Starbucks earned the wrath of autumn purists by putting its trademark fall beverage, the Pumpkin Spice Latte, on sale before Labor Day. You know, when it was still summer, the season of rosé and tankinis and pool parties, not pumpkin-spiced malarkey.
Despite people (me) decrying the move as tackier than wearing white after Labor Day, those early PSLs appear to be paying off. According to Nielsen research, on the week that ended August 25, products with pumpkin flavorings racked up over $6.9 million in sales, most likely from impatient PSL enthusiasts rolling up to Starbucks in their snorkels and flippers. That’s up nearly 10% in dollars and more than 7% in volume from the same time last year.
Nielsen believes that consumers’ taste for pumpkin-spiced ridiculousness (looking at you, Pumpkin Spice Pringles and Pumpkin Spice Latte-scented deodorant) is on the rise overall, with annual sales of “pumpkin”-flavored products dolled up with sugar and spice and whimsy reaching $488.8 million over the last 52 weeks, an all-time high for the past five years.
Apparently, people aren’t just content to flood their own tastebuds with fake pumpkin flavoring. In some sort of pumpkin-spiced Munchausen by proxy, the sales of pumpkin-flavored dog food grew 123.7% in the last year.