Canadian Pizza Magazine

Seasonal limited-time offers motivate customers to buy: report

By Canadian Pizza   


Seasonal limited-time offers such as the Pumpkin Spice Latte tap into a loyal base of buyers, suggests a news report by research company NPD Group.

A recent foodservice market research report by The NPD Group examines restaurant limited-time offers and finds that repeated offers, like seasonal offers, tap into a base of loyal buyers. Tradition and urgency are the factors that motivate customers, the report suggests.

An example is Starbucks’ Pumpkin Spice Latte limited-time offer, which debuted in August 2014 and will be available this year starting on Aug. 27. About one-quarter of buyers who bought a PSL at Starbucks in 2018 had purchased the coffee drink in 2017 and 32 per cent of buyers in 2017 had bought the drink in 2016, according to the NPD report.

The NPD report, entited “The Role of the Limited Time Offer: How LTOs Can Be Used to Affect Consumer Behavior,” is based on data from the company’s receipt-harvesting service, Checkout.


When a seasonal deal is first offered, the report says, it garners broad consumer interest because it’s new and then over time it plateaus to include the loyalist buyers while still attracting some new buyers. Seasonal LTO buyers typically visit more and are more valuable customers to the chain overall.

“Limited-time offers continue to be an integral element of a restaurant chain’s and foodservice manufacturer’s marketing mix,” says David Portalatin, NPD food industry advisor and author of Eating Patterns in America. “A well-executed limited-time offer can boost sales and serve as a competitive edge for restaurant operators and help foodservice manufacturers test new products and concepts.”

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