Richard Levine—Alamy
By Brad Tuttle
February 2, 2016

It costs a whopping $5 million for a 30-second commercial during the Super Bowl this year. Surprisingly, however, consumer survey and sales data indicate that spending big bucks to advertise during the game has limited or no effectiveness in terms of actually nudging viewers into buying the things being advertised.

Yet the Super Bowl overall is extremely effective in getting American consumers to binge on all sorts of other purchases. According to the National Retail Federation, roughly 189 million people will watch the Super Bowl featuring the Denver Broncos against the Carolina Panthers on Feb. 7, and viewers will spend an average of $82.19 on electronics, apparel, and food for the game this year, up from $77.88 in 2015.

Here are the categories of purchases that regularly get an extra big sales bump thanks to the big game.


Getty Images

Pizza Hut says Super Bowl Sunday is its busiest day of the year. For the big day in 2015, the company broke the record for digital sales by halftime. Domino’s, meanwhile, says sales increase 80% on Super Bowl Sunday compared to a normal Sunday. As if that wasn’t enough proof of its popularity during the Super Bowl, pizza was named America’s #1 food choice for the 2015 Super Bowl, with 46% of people in a Nielsen survey saying that they planned to serve or eat it.

NFL Gear

Ryan Dorgan—AP

A National Retail Federation survey estimates that 11% of the people watching the Super Bowl will buy some NFL apparel or merchandise to properly enjoy the game. That translates to a total of 20.9 million new football items purchased. Of those, Denver Broncos quarterback—and sure-to-be Hall of Famer, likely playing in his last NFL game—Peyton Manning will be handsomely represented this year. The sports apparel e-retailer reports that Manning merchandise was up 500% during the week after the Broncos beat the New England Patriots to make it into the Super Bowl.


Richard Levine—Alamy

One of the many Super Bowl factoids circulated every year has it that 325 million gallons of beer are consumed by Americans on Super Bowl Sunday. That’s roughly one gallon for every man, woman, and child in the country. Assuming kids are staying away from the suds (most of them anyway), for this figure to be correct adults would have to drink an average of 1.3 gallons of beer, the equivalent of 14 12-ounce bottles, on Super Bowl Sunday. (Side note: Stay off the roads during and after the Super Bowl broadcast.)

What we’re saying is that the 325-million gallon figure is … most likely overblown nonsense. Nonetheless, by all accounts the Super Bowl generates some of the year’s biggest beer sales. Data from Nielsen indicates that the two-week period prior to the Super Bowl generates sales of nearly 50 million cases of beer nationwide. That’s lower than the sales before Labor Day and Fourth of July, but it’s certainly one of the biggest beer-bingeing periods of the year. Unsurprisingly, another survey confirmed that beer is the most popular beverage during the Super Bowl, followed by soda.


Jim Young—Reuters

As many as 8.6 million new televisions could be sold in the U.S by people upgrading in order to best enjoy the Super Bowl. That’s according to the NRF survey in which 7.7% of Americans said they were planning on buying a new set for the game.

In cities like Charlotte, which have a special interest in this year’s Super Bowl since the local team is competing for the championship, sales are expected to spike way beyond normal. “We expect that our business will probably be up as much as 50 percent over last year’s business, just because of our team and how well they are playing, and getting to the big game out there,” one local electronics merchant told the Charlotte Observer.

And if you were wondering, yes, right now is generally a good time to buy a TV, thanks to the combination of prices on newer-technology models coming down to earth and a wide range of competitive retailer deals.

Chicken Wings

Getty Images—iStockphoto

OK, like the beer consumption figures, this one probably stretches the truth a bit. But according to the National Chicken Council, Americans will eat 1.3 billion chicken wings on Super Bowl Sunday. That’s up 3% from the group’s estimate during the 2015 Super Bowl. If the figure is true, then every man, woman, child, and baby in America would eat an average of four wings on Feb. 7. Good thing each of us also has that gallon of beer to wash it down!

Another, likely related statistic has it that antacid sales at 7-Eleven rise 20% above normal on the day after the Super Bowl.

Chips & Snacks

Getty Images

No big surprise here: Convenience stores and supermarkets ring up huge sales for the Super Bowl: Nearly 8 out of 10 party-goers say they’ll buy food for optimal enjoyment during the game. Salty snacks and dips rank right behind pizza as top categories to nosh during the Super Bowl this year.

Music of Halftime Performers

Katy Perry during the 2015 Super Bowl halftime show.
Lucy Nicholson—Reuters

Katy Perry and Missy Elliott received significant sales bumps after performing during the Super Bowl halftime show a year ago. Perry’s song and album downloads nearly doubled their usual rate on the day after the game, while sales for the ground-breaking rapper Missy Elliott—who apparently many viewers had never heard of prior to the Super Bowl—rose an astounding 996%.

It’s a safe bet that Coldplay and Beyonce, scheduled to perform during this year’s halftime show, are hoping for a repeat of this trend. Last week, they offered viewers a sneak peek of what to expect on Super Bowl Sunday, with the online release of a new song collaboration, “Hymn for the Weekend.” By the Monday before the Super Bowl, the video had already been viewed more than 15 million times on YouTube.



You May Like