Mostly Treats Seen for Retailers This Halloween Season

Spending projected to rise for second straight year

Author: Patricia Orsini

October 12, 2017

Among the most popular characters you can expect to see at your front door this Halloween are comic book superheroes like Wonder Woman and Batman, Star Wars villains, and assorted vampires and zombies. And those are just the adults.

Celebrating Halloween is not universal, but 72% of the US adults queried in the National Retail Federation’s (NRF’s) annual Halloween survey said they would mark the holiday this year. Handing out candy, decorating doorsteps and dressing in costume will be the most popular ways to participate in the celebration, contributing to a record $9.1 billion in spending. That’s an 8.3% increase over last year’s previous record of $8.4 billion and a continued reversal of the flat to down trend seen from 2012 through 2015.

Of course, a desire to be in on the fun is fueling the spending. And social media is helping to inspire costume choices and other purchase decisions for adults and kids alike.

Consumers are starting their Halloween shopping online, searching for costumes, decorations and treat ideas. NRF reported that 35.2% of respondents conducted online searches for celebration inspiration. Facebook provided ideas for 18.2% of respondents, and Pinterest was not far behind, at 17.9%.

Regional differences play a part in where shoppers go for inspiration. In the South, for instance, 38% of shoppers said they plan to use online search to look for costume ideas; 20% said they would go to Facebook. Meanwhile, 20% of respondents from the Midwest said they would go to Pinterest for costume ideas.

All this social media influence, however, doesn’t necessarily lead to online Halloween purchases, according to the NRF. Online retailers will garner 22.3% of Halloween shoppers this year, the survey found. Physical retailers such as discount stores were the choice for most consumers.

For all its popularity, Halloween is a small player compared with other holidays and seasonal spending. According to the NRF data, US spending for Halloween trails Mother’s Day and Valentine’s Day by a wide margin.

Photo by Javier Molina on Unsplash


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