All Favorites
Add this page to favorites

Prepping for The Big Game Party

Walmart Luminate insights reveal how customers are planning to adapt Big Game preparation strategies in light of inflation—choosing home celebrations, digital recipes, and intimate gatherings.

Every year, millions of Americans come together to celebrate the country's most popular sporting event: the NFL's championship game, known affectionately as 'The Big Game.' This unofficial national holiday has become a staple of American culture, with traditions like watch parties, betting pools, and creative commercials that entertain even non-football fans. According to The Athletic, over 115 million people watched the Big Game last year, making it the most-watched program in TV history. 

To gain insight into how consumers are approaching Big Game planning this year, we surveyed over 1,000 Walmart shoppers to understand their plans, priorities, purchasing behavior, and how economic conditions are informing their preparations for gameday. Here’s what we found: 

Staying Home

This year, most football fans are watching the Big Game from the comfort of their own homes or a friend's home instead of going to crowded bars and restaurants. According to the survey, a significant 84% will be watching at home (64%) or visiting a family member or friend (20%). In fact, only 1% of respondents planned to go to a sports bar or restaurant for the game – a significant decrease from 16% during last year's game.

With rising prices affecting nearly all aspects of game day preparations, from food to decorations, it makes sense that fans are choosing budget-friendly home viewings over pricier sports bar outings. Gathering with loved ones in smaller groups allows fans to still enjoy the communal aspects of the event without breaking the bank. 

Saving Money on Big Game Celebrations 

It is clear that inflation weighs heavily on shoppers' minds this time of year. Nearly three-quarters of Walmart shopper respondents (74%) say inflation has had "some" or a "great deal" of impact on their preparations for game day. However, the Big Game is a cherished tradition that they are unwilling to skip, so Walmart shoppers are planning to adapt and adjust their budgets accordingly. 

With budgets tightened, fans are getting creative about how to celebrate the Big Game without breaking the bank. This includes buying different brands to save money, cooking more homemade dishes instead of buying takeout, and planning smaller gatherings or potlucks.

To find inspiration for home-cooked Big Game recipes, 53% will turn to family traditions and recipes passed down to them. Meanwhile, 44% will look to social media sites like Facebook and Instagram as well as video apps like TikTok and Snapchat. Recipe websites like AllRecipes, Epicurious and Tasty are another go-to, with 42% planning to get ideas there. 

Shopping Habits

The survey revealed some interesting insights into how Walmart shoppers approach their shopping for the big game. In many ways, it resembles holiday shopping patterns:

  • Some customers like to plan ahead and begin their game day shopping a few weeks in advance. 12% will start in the first two weeks of January, while 32% will shop in the last two weeks of January. 
  • Others prefer to wait until February before beginning their shopping. 37% said they will start after the calendar flips to the new month.
  • However, many customers still wait until the last minute. 16% said they will do their game day shopping the day before the big game itself. 
  • The majority (59%) of customers are planning to spend less than $100 to prepare for the Big Game while only 41% expect to spend $100 or more. 

Walmart customers plan to use a combination of omni shopping methods to prepare for the big game:

Shopping Lists

When it comes to stocking up for Big Game celebrations, shoppers stick to classic crowd-pleasing staples to build the ultimate game day spread:

  • Salty Snacks - An overwhelming 85% of respondents said salty snacks like potato chips, nuts, trail mix, cheese, crackers, pretzels, popcorn, etc. were on their lists. These classic Big Game foods clearly remain a staple for watch parties. 
  • Meat - Coming in second at 79%, meat like wings, hamburgers, and hot dogs are must-haves for Big Game menus.
  • Carbonated Beverages & Mixers - To wash down all those snacks and wings, 62% of shoppers plan to buy carbonated beverages and mixers like soda, sparkling water, fruit juice, lemonade, and energy drinks.
  • Bread & Buns- You can't have burgers and hot dogs without buns! 60% will pick up bread and buns to go along with the meat they're cooking up. 
  • Produce - Finally, 60% of Big Game shoppers have produce like vegetables, fruits, and potatoes on their lists. 


Amid the unfolding economic pressures, Walmart shoppers are showing their game-day spirit, crafting tactical plays to adjust their Big Game celebrations and make every dollar count. Consequently, for suppliers, the stakes have never been higher to understand shopping patterns and consumer behavior surrounding this annual mega sporting event. 

Ready to score big with your customers? Walmart Luminate provides suppliers and Merchants with rich data and deep insights into customers' behaviors and sentiments so you can keep up with evolving customer needs and continue delivering unmatched value. Discover how the Walmart Luminate suite of products can elevate your strategy. Sign up for a demo to learn more.

Key insights:
  • Big game shopping mirrors holiday shopping trips, demonstrating it's an important cultural event with Walmart as the preferred destination for these meaningful occasions. 
  • Many Walmart customers (84%) are choosing to stay home, plan to buy store brands, make food at home, host smaller groups, and use potlucks to save money. But they aren't skipping the event altogether despite inflationary strain. 
  • Many are starting to shop weeks in advance to spread out costs, while others are waiting until the last minute to see what deals they can find. This shows Walmart shoppers are hunting for bargains and looking to remain within their planned budget.
  • Customers have long shopping lists, with the top 5 categories being: Salty snacks, meat, carbonated beverages & mixers, bread and buns, and produce.


Proprietary First-Party Data, Walmart Customer Spark Community. Walmart Luminate, January 2024, n= 1091.