While much of the country is still baking in summer heat, the pumpkin-spiced season is already here—at least according to brands such as Starbucks, Dunkin’, Jet-Puffed and countless others that are once again filling grocery stores and online shopping sites with pumpkin creations. Busch beer is even out with a special pumpkin brew for dogs (without the alcohol).
The annual fall craze—which Starbucks helped create 20 years ago with its first Pumpkin Spice Latte—has grown to almost ridiculous proportions: SpotOn, a restaurant software and payments provider, reports that 602 pumpkin items were added to menus of its clients from July 8 to Aug. 7.
The pumpkin onslaught raises the question if consumers might finally be tiring of it all. But several experts say no, indicating that, like it or not, pumpkin season remains a mainstay for brands of all kinds.
“I think that fatigue can happen with any products. It’s just a reality of what we do,” said Brynna Aylward, executive creative director at Gut Toronto, whose accounts include Tim Hortons. “But pumpkin spice lattes have weirdly become kind of a cultural icon of their own. Unlike a lot of products, honestly. They're kind of inextricably linked with fall, whether you love them or you love to hate them.”
Indeed, evidence shows that pumpkin products continue to be money-makers for brands of all kinds.
‘Fatigue is far from settling in’
Jungle Scout, which consults with brands selling on Amazon, found that searches for “Pumpkin Spice” jumped 246% in the 30 days ending Aug. 22 from the prior 30 days. It reported that trending pumpkin spice items include a pumpkin spice graphic T-shirt from apparel retailer Fchich, whose revenue from the T-shirt surged 3,909% from May 24 to Aug. 22. Another hot item is pumpkin spice scented wax cubes from SenSationals, whose revenue jumped 574% in that period, according to Jungle Scout.
Also, keywords such as pumpkin spice syrup and pumpkin spice creamer all saw increased searches on Amazon, according to Jungle Scout.
Pumpkin mainstays are seeing lifts, too. Jill McVicar Nelson, chief marketing officer at Dunkin’, said in a statement to Ad Age that “a glance at our social media accounts the day we heralded the return of pumpkin confirms that fatigue is far from settling in. Our @dunkin Instagram post from Aug.15 was actually our second most shared asset of all time.”