- Visits to Starbucks and Dunkin’ have increased since the respective seasonal launches of their fall beverage menus, a Placer.ai report finds. Starbucks’ traffic rose nearly 26% in the week following its fall menu launch, while Dunkin’s visits jumped 9.5%.
- Fall menu traffic bumps at these brands have increased each year, indicating that the popularity of these specialty products is growing.
- During Starbucks’ investor day last week, CEO Howard Schultz said the coffee chain recorded its best sales week in its 51-year history after it introduced its fall drink lineup.
These spikes in diner demand come despite price increases this year, with a grande-sized Starbucks Pumpkin Spice Latte priced 4% higher than last year. Starbucks’ fall menu launch in 2022 helped close a negative 8.4% year-over-three-year visit decline seen in the week prior to the rollout, Placer.ai’s data shows.
This suggests that consumer interest hasn’t waned amid a market increasingly saturated with pumpkin spice-flavored offerings. It may actually be working in the favor of legacy brands, as indicated by recent traffic and sales patterns.
According to Kearny research, 66% of consumers experience positive overall feelings toward pumpkin spice, while 60% consider pumpkin spice to be “highly influential” toward their purchasing decisions.
This affinity has led to earlier and earlier release dates for fall-inspired products among major brands. Krispy Kreme launched its fall drink menu on Aug. 8, for instance, while Dunkin’ followed on Aug. 10 with its seasonal lineup.
Starbucks, however, moved its PSL launch back a few days this year to Aug. 30, but the move didn’t deter sales. The chain also continues to translate its fall menu success to several menu items, such as its Pumpkin Cream Cheese Muffin, and has brought its Pumpkin Cream Cold Brew back for a fourth year. The latter move is likely helping Starbucks’ fall performance, as cold beverages now make up about 75% of the chain’s sales. Starbucks has also added more retail items for the fall, including canned Nitro Cold Brew Pumpkin Cream.
Perhaps because of Starbucks’ consistent success with PSL throughout the past 19 years, similar retail innovations — ranging from pumpkin spice-flavored Goldfish crackers and Oreos to Chapstick and deodorant — seem to be increasing. According to Nielsen, pumpkin-flavored grocery products generated $511 million in sales in 2019.