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Basic or Not, Pumpkin Spice Lattes Are Shattering Records at Starbucks and Are More Popular Than Ever

Starbucks is seeing record numbers upon the release of its beloved fall menu lineup.


Pumpkin spice season is upon us — and it looks like even the doubters are caving in.

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

New data is showing that two of the biggest coffee chains in the country, Starbucks and Dunkin Donuts, are seeing a massive increase in both sales and foot traffic — and it's directly correlated with the beginning of pumpkin spice season.

Starbucks dropped its fall drink menu on August 30 across the U.S., which included the cult-favorite Pumpkin Spice Latte. Upon the rollout, the once-struggling chain saw its best week in sales — ever — in over five decades.

According to Restaurant Business, Starbucks interim and former active CEO Howard Schultz told investors that the company's "highest, record sales week" was the same week that the pumpkin drinks rolled out.

Schultz did not yet specify exactly what the number was at the time.

Furthermore, foot traffic increased an estimated 25.7% in a one-year period, an impressive feat given the fact that Starbucks has been doubling down on investing in drive-thru and delivery initiatives to keep up with consumer demand.

The PSL, which has been around since 2003, increased in price this year by about 4%, making the demand for the product even more shocking as devoted fans are not backing away from their love of pumpkin anytime soon.

Starbucks also introduced the Pumpkin Cream Cold Brew alongside the PSL in 2019, the same year the company estimated that over 424 million PSLs had been sold in the U.S. to date.

Rival chain Dunkin Donuts also saw a 9.5% increase in foot traffic the same week it debuted its 2022 fall offerings on August 17, which include 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 dying down anytime soon, with merchants selling everything from pumpkin-flavored pasta sauce to Cheerios to even beer.

Most recent data from 2019 shows that in that year, the pumpkin spice industry raked in $511 million, and it's only been estimated to grow since.

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

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