Consumers Expected to Spend $11 Billion on the Super Bowl

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The numbers show that, shaky economy or not, Americans are sparing no expense in order to be festive: We collectively dropped $7 billion on Halloween last year, and another $6 billion on Christmas decorations. And the Super Bowl? That’s when we’re really expected to go all out.

According to a National Retail Federation survey, consumer spending related to the Super Bowl will hit an all-time high this year. Spending will average $63.87 per adult viewer, up from $59.33 last year. When totaled up, spending on Super Bowl parties and related merchandise—jerseys, beverages, pigs-in-blankets, and so on—is expected to reach a whopping $11 billion. That’s a lot of pigs in a blanket.

While some viewers pay a lot less than average to watch the game—a six-pack and bag of chips don’t cost much—the numbers edge up thanks to consumers who are willing to pay up to take their Super Bowl partying to the next level. More than 5% of those surveyed, which extrapolates to slightly more than 5 million consumers, will buy a new TV specifically for the game. (For those interested in upgrading to a new TV, SmartMoney offers some advice.)

(VIDEO: Super Bowl XLVI Preview)

Over the years, the Super Bowl has become a monumental day for consumerism, and for many, the fact that the NFL’s two best teams are playing against each other for the title is almost an afterthought. A Harris Interactive survey commissioned by Coupon Cabin reports that while 47% of viewers tune into the Super Bowl because they love football, 37% say they watch primarily for the commercials.

For advertisers, the Super Bowl is a super opportunity to reach customers. In the NRF survey, 73% of viewers say they take in Super Bowl commercials as entertainment, and 8.4% admit that the commercials influence them to buy products being advertised. (Surely, a lot more wind up buying the products being advertised; they just don’t want to admit to being influenced by commercials.)

The Super Bowl has gotten so big that it cannot be contained in a single day, which is why it has evolved into an entire season for advertising, with weeks of ad competitions and commercials periodically leaked online, in the hopes that they go viral.

(MORE: How the Super Bowl Has Morphed into an Entire Season for Advertising)

Of course, everybody hopes for a good game. But while fans want a good game for love of the sport and sheer entertainment value, advertisers keep their fingers crossed for a good game because of the byproduct: A good game will keep viewers tuned in, meaning more eyeballs on the products and brands featured in commercials.

Brad Tuttle is a reporter at TIME. Find him on Twitter at @bradrtuttle. You can also continue the discussion on TIME’s Facebook page and on Twitter at @TIME.

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