Monday, September 6, 2010

Poll: Is the cupcake market a fad?

About a month ago, my wife brought to my attention a new craze that is sweeping the nation: cupcake boutiques. These little shops sell cupcakes -- no cookies or brownies -- just cupcakes (and maybe a glass of milk to complement them). My wife told me that there was a new cupcake shop in downtown Chicago called Sprinkles Cupcakes, and we just had to try it.

At first, I couldn't imagine that a store selling only cupcakes could do well, but after hearing about it once, I saw other signs that cupcake boutiques are on the rise. Not long ago, there was a Groupon advertising another cupcake boutique (there's more than one downtown), and just yesterday, I saw a "cupcake van" parked at the corner of Michigan and Wacker, selling cupcakes to an eager line of customers (I believe the saying on the back of the van was "follow me to the corner of ooh and ahh").

Back to Sprinkles Cupcakes, my wife went there with her friend, and the line went around the corner. The wait was 45 minutes.... for cupcakes. When you get inside, the small shop has a wide variety of different decadent cupcakes. And, the typical price is $3.25 for a cupcake. I had to see what the craze was about, so I tried one the other day. It was the most delicious cupcake I had ever eaten.

Even so, I had never thought about a cupcakes-only store until I heard of Sprinkles. It makes me wonder about the long-term success of cupcake boutiques. I have some more ideas on the economics of the cupcake craze, which I will share in my Wednesday post, but I wanted to put this out there as this week's poll question.

Do you think that cupcake boutiques are going to be successful in the long run?

(a) No. It's a fad.
(b) Yes. Cupcake shops are here to stay.

As with all polls, this one is open for a week. Vote early and often. Tell your friends to vote. If you're standing in line at the cupcake shop, tell your fellow cupcake aficionados to vote as well. With a wait of 45 minutes, you'll have plenty of time to vote. I'm interested in hearing what you have to say.

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