Retail halloween

No tricks, all treats for retail this Halloween

If estimates are anything to go by, retailers should be far from spooked by Halloween 2019, with consumers tipped to spend near-record amounts celebrating the October 31 event.

According to the National Retail Federation’s (NRF) annual survey, shoppers intend to spend $86.27 each on costumes, candy and Halloween decorations, injecting an estimated $8.8 billion into the retail economy.

Here’s an insight into where that shopping’s likely to occur and how it compares to previous years.

Third highest value on record

This year, Halloween will kick off what is expected to be a bumper retail holiday season. The 2019 event is predicted to deliver the third largest expenditure in 15 years, with shoppers spending an estimated $8.8 billion in total.

That’s down slightly on last year’s $9 billion in spending, and also slightly less than the record of $9.1 billion set in 2017, with 68 per cent of people planning to mark the occasion this year.

“Spending hasn’t changed much over the past few years, but we are seeing a noticeable increase in consumers whose Halloween purchases are inspired by their friends, neighbors and even celebrities on social media,” NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay said.

“Retailers expect to have another strong Halloween season and have stocked up on candy, decorations and the season’s most popular costumes.”

What people will buy

Retail halloween

Candy, decorations and costumes will comprise the lion’s share of purchases.

  • 95 per cent of people plan to purchase candy, spending $25.37 each and $2.6 billion in total
  • 72 per cent plan to buy decorations, spending $26.03 each and $2.7 billion in total
  • 67 per cent plan to buy costumes, spending $31.05 each and $3.2 billion in total
  • Greeting cards will also be popular, with consumers spending $3.82 each and $390 million in total

Meanwhile, 69 per cent will celebrate the event by handing out candy, 49 per cent will decorate their homes, 47 per cent will dress in a costume, 44 per cent will carve a pumpkin, 32 per cent will throw or attend a party, 29 per cent will take children trick-or-treating, 22 per cent will visit a haunted house, and 17 per cent will dress their pets in a costume.

Where people find inspiration

When it comes to finding inspiration for their Halloween decorations and costumes, most people head online, with social media the tool of choice for new and interesting ideas.

Over a third (35 per cent) of shoppers will search online first, with 18 per cent of those checking Pinterest for fresh ideas. Youtube and Instagram are the next most popular channels, with 14 per cent of people citing each of these as a place for inspiration.

Retail outlets also rank in the search for something exciting, with 28 per cent of survey respondents saying they will browse stores for inspiration, while a further 20 per cent will seek ideas from family and friends.

How people shop for Halloween

Online might be popular when it comes to seeking ideas, but real-world retail remains the prime place that people will buy their Halloween items.

  • 42 per cent of shoppers will go to a discount store
  • 36 per cent of shoppers will head to a specialty Halloween or costume store
  • 25 per cent will shop online
  • 25 per cent will go to a grocery store and
  • 23 per cent will visit a department store.

A precursor to a bumper holiday

Halloween is the precursor to the holiday season for 2019, which runs from November 1 to December 31.

The NRF also predicts sales will be strong across this major shopping period of the year. This year they tip retail sales will increase between 3.8 percent and 4.2 percent compared to 2018, resulting in an anticipated $727.9 billion to $730.7 billion windfall for the retail sector over the coming months.

You can read more about the NRF’s holiday season predictions here, and find ways to protect your store against holiday theft here.