While it's easy to get distracted by the Big Money of Super Bowl, like the $5 million cost to run an ad or the $160 million or so in Las Vegas betting, the real money can be measured out in chicken wings and potato chips.
The National Retail Federation says Americans plan to spend $14.8 billion, about $81.30 per person, as they settle into the big game. That’s down from $15.3 billion last year, primarily because fewer people say they plan to watch. (The NRF survey finds 72% plan to tune in, down from last year’s 76%.)
About 24%, or 61 million, say they plan to attend a Super Bowl party, while another 17%, or 44 million, expect to host. About 5% are likely to watch from a bar or restaurant.
The survey, conducted for the NRF by Prosper Insights & Analytics, is based on a sample of 7,300 adults.
Of those planning to tune in, 79% plan to buy food and drinks for the event; 10%, apparel and other accessories; 7%, home decorations. And 7% plan to buy new TVs, while 4% will even purchase furniture.
Those between 35 and 44 are likely to be the biggest spenders, averaging $123.26. Viewers in the Northeast (where the New England Patriots are based) say they’ll spend the most, at an average $94.89, followed by the West, where people will likely cheer on the Los Angeles Rams, at $84.01.
And while the game itself is the most important part of the evening to 43% of the NRF survey, 23% say it’s all about the commercials, 14% just enjoy the excuse to get together with friends and 13% are in it for the halftime show. And about 7% admit the main appeal is food.
But what kind of food appeals most is changing, reports Nielsen, in a new Super Bowl analysis. That report says evolving tastes, a preference for digital convenience and the increase in the number of female fans are changing America’s Super Bowl spreads.
Sales of hard seltzer and wine are up sharply, for example, as are fresher versions of old favorites. Digital sales of wings are gaining fast, up 45% to $11 million last year, from $7 million in 2017.
Regional variations are also becoming more pronounced, reports Cardlytics, a purchase intelligence platform. Comparing the food preferences of the two cities where the teams are based : In Boston, pizza sales jumped in the week leading up to the game, rising 187% over the usual spending level. Meanwhile, in Los Angeles, tacos were the big gainers, with sales climbing 37%.
Last year’s game drew just 103.4 million viewers, Nielsen reports, the smallest audience since 2009. And while it’s hard to predict viewership, ratings for regular season NFL games gained 5% this season.