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Some 158 million people will watch the Super Bowl on Feb. 3 and spend a total of $9.5 billion on Super Bowl-related merchandise – an average of $59.90 per person, up from last year’s $56.04 – according to the Retail Advertising and Marketing Association‘s 2008 Super Bowl Consumer Intentions and Actions Survey.

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Some 70.0% of consumers said they plan to watch the Super Bowl, relatively unchanged from the 69.7% who watched it last year.

While most viewers say the game itself is still the most important part of the Super Bowl (46.7%), 41.5 million consumers (36.3%) will tune in because of the commercials.

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Regarding Super Bowl ads:

  • Most viewers said they consider the ads entertainment (75.7%).
  • A small percentage thinks the ads make the game last too long (11.1%) or are bothersome (4.3%).
  • Almost one in five (18.0%) Super Bowl viewers wish that companies would just save the ad money and pass the savings along to shoppers.
  • Those 18-24 years old are twice as likely as other groups to say Super Bowl advertisements encourage them to buy products from the advertisers (12.6% vs. 6.1% average).

Of those who will be watching the game, 67.4% will be purchasing food and beverages and 6.0% will buy team apparel and accessories. Also, sales on televisions and furniture will increase significantly over last year in anticipation of football’s biggest day, according to the survey:

  • Viewers plan to purchase 3.9 million TV sets for Super Bowl Sunday, up more than 50% from 2.5 million last year.
  • Viewers plan to purchase 1.8 million pieces of furniture, up from 1.3 million last year.
  • Young adults 18-24 will be outspending other consumers as one in ten (9.8%) of these viewers plans to purchase a television and one in twenty (4.9%) will buy new furniture.

“Smart shoppers hold off on major purchases like televisions and entertainment centers until retailers are offering special discounts and promotions,” said RAMA Executive Director Mike Gatti. “After a lackluster holiday season, retailers will be courting consumers with their very best deals on electronics, furniture, and even food in anticipation of the Super Bowl.”

out the study: The Retail Advertising and Marketing Association’s 2008 Super Bowl Consumer Intentions and Actions Survey (pdf) was designed to gauge consumer behavior and shopping trends related to the Super Bowl. The survey was conducted for RAMA by BIGresearch. The poll of 8,447 consumers was conducted from January 2-8, 2008. The Retail Advertising & Marketing Association is a division of the National Retail Federation.

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