A limited edition Stanley stainless steel tumbler has caused mayhem at Target stores across the U.S., as buyers rush to get the cups.
Released Dec. 31 as part of Target’s “Galentine’s Collection,” the Cosmo Pink and Target Red tumblers quickly sold out online and in stores. The demand is high—a recent video showing a crowd of people rushing to get the cups off a display shelf at Target went viral on TikTok. The video has been watched more than 20 million times, and the hashtag #StanleyTumbler has accumulated over one billion views.
This cup is not to be confused with Stanley's Starbucks collaboration cup, sold in the Winter Pink color and also causing a frenzy at Target stores. PEOPLE reports that Starbucks will not be restocking the collaboration cups, which has sold out at some locations.
The Stanley brand has been around for over 100 years and the steel vacuum-insulated water bottles found success on TikTok, seeing a $676 million increase in revenue from 2019 to 2023, according to CNBC. The 40-oz Quencher tumblers, subject of the current craze, range in price from $45 to $55.
The videos have captured the attention of a confused audience. “Am I missing something?” one person asked in the comments section. “Is it everyone’s goal to collect as [many] colors as you can or? What happens with the other cups you have? Do they just retire every time you get a new cup?”
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Stanley’s 40-oz Quencher tumblers have existed since 2016 and were not immediate standouts. The brand was more known for its staple product: the classic green water bottle. The company released a redesigned Quencher bottle with different colors in 2022. A representative for Stanley told Today.com, “In 2022, there was a 275% increase in sales of the Quencher year over year, and U.S. sales of all sizes of the tumbler were up 751% in the year to date.” Last year, the tumblers took off on TikTok with the rise of #watertok, when creators filmed themselves making flavored water concoctions in their large Stanley cups.
It’s nearly impossible to scroll through the app now without seeing at least one video of a creator displaying their vast collection of water bottles or trying to sell a customized tumbler. There are limited edition bottles, like the Starbucks collab that just dropped, but they’re not the only brand to work with water bottle company. Olay joined forces with Stanley to drop a limited edition of “Blue Adventure” Quenchers and singer Lainey Wilson also collaborated with the brand.
VICE reported seeing a $29,000 Stanley cup on the re-sell website StockX, which doesn’t seem to be available anymore, but there are plenty of listings for hundreds of dollars.
In November, Stanley gained attention after a woman posted a video showing that her Stanley cup survived her car catching on fire—and still had ice in it. The video racked up over 92 million views and the company’s president even offered to gift her a new car.
While the high demand for the cups suggests the Stanley fervor will not die down, Business Insider reports their popularity may be hitting capacity. The cups are “on their way out. This is peak, Stanley. There’s no up from here,” youth consumer trends analyst Casey Lewis told the publication. Part of the reason, according to Lewis, is the Stanley’s unusual trend pattern: the tumblers began as a favorite among primarily millennial women before becoming popular with Gen Z. “Most trends start with cool youth, and then once they trickle down (to younger kids) and up (to adults), the cool youth move on,” she said.
But #watertok will flow on. A new water bottle brand, Owala, is already making its way into the mainstream. The Stanley cup may have replaced the popularity of Hydroflask water bottles (even though some of us will never let go of ours). But everything has an end.
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Write to Moises Mendez II at email@example.com