9 out of 10 — will root for their preferred Super Bowl team in their own homes or those of friends or relatives, rather than at a restaurant or bar, a survey by The Nielsen Company has found.

    The vast majority of U.S. households — 9 out of 10 — will root for their preferred Super Bowl team in their own homes or those of friends or relatives, rather than at a restaurant or bar, a survey by The Nielsen Company has found. Of those home viewers, just 5 percent of households said they anticipated spending more on Big Game food and drinks this year.

    “Staying in is the new ‘night out,’ and we see this trend continue to play out with the Super Bowl,” noted Nick Lake, VP, group client director, Beverage Alcohol at Schaumburg, Ill.-based Nielsen. “Consumers continue to rein in spending, and while this ‘new normal’ provides challenges for restaurant and bar owners, it presents opportunities for consumer packaged goods (CPG) retailers and manufacturers.”

    The survey of over 28,000 U.S. households additionally discovered that 86 percent of Super Bowl viewers plan to spend the same amount or less on food and beverages for the occasion in 2010, with only the aforementioned 5 percent planning to spend more.

    Even though beer and football are big in the United States, Nielsen research showed that Super Bowl, isn’t actually the most popular beer holiday, coming in fifth after the Fourth of July, Memorial Day, Labor Day and Halloween.

    “We see the lowest amount of beer sales during the first quarter of the year leading up to a peak in the summer,” observed Lake. “However, the Super Bowl continues to be a bigger and bigger event where consumers drink billions of servings of beer servings at home. Beer marketers are taking advantage of that opportunity to drive sales during what is typically a slower period for beer purchases.”

    Nielsen’s analysis further found that with the exception of late March, grocery retailers saw the biggest weeks for first-quarter beer sales during the two weeks surrounding Super Bowl 2009, with almost 17 million cases purchased.

    “At-home viewing of the Super Bowl is predominantly more of an opportunity for grocery stores, rather than other CPG retailers,” said Lake. “Today’s consumers want value but also want convenience. While picking up snacks and soda, they’re adding beer to their grocery baskets. In the week leading up to the Super Bowl, look for heavy promotions at grocery stores, encouraging consumers to take advantage of the one-stop-shop for their Super Bowl party needs.”

    Big Game viewers across the nation will offer nearly 166 million pounds of snacks at their at-home gatherings, particularly salty snacks. Potato chips are the most popular nosh, with over 44 million pounds of snacks sold, while tortilla chips and pretzels also rack up huge Super Bowl sales. According to Nielsen, the Super Bowl snack experiencing the greatest growth is popped popcorn.

    Additionally, recession-tempered consumers are sampling private label or store-brand items more than ever before and this trend holds extends to snack items. For instance, during the two weeks surrounding the 2007 Super Bowl, private label snacks held a dollar share of 6.8 and an equivalized share of 10.4, while during the two weeks surrounding the Super Bowl in 2009, this increased to a dollar share of 8.1 and an equivalized share of 12.5. Nielsen noted similar trends in private label crackers, nuts and frozen pizza.

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