Halloween spending expected to reach $9 billion, down slightly from 2017

by Kim Souza ([email protected]) 415 views 

While the weather may not exactly feel like fall, consumers have been busy buying  decorations for Halloween for the past several weeks as retailers eager to boost revenue hopped on the Halloween and Thanksgiving promotions as early as August.

The National Retail Federation predicts consumers will spend a combined $9 billion this year on Halloween sales. Spending expectations are on par with $9.1 billion Americans doled out last year for costumes, candy and decorations.

Consumers are predicted to spend an average of $89.79 per household on Halloween fare this year. That’s up from $86.13 spent in 2017. The NRF/Prosper Insights survey found 175 million U.S. consumers plan to partake in Halloween festivities this year.

“The economy is good and consumer confidence is high, so families are ready to spend on Halloween this year,” NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay said. “Retailers are stocking up to supply children, pets and adults with their favorite decorations, candy and costumes for the season.”

Following are Halloween spending numbers from the NRF.
2018: $9 billion (estimated)
2017: $9.1 billion
2016: $8.4 billion
2015: $6.9 billion
2014: $7.4 billion
2013: $6.9 billion
2012: $8.0 billion
2011: $6.86 billion

The biggest cash outlay will be for costumes this year as 68% of respondents plan to spend a combined $3.2 billion on costumes for kids and themselves. The survey found 3.8 million children plan to dress as their favorite princess character, 2.5 million are going as their favorite superhero and 1.9 million will dress as a witch.

The most popular costumes chosen by kids this year are Princess (7.6%), Superhero (4.9%), Batman (4.3%), Star Wars character (3.7%), Witch (3.5%), and Spider-Man (3.5%). Also, 48% of adults surveyed plan to dress in costume. The most popular adult costume was the witch with 7.2 million consumers. Vampires and Zombies were also popular choices among 2.5 million and 2.1 million adults, respectively.

Pets are also taking part in Halloween festivities this year with 20% of respondents planning to dress their pets in costume, up from 16% last year.

“Out of the 31.3 million Americans planning to dress their pets in costumes, millennials (25-34) are most likely to dress up their pets, the highest we have seen in the history of our surveys,” said Phil Rist, executive vice president of strategy at Prosper Insights & Analytics.

He said pet costumes continue to be a growing trend among consumers which is keeping overall spending at near record levels.

The vast majority of respondents who plan to celebrate Halloween (95%) said they will hand out candy to trick or treaters. This group will spend a combined $2.6 billion on candy. According to sales data at Candystore.com the most popular treat or treat confections this year include: Skittles, M&M’s, Snickers, Reese’s cups and Starburst in the top five spots. Candy corn, Hot tamales, Hershey’s mini bars, Tootsie pops and Jolly Ranchers round out the top 10.

Consumers also plan to spend $2.7 billion on Halloween decorations as 74% of respondents said they will purchase pumpkins and other decor such as witches, ghosts, holiday textiles and candles to decorate the homes and yards for the holiday. About one-third of respondents will throw a party or attend one. And about 30% plan to take kids trick or treating, while 21% will visit a haunted house.

Halloween concisely ranks fifth among holiday spending by consumers behind Christmas, Mother’s Day, Valentine’s Day and Father’s Day. Walmart, Hobby Lobby, Dollar Tree and other retailers already have Christmas decorations on display.

At Walmart, Halloween decorations have been downsized to three aisles with Thanksgiving items on one aisle and several end cap displays. Meanwhile, the entire seasonal space in supercenters are being devoted to Christmas decor. Store workers in Northwest Arkansas told Talk Business & Politics Christmas decor is going up three weeks earlier than last year, but they are still selling a lot of Halloween items and fall decorations such as mums and pumpkins.