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NATIONAL REPORT – The Super Bowl is more than just something to watch on television for many Americans. This year, the 181 million viewers expected to watch Super Bowl XLVIII on Feb. 2 will spend an average of $68.27 each on food, athletic wear, decorations and TVs – roughly on par with last year's $68.54. Total spending is expected to reach $12.3 billion.
According to the National Retail Federation’s (NRF) Super Bowl Spending Survey, conducted by Prosper Insights and Analytics, 77 percent of Americans will purchase food and beverages for the big game; 8.1 percent will purchase team apparel or accessories; and 7.2 percent plan to buy a new television to watch the event.
"As football fans gear up for the most anticipated game of the season, retailers are making sure they have an ample assortment of accessories, décor, athletic apparel items and even new televisions," said Matthew Shay, president and CEO of NRF.
The survey also found that nearly 39 million viewers plan to throw a Super Bowl party and 62 million plan to attend a party, while 10 million intend to enjoy the game from a bar or restaurant.
Young adults are more likely to attend a party than throw a party (38.2 percent vs. 26.7 percent), and those aged 18 to 24 will spend an average of $92.83 on Super Bowl-related celebrations; their slightly older counterparts (aged 25 to 34) will spend the most at $101.51.
At the parties themselves, separate research from Nielsen shows that instead of consuming things like vegetable platters, water and other healthy options, Americans plan to eat more traditional party fare. Salty snacks are the top-ranked item, followed by dips.
Other popular food choices include pizza, which moved from No. 7 last year to No. 3 this year, and buffalo wings, which rose from No. 9 to No. 4. Vegetable trays, meanwhile, dropped from No. 3 to No. 9, and only 8 percent of Americans will eat healthy alternatives to chips, such as granola or trail mix.
Beer remains the Super Bowl beverage of choice, with 53 percent saying they will drink or serve it during the game, followed by carbonated soft drinks (CSDs) at 51 percent. This is a turnaround from last year, when 71 percent said they would drink or serve CSDs vs. 42 percent for beer.
Thanks to an improving economy, Nielsen research also indicates some more Americans (18 percent) intend to spend more on food and beverages this year than last year (9 percent). Additionally, while home is the top location to watch the game (55 percent) 17 percent plan to watch it at a bar, restaurant or friend's house, up from 11 percent last year. And not all of these viewings will be on a TV, as 15 percent say they will also use a smartphone to watch, 14 percent plan to use a personal computer and 11 percent plan to use a tablet.
When it comes to the game-day experience, consumers say the game itself is by far the most important element (47.5 percent). However, about 25 percent say the commercials are most important, with those aged 45 to 54 ranking the commercials highest in importance, according to NRF.
Humorous ads are the most popular, followed by sentimental ads, ads that highlight product features, and ads that were seen in previous Super Bowls. Ads that highlight price benefits are least popular. During the commercials, 53 percent of Americans will comment on them in real-time using social media.