MarTech » Data » Pumpkin Spice Latte and the Mystery of Missing Consumer Conversations
Pumpkin Spice Latte (PSL) is a marketer’s dream come true. Launched by Starbucks in 2003, it has become a cultural icon, created a new segment of consumer products, and, oh yes, generated about $2,000,000,000 in sales for the company. It also provides an important lesson for analyzing data you don’t see.
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Of course, other coffee Sellers also make their own versions. You can now buy pumpkin spice from big chains like Dunkin Donuts and 7-Eleven to a nearby coffee shop. Last year, despite the pandemic, Starbucks’ weekly sales rose 10% year over year after adding PSL to the menu on Aug. 27. Duncan, which typically grows 3 percent, grew just 1 percent last year.
Pumpkin Spice Products.
In 2019, consumers spent approximately $600 million on pumpkin spice products in the U.S. alone, according to Forbes. This year’s harvest includes Martha Stewart’s Pumpkin Spice CBD Gummies, Glade Spray Pumpkin Spice Things Up, Original Pumpkin Spice Latte Deodorant, Pringles, Cedar Hummus and Pumpkin Spice Nissin Cup Noodles.
What does this have to do with martech. Pumpkin spice is epidemic-proof, according to Christopher Payne, co-founder and chief data strategist at marketing data and analytics provider Trust Insights. In October 2020 — the peak of the blockade — search interest in it was higher than the year before, he blogged.
He looked at this year’s data to see which phrases had the biggest year-over-year increases. “Dunkin Pumpkin Cream Cold Brew” topped the list, followed by: “pumpkin spice latte squishmallow”. Perhaps even more surprising is that it has been No. 1 for the first four years.
“For those unfamiliar (we had to look it up) squishmallows is a stuffed animal filled with memory foam, giving it a different texture and weight,” he wrote. “It’s especially noteworthy that this item is completely sold out at retailers. This brings us to a second interesting phenomenon that deserves further study.”
Then he used the Talkwalker monitoring service and found that the same phrase social media channels hardly existed in public. How can it be so popular and unpopular?
“The answer is that discussions about products take place elsewhere, in non-public spaces,” he wrote. He found that discussions take place on Discord servers, where the fan community informs each other when and where squishmallow can be obtained.
Why do we care.