Although the release of the Starbucks Pumpkin Spice Latte is now considered a major signifier of the return of autumn, this year Starbucks brought the popular seasonal drink back earlier than they ever have in the past.
“The Pumpkin Spice Latte is a beverage that Starbucks customers wait for with anticipation all year, so we were excited to give our fans the opportunity to get their fall fix a little earlier,” a Starbucks representative told NRN.
But was the Aug. 27 release date — before Labor Day — of the iconic PSL to Starbucks’ advantage? According to traffic data from Placer.ai, a technology company that uses smartphone tracking data to produce data analytics, the foot traffic on the Tuesday launch date actually saw some of the lowest foot traffic during the month of August for Starbucks.
The positive effects from launching the Pumpkin Spice Latte earlier than ever were not actually seen until the following weekend. According to Placer.ai, Starbucks usually sees its strongest traffic numbers on the weekends, and the weekend following the early release of the Pumpkin Spice Latte last month was the strongest for the month of August.
“The big takeaway seems to be that it isn't better than other dates, it's just an opportunity to extend Starbucks' period of strength,” a representative from Placer.ai said. “The summer isn't the ideal time for a hot drink, but by introducing the PSL earlier and earlier they are just enhancing their ability to drive interest. It is yet another example of the company's unique ability to own the calendar.”