Retailers hope for record Halloween sales as consumer confidence improves

by Kim Souza ([email protected]) 188 views 

Halloween spending is expected to top $8.4 billion this year, a record according to the National Retail Federation annual survey. A realized estimate would be good for retailers large and small that have had their Halloween displays out since late August.

U.S. consumers are expected to spend an average of $82.93 on Halloween items with more than 171 million Americans expected to participate in holiday activities. Per capita spending is expected to rise 11.5% over last year, fueled in part because of improved consumer confidence which rose to a nine-year high in September.

“After a long summer, families are excited to welcome the fall season celebrating Halloween,” said NRF CEO Matthew Shay. “Retailers are preparing for the day by offering a wide variety of options in costumes, decorations and candy, while being aggressive with their promotions to capture the most out of this shopping event.”

Halloween spending dipped last year to $6.98 billion, its lowest point since 2011. Second only to Christmas in retail spending, the survey respondents this year say the bulk of their Halloween spend will be on costumes ($3.1 billion by 67% of shoppers.) Another $2.5 billion will be for candy confections and $2.4 billion spent on decorations. About one in three respondents said they will purchase a Halloween greeting card for a combined spend of $390 million.

“Consumers are eager to celebrate Halloween, especially given that eight in 10 Americans will shop by mid-October. That is the highest we have seen in the survey’s 11-year history,” said Prosper Insights Principal Analyst Pam Goodfellow. “Americans will enjoy taking advantage of early-bird promotions both online and in-store as they kick off the fall season.”

Goodfellow said nearly half of the Halloween shoppers will visit discount stores to purchase the majority of their holiday items. About 36% will shop at specialty Halloween sites, while one in four will buy their goods at the local supermarkets. Lastly, 22% said they will shop online for some of their Halloween goods.

One of the fastest growing aspects around Halloween is pet-owners spending money on costumes for dogs and cats. The NRF survey found 16% of survey respondents will dress up a pet for Halloween. Another survey by pet retailer Petco found 59% of pet owners will celebrate Halloween with their pets. Petco said 27% of the respondents said this the first time their pets will have taken part in the Halloween holiday festivities.

While consumers are feeling a little more optimistic about the economy and spending is expected to be higher, some other behaviors were noted in the survey. About 28% said they plan to buy less candy this year, and 20% said they will make a costume instead of purchasing one. About 15% admitted they plan to use last year’s costume and decorations with no plans to buy more this year.

The NRF/Prosper report also found that Princess costumes have been dethroned after an 11-year reign as top favorite among American children. The survey found More than 3 million children will dress as their favorite action or superhero, 2.9 million will dress as their favorite princess and 2.5 million plan to dress as a cat, dog, bunny or other animal.

Popular children’s costumes
1. Action/Superhero
2. Princess
3. Animal
4. Batman character
5. Star Wars Character

Popular pet costumes
1. Pumpkin
2. Hot Dog
3. Bumble Bee
4. Lion
5. Devil