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Starbucks Pumpkin Drinks Smash Company Records

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Pumpkin spice season is upon us — and it seems even the doubters are collapsing.


Christina Tkacik/Baltimore Sun/Tribune News Service via Getty Images

Christina Tkacik/Baltimore Sun/Tribune News Service via Getty Images

New data shows that two of the largest coffee chains in the country, Starbucks and Dunkin Donuts, are seeing huge increases in both sales and foot traffic — and it’s directly correlated with the start of the pumpkin spice season.

Starbucks dropped its fall drink menu in the US on August 30, which includes cult-favorite Pumpkin Spice Latte. Rolling out, the once struggling chain saw its best week in sales – ever – in more than five decades.

According to RestaurantsStarbucks interim and former active CEO Howard Schultz told investors that the company’s “highest record sales week” was the same week its pumpkin drinks rolled out.

Schultz has not yet indicated which number it was about at the time.

In addition, foot traffic increased an estimated 25.7% in a one-year period, an impressive feat given that Starbucks has doubled its investment in drive-thru and delivery initiatives to keep up with consumer demand.

The PSL, which has been in existence since 2003, increased in price this year by about 4%, which makes the demand for the product even more shocking as devoted fans don’t shy away from their love for pumpkin.

Starbucks also introduced the Pumpkin Cream Cold Brew alongside the PSL in 2019, the same year the company estimated that to date, more than 424 million PSLs have been sold in the US.

Rival chain Dunkin Donuts also saw a 9.5% increase in foot traffic the same week it debuted its fall 2022 offering on Aug. 17, which includes its own version of a PSL, Pumpkin Cream Cold Brew, and a new Nutty Pumpkin Coffee.

Whether you’re a coffee fan or not, the pumpkin-flavored trend doesn’t seem to be going away anytime soon, with merchants selling everything from pumpkin-flavored pasta sauce to Cheerios and even beer.

Most recent data from 2019 shows that that year, the pumpkin spice industry took in $511 million, and it’s estimated to have only grown since then.

Starbucks was down just over 19% yoy as of Wednesday afternoon.


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