Hope you’ve got a fresh glass of milk (standard, oat, almond, or otherwise), because National Oreo Cookie Day is right around the corner!
That’s right, March 6th is dedicated to America’s best-selling cookie–the Oreo. The Oreo was invented in 1912 by The National Biscuit Company (now known as Nabisco) at a factory in New York City where it was launched to compete with the Hydrox cookie that hit the market a few years earlier.
As we all know, the Oreo quickly won the war of the chocolate and creme sandwich cookies, and today approximately 34 billion Oreo cookies are sold across the world every year.
So with National Oreo Day rapidly approaching, we of course had to celebrate the only way we know how: by diving deep into our data to learn more about Americans’ love affair with the Oreo.
When is online demand for Oreos highest? Does National Oreo Day move the needle? Which types of specialty Oreos are the most popular?
Dig into a sleeve of Oreos and keep reading to find out the answer to these questions and more!
When is online demand highest for Oreos?
Does the allure of an ice cold glass of milk and a stack of Oreos bring a surge of demand in the summertime? Or, perhaps the holidays see the cookie reach the height of its popularity. To find out, we started by analyzing online demand for Oreos during every week of 2021.
Last year, online demand for Oreos surged in the first weeks of February, then began a mostly steady decline through the spring and summer months. It then trended upward again in late August and early September before dropping again as the holidays approached.
As for National Oreo Day, it did not appear to really move the needle when it came to online demand last year.
But to truly understand consumer trends, it helps to understand longer-term trends. So let’s take a look at demand over the past three years.
When examining monthly demand for Oreos over the past three years, one thing clearly jumps right off the screen, and that’s the absolutely massive surge in demand during the early pandemic in 2020.
January 2020 actually saw demand lagging behind the previous year’s, but things changed quickly as the pandemic began to hit, and monthly demand in March 2020 was 102% higher than it was in March 2019.
April also saw demand far outpace that of 2019, and even once it leveled out after the early-pandemic surge, demand remained elevated throughout the rest of 2020.
2021, as you can see, saw demand fall back to nearly identical pre-pandemic levels. This is likely due to people returning to more in-store shopping for items like Oreos, but perhaps some of us were also doing a little less stress eating last year.
In any case, there’s simply no question that COVID-19 had a tremendous impact on online demand for Oreos.
What were the most popular specialty Oreos last year?
For many, many years Oreos were nothing more than a little bit of creme filling between a pair of chocolate sandwich cookies. Since then, we’ve seen the release and rise of classic specialty flavors like Golden Oreos and Mint Oreos, as well as the annual release of brand new limited time flavors like carrot cake, peanut butter, and even wild flavors like Peeps and Swedish Fish.
We examined some of the more popular specialty flavors to see which ones were the most popular last year. So, what is the best specialty flavor of Oreo according to demand?
Lady Gaga Oreos, a limited release Oreo featuring bright pink cookies with an electric green filling, saw the most online demand last year – even surpassing Golden Oreos, which by now are practically a standard issue Oreo flavor themselves.
After those top two, there’s a noticeable drop to the next group, led by Mint and Lemon Oreos, followed by Red Velvet, Fudge Covered, and Peanut Butter.
From there, we see a sizable gap before we hit carrot cake, chocolate, birthday cake, and pistachio.
Of course, when it comes to what is truly the most popular type of Oreo, the standard issue still reigns supreme:
When we add the total demand for regular ol’ Oreos into the chart, it’s clear nothing else compares. Oreos saw 679% more demand than Lady Gaga Oreos, and 55% more demand than the rest of the field combined.
But let’s turn our attention back to some of those more popular specialty cookies. Are there specific times of the year that are driving demand for each of them?
Here’s a comparison of the change in monthly demand for some of the top specialty cookies in our analysis:
Lady Gaga Oreos were released as a limited run in late January of 2021, which makes it all the more impressive that they topped the list for total demand last year. February was a relatively strong month for each of the other cookies, though.
Fudge Covered Oreos experienced a healthy 72% increase in monthly demand, likely on the back of Valentine’s Day. Red Velvet Oreos also got a cupid-inspired bump, with demand up by 44%.
Mint Oreos clearly got a St. Patrick’s Day bump, with monthly demand peaking in March. While Fudge Covered Oreos were the ones that clearly rely most on the holidays to drive demand, with demand peaking in December.
Golden Oreos and Lemon Oreos, meanwhile, saw remarkably consistent demand throughout the year.
Before we close out this section, let’s take an even closer look at weekly demand for Lady Gaga Oreos, just to underscore just how wildly popular those cookies were for such a short period of time:
As you can see, the pink and green Oreos experienced nearly all their demand during the weeks of Jan 24 and 31, dropped significantly by early February, and became nearly nonexistent for the rest of the year as the cookies were no longer available.
Even still, those two weeks were enough to propel this specialty cookie to the top of the end of year list.
So what is the best oreo flavor?
Based on consumer demand, it seems that the Best Oreo is classic Oreos by far (at least on the Amazon U.S. marketplace). Among the many Oreo varieties, the favorite oreo flavor in 2021 was the Lady Gaga Oreo, followed closely by Golder Oreos.
Don’t worry if your favorite oreo flavor didn’t make the top of the list, that just means more for you. Whichever “stuf” you choose to indulge in on National Oreo Cookie Day, we hope our data analysis makes the moment a little sweeter.
A lesson for brands
National Oreo Day might not really move the needle when it comes to online demand for America’s most popular cookie, but when it comes to specialty Oreos, several holidays make a clear difference.
Valentine’s Day brings a boost for fudge covered and red velvet Oreos, while mint Oreos are particularly popular during St. Patrick’s Day. Standard issue Oreos and their golden and lemon counterparts, meanwhile, seem to enjoy pretty consistent popularity throughout the year.
Understanding the factors that influence consumer behavior can help brands better understand how to forecast demand for their products on online marketplaces, and even inform product design and marketing strategy.
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And, if you’d like to learn more about how you can best leverage our data to help your brand win online, holiday or not, get in touch today.