We’re entering the time of year when retailers and advertisers put their holiday shopping campaigns into action. Thanksgiving, Black Friday, Small Business Saturday and Cyber Monday are coming, and now is the time to prepare.
Although it doesn’t compare with the winter holidays in terms of sales, Halloween is significant for retailers, with 2015 seeing $6.9 billion in sales. Let’s take a look at some of the projections, plans and trends you ought to watch as Oct. 31, 2016 draws closer.
The NRF Halloween Survey
Each year, the National Retail Federation (NRF) conducts a Halloween survey to learn how people plan to celebrate the holiday. It covers aspects including spending, top buys and current trends. We’ll touch on some of the highlights here.
Consumer Spend and What They’re Buying
Consumers are expected to spend $8.4 billion for Halloween 2016, which means an average of $82.93 each. This is a record high in the 11-year history of the NRF survey, and beats out the $8 billion mark of 2012.
Candy is the most popular item for purchase with 94 percent of consumers planning to buy it. Costumes come in second with 67 percent of shoppers planning to buy them, but bring in the most money at $3.1 billion. Depending on what type of retailer you are, it can be a no-brainer to offer bags of candy and at least some costume basics (face paint, funny glasses, masks, etc.), and making space (physical or online) for these items lets you cash in on the biggest sellers of the season.
Buying certain items does not appear to mean shoppers plan to participate in Halloween activities. More than 90 percent might plan to buy candy, but only 71 percent say they’re going to hand it out. Sixty-seven percent will buy costumes, but only 47 percent will wear them—though 30 percent plan to take their kids trick-or-treating, which explains where all those costumes are going (so be sure to stock a variety of sizes).
Think about how you can play on these behaviors in the ads you are creating for Halloween.
Less popular are purchases of greeting cards (still $390 million by 35.percent of consumers) and costumes for pets (16 percent of shoppers, explaining a little more of that $3.1 billion from earlier).
Compared with 2015, this year’s spending is up $1.5 billion. Costume wearing and candy sharing remain relatively steady, though individuals are spending more on everything this year.
3 Trends to Watch
The Halloween trends go beyond the usual rituals of buying candy and donning costumes. Certain shifts in consumer behavior can greatly impact how retailers approach the season. Here are three trends to watch for this year:
1. Millennials are celebrating Halloween more than ever. People from 18 to 34 are the most likely adult group to participate, and do so with costumes and parties. Pictures of events and idea resources like YouTube and Pinterest could be behind the increased interest—no one wants to miss out, and with creative help from the internet, it’s easier to come up with a great costume.
2. Alternatives to trick-or-treating happen all over the country. Instead of going from one stranger’s door to the next, and ending up with a bag of questionable treats (to some parents), kids are often taken to alternative events like trunk-or-treating, where churches or other organizations host car-to-car trick-or-treating in a parking lot.
This trend grows with each year. The graph below shows how, each October, online interest in “trunk or treat” spikes, and is expected to be larger than ever in 2106. If you are in this space, as an advertiser, come up with ways to capture this search traffic with your ads.
3. Kids’ costumes are less defined by gender as spending rises. In fact, “superhero” has knocked “princess” out of the top spot, and it’s likely that female action characters have something to do with this. One look at rising queries illustrates this (see below).
As we see gender neutral styles become more popular in children’s clothing and toys, advertisers should be aware that parents will think of this in Halloween shopping.
As with every holiday, it seems, Halloween is going to continue increasing in popularity, and while that means all kinds of things for kids, parents, Millennials, etc., it means opportunity for advertisers.
If you can get into the ad space for things like candy, costumes and trick-or-treat alternatives like trunk-or-treating, festivals and haunted houses, you might just spook some of the competition this Halloween!