Starbucks' Pumpkin Spice Latte Broke A Major Sales Record

Pumpkin spice has inarguably woven its way into the unofficial zeitgeist of fall. When the season rolls around, folks might make an event of playing in the leaves or carving jack-o-lanterns, but on an everyday basis, they're flocking to Starbucks for a PSL. According to Fox News, U.S. consumers spend roughly $500 million on pumpkin spice products. In fact, there's a scientific reason why pumpkin spice is such a beloved flavor. According to psychologist Matt Johnson, it is connected to neurological receptors associated with taste and memory; the flavor literally triggers nostalgic feelings of back-to-school, the fall season, family gatherings, and "wholesome vibes."

This year, whether it's thanks to the flavor's neurological appeal or the new glow-in-the-dark Halloween cups, Starbucks' Pumpkin Spice Latte just broke a major sales record. On August 30, the coffeehouse brought back the beloved PSL for its 19th year (via Starbucks), and it looks like 19-times'-the-charm: the PSL just earned the company its best sales week of all time.

Everybody is pumpkin-spicing it up this season

After Starbucks launched its fall menu, the floodgates opened wider than ever before. Interim CEO Howard Schultz reported, "Our highest, record sales week in our 51-year history was two weeks ago," via Restaurant Business. Moreover, according to retail foot traffic analytics platform, locations nationwide saw in-person visits increase by 25.7% in the week post-launch, compared to a 16.2% increase in 2021.

The fact that this is a particularly lucrative year might seem puzzling at best. But, according to CNN Business, these record sales come despite a 4% price increase from last year. Plus, even though the first official day of fall is September 22 (per Almanac), temperatures haven't budged yet in many parts of the U.S. This September, the average temperature in New York City has been 77°F (via Where and When), and 97°F in California. But, Starbucks' popular drink is now available hot, iced, or blended, so the weather is (clearly) not getting in the way of excited fans.

Plus, for many fans, the Pumpkin Spice Latte is more than a beverage. On August 30, when Starbucks announced the return of the PSL via Instagram, the comments section was filled with celebrations like "Best time of the year" and "I've been waiting for this moment!" Even Target's official Insta account commented, "Did I wake up early this morning just to go grab one? Yes." Time will only tell whether PSL fans retain their fall fervor all season long.