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Game On: How Consumers Plan on Getting Their Kicks for Super Bowl XLIX
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Game On: How Consumers Plan on Getting Their Kicks for Super Bowl XLIX

For many Americans, Super Bowl Sunday is more than just a football game. It’s a yearly tradition where friends and family gather, eat deliciously indulgent snacks and catch some of the most unique advertisements to grace the small screen.

For the past few years, Nielsen has polled consumers to better understand their game watching and purchasing behavior around this national event.

This year, our plans around the Super Bowl are getting bigger and better. Nielsen found nearly one-third (27%) of respondents plan to spend more on 2015’s big game—that’s up 9% from last year.

HOW WE’LL WATCH

For Super Bowl XLIX, most fans say they will be watching the big game at home (56%), 15% say they will watch at a friend or family member’s house and 5% will watch from a bar or restaurant. Of course, that doesn’t mean fans won’t also be socializing about the game with friends on their smart phones or on social media. In fact, 35% of respondents said they planned to use their smart phone to access additional information about the game. And this year, only 33% of us will NOT use social media to comment about the game, compared with 47% last year.

The ads are as much of an event as the half time show and the game itself. The poll noted that 65% of us will be keeping our eyes peeled for the commercials, and nearly 50% of us will use social media to comment specifically on those commercials during the game itself. Additionally, 65% of those polled say they really enjoy funny ads while 30% note that they really like to break out the tissues for the sentimental ones. Hopefully, regardless of who you are rooting for this year, the tears will only flow during those poignant commercials.

WHAT WE’LL EAT AND DRINK

A party is not a party, apparently, unless pizza is involved. Among the respondents, 46% of them said they planned to serve or eat it during the game. Salty snacks and dips came in as the second and third most popular snacks with 41% and 40% of respondents, respectively. Seafood and healthy snacks aren’t popular 2015 Super Bowl menu choices, and pasta remained the least favored food to serve or eat during the game for the second year in a row.

This year’s top snacks are a relative abrupt about face for consumers. In 2013, vegetables (36%) and fruit (27%) made the top 10 snack items for the game, and in 2014, healthy options, such as nuts and vegetables, outranked some of the more popular Super Bowl staples, like chicken wings.

Perhaps not surprisingly, beer is the most popular drink during the Super Bowl, followed by soda. Bottled or sparkling water remained in third place, with the number of respondents saying they would drink or serve it holding steady at 30%, like last year.

TOP FOOD CHOICES – RANKED BY PREFERENCE

 
2014 2015
Salty snacks Pizza
Dips Salty snacks
Pizza Dips
Buffalo wings Appetizers/finger foods
Appetizers/finger foods Buffalo wings
Cheese and crackers tray Nachos
Nachos Cheese and crackers tray
Nuts Hamburgers/hot dogs
Vegetables Sandwiches/deli tray
Sweets/desserts/candy Vegetables
Sandwiches/deli tray Meat (BBQ, grilled roasted)
Meat (barbecued/grilled/roasted) Sweets/desserts/candy
Fresh fruit/fruit salad Nuts
Meatballs/sausages Fresh fruit/fruit salad
Hamburgers/hot dogs Meatballs/sausages
Chili/soup Chili/soup
Seafood Healthy snacks (granola, trail mix, etc.)
Healthy snacks (granola, trail mix, etc.) Seafood
Pasta Pasta
Source: Nielsen

METHODOLOGY

In an English-language online survey from Jan. 8-22, 2015, 1,128 adults were polled. The 2014 survey was an English-language phone survey of 568 adults.