‘Tis the season – for Starbucks holiday cups. In early November, Starbucks announced the release of four new holiday cups to accompany its holiday-themed drinks, continuing a 25-year tradition that began in 1997. How are people responding and who is interested in getting their hands on these decorative cups this holiday season?

According to the latest CivicScience data, 20% of U.S. adults are interested in heading to a Starbucks this season for this year’s holiday cup collection. People who purchase from Starbucks with some degree of regularity express much greater interest – 46% say they’re likely to purchase the cups. Among Starbucks drinkers, those who most often purchase from a standalone Starbucks location are the most likely to be interested in going for the new holiday-themed cups.

Sure, Starbucks might not be everybody’s cup of coffee, but even so, 5% of those who say they rarely or never purchase from Starbucks report they’re at least ‘somewhat likely’ to stop into a Starbucks for a holiday cup.

While favorability for Starbucks coffee was showing signs of a continued downward trend in March, coffee drinkers still prefer its holiday-themed beverages over any of the rival chains. Starbucks’ grasp of the most favored holiday beverages has slipped however since 2020 as Dunkin’ has made gains.

Despite how particular coffee drinkers can be about their favorite cup of joe, some of those who prefer holiday beverages from some of Starbucks’ biggest rivals are also thinking about grabbing a Starbucks holiday cup of their own.  

Among Starbucks’ top competitors, fans of Dunkin’s holiday beverages represent the most significant percentage (10%) who feel it’s ‘very likely’ they’ll be going to Starbucks this year for a holiday cup. 

Gauging overall interest in Starbucks holiday cups, fans of Peet’s holiday beverage lead the way, as 41% are at least ‘somewhat likely’ to make the trek to Starbucks for the holiday cup. 

While Starbucks has some headway with Dunkin’ fans, it’s a different story for Mcdonald’s/McCafe beverage supporters. Data show an overwhelming majority of McDonald’s/McCafe drink lovers (82%) are unlikely to be interested in going for a Starbucks holiday cup this season at all. 

Other insights from the data:

  • Gen Z adults are the driving force for interest in Starbucks holiday cups among age groups, while 87% of those 55+ years old are not at all likely to be visiting a Starbucks for a holiday cup. 
  • Roughly one-quarter of women (24%) are interested in a Starbucks holiday cup, compared to 16% of men

But the holiday cup season hasn’t been all holiday cheer for Starbucks. Along with releasing holiday cups, Starbucks also runs a special free reusable red cup giveaway each year with the purchase of a holiday beverage. Red Cup Day is typically the busiest day of the year for Starbucks. This year, however, Starbucks workers at over 100 stores went on strike during Red Cup Day amid nationwide unionization efforts. Something recent data show could potentially have a consumer impact.

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