Will Retail Brands Be The Main Loser Of Super Bowl LI?

U.S. consumers are expected to spend $1.4 billion less than they did during Super Bowl 2016, says the NRF. Fung Global analyst Deborah Weinswig offers a play-by-play.

While Super Bowl weekend is generally considered to be a winning period during the otherwise light first quarter of the year, Sunday’s big game is poised to produce weaker sales compared to the same time 2016.

American consumers will spend an average of $75 for a total of $14.1 billion as an estimated 188.5 million watch the Atlanta Falcons face the New England Patriots in Super Bowl LI on February 5, according to the National Retail Federation’s annual Super Bowl Spending Survey (conducted by Prosper Insights & Analytics). Viewership is about the same as last year’s 188.9 million but the spending is down from an average of $82 and a total of $15.5 billion.

That’s down $1.4 billion, notes Deborah Weinswig, executive director and head of Global Retail & Technology at Fung Business Intelligence Centre.

“Not only is planned viewership down slightly year over year, but planned purchases are fractionally lower across most retail categories, too,”Weinswig writes. “Perhaps unsurprisingly, food and beverages are by far the most popular categories to purchase for Super Bowl Sunday: nearly 80 percent of those planning to watch the game will be buying snacks and drinks.”

Some Things Remain The Same

While the difference between expected food and drink purchases for Super Bowl LI is down a mere 0.3 percent from last year, the percentage of people buying a new TV for the big game remains the same as last year: 8 percent. That’s the same number of people who plan to buy decorations for Super Bowl parties.

About 18 percent of all consumers surveyed by the NRF will be hosting game-watching gatherings, while 27 percent of consumers are planning to go to one. About 5 percent will head to restaurants or bars to experience the Super Bowl in a communal atmosphere.

“As a favorite American past-time, the Super Bowl is a great chance for viewers to reconnect with friends and family after having a nice break after the holiday season,” Prosper Principal Analyst Pam Goodfellow said. “Even though the number of viewers is slightly down this year, plenty are still planning to enjoy the day by watching it at their favorite bar or friend’s place, wearing their lucky jerseys and hoping their favorite team wins.”

All in all, the $1.4 billion spending decline will be fairly spread out, so retailers in general won’t feel that much pain. That said, with consumers’ spending choices narrowing in certain areas, that means that retailers who work harder on winning “near me searches” and on aligning themselves with other on-demand brands — consider 2016’s Uber-sponsored Super Bowl promo with Dick’s Sporting Goods and Visa as a prime example — will be the ones that score with consumers’ spending this weekend.

About The Author
David Kaplan David Kaplan @davidakaplan

A New York City-based journalist for over 20 years, David Kaplan is managing editor of A former editor and reporter at AdExchanger, paidContent, Adweek and MediaPost.