Super Bowl Sunday still expected to rake in the strong snack sales despite coronavirus restrictions

By Gill Hyslop contact

- Last updated on GMT

Snack brands can still capitalise on soaring sales in the lead up to America's most treasured 'non-holiday'. Pic: GettyImages/jemastock
Snack brands can still capitalise on soaring sales in the lead up to America's most treasured 'non-holiday'. Pic: GettyImages/jemastock

Related tags: Super bowl, Iri, coronavirus

Although coronavirus has changed the daily lives of Americans, it certainly will not hamper them from tuning in to watch this year’s Super Bowl Sunday armed with their favourite snacks.

According to a recent study from IRI, more than half of the nation is planning to watch the NFL’s centerpiece event on Sunday 7 February, with more viewers – 78% compared to 71% last year – planning to spend money on treats to make it a special event.

Viewing parties will certainly differ from last year, when four in 10 watched with immediate family and nearly 20% watched in a social crowd. This year, nearly half of fans say they will tune into the big game alone or with immediate family, while only 17% are expecting to share the occasion with people from outside their household.

However, ‘the odds are still in CPG favour’ and IRI forecasts the two weeks leading up to Super Bowl Sunday will rake upwards of $10 billion in key category sales.

Bringing the party home

IRI’s report says consumers believe their average spend will ‘modestly’ increase for 2021’s Super Bowl, up $1.50 from last year’s event to be around $41.50. The Big Game is a big deal among younger Millennials (18-30 year-olds) and Gen Xs (40-55 year-olds), with these age groups anticipating to spend more than $50 on snacks.

A strong proportion of consumers expect to buy many of the same brands they do so throughout the year, but many say they’ll purchase brands they normally ‘don’t buy to bring more of a party home’. A quarter of IRI respondents say they will be relying on prepared or delivered meals.

Consumers spend nearly $20B in total edible categories and $10B in key “watch party” categories during the two-week period leading up to game day.

It goes without say the food integral to Super Bowl celebrations are savoury snacks, with 43% of respondents noting they will chow down on the goodies they typically have at home, while 39% will buy in extra snacks. 26% plan to order in and 24% expect to make a special dinner.

Super Bowl Sunday promises to solidify Americans’ love for chicken wings, with The National Chicken Council forecasting over 1.42 billion winglets will be consumed while watching the NFL’s signature event. (Fun fact: This means over 350 million wings will be consumed each hour during the four-hour telecast – enough wings to circle the earth three times.)

Tailor your approach

The snacking landscape may look and feel different this year, but IRI believes brands can still capitalise on this treasured ‘non-holiday’ – along with the other holidays in 2021 – by adapting their messages and offerings to tailor them to smaller gatherings.

“Throughout the pandemic, we’ve seen consumers change their approach to holidays and celebratory occasions. Brands and retailers have an opportunity to support smaller gatherings and solidify new traditions.

“Super Bowl advertising is always a big draw for viewers of the Big Game. Monitor consumer implications of awareness, imagery, consideration and purchases to capitalise on potential new buyers and further solidify your current franchise. As a strong share of shoppers will buy brands they do not purchase regularly, manufacturers have an opportunity to build stronger bonds with consumers who may add their brands to their regular purchasing.”

It added, “Leverage learning from Super Bowl celebrations, as retailers and manufacturers prepare for March Madness, the NCAA’s signature event, to help consumers enjoy the return of college basketball’s biggest showcase.”

Related topics: Retail & Shopper Insights, Seasonal