According to a hot-off-the-proverbial-presses survey by the NRF, 157 million Americans will celebrate Halloween this year. Will you be one of them? Everyone knows that Christmas is a huge shopping-centric event, but Halloween sales continue to grow at a “frightening” pace every year. Although individual spending for the spooky holiday is expected to be down a few dollars from last year, overall sales are predicted to hit $6.9 billion. Yes, that’s billion with a b—that’s a lot of candy, costumes, and celebrations! Let’s take a closer look at how it all breaks down.
The main driving force behind Halloween sales is the Millennial generation of 18-34 year-olds. This social media-savvy group is more likely than average adults to find their costume ideas on Pinterest and Instagram (25% will use Pinterest vs. 13% of average adults and 16% will use Instagram vs. 7% of average adults). In addition, 81% of Millennials plan to celebrate Halloween by dressing up, throwing or attending a party, visiting a haunted house, and dressing up their pets. With 49% of this demographic searching for costume inspiration online, e-commerce merchants selling Halloween-related goods have a huge opportunity to increase sales, add-ons like make-up and costume accessories, and even home/yard decorations.
While the tradition of trick-or-treating for candy leads most people to think of Halloween as a “kid’s” holiday, research shows that consumers spend more on adult costumes than children’s: $1.2 billion on the former and $950 million on the latter (and $350 million for pets). Just how many people are expected to dress up? 68 million Americans! Ironically (at least to me), the top adult costume for 11 years running has been a witch, whereas the top youth costume for the same timespan is a princess. Does this mean that by the time we grow up, little girls realize it’s more fun to be wicked? And despite the popular hot dog and dog furniture movers pet costumes in my FB feed and Pinterest boards every fall, the top disguise for our furry friends is actually a pumpkin. For both grown-ups and kids alike, Star Wars characters and Minions are anticipated to be big this year, too.
Rounding out the holiday’s sales are $330 million on greeting cards; and $1.9 billion on decorations; and $2.1 billion spent on candy. Posts abound chronicling lists of the best candies for your goody bag, and there’s a Gravity Falls episode about the “Summerween trickster” monster made up entirely of the gross candy no one ever eats (e.g., peanut butter taffy wrapped in orange or black wax paper), but according to the National Confectioners Association, chocolate is the most coveted of all treats with candy corn a very distant second.
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