Halloween always promises a good scare, but a new survey sponsored by the National Retail Federation (NRF) estimates spending for this year’s holiday will be downright spooky — spooky good, that is.
The survey, conducted by Prosper Insights & Analytics, put total spending for candy, costumes, decorations and other items at $8.4 billion, an all-time high during the 11 years the NRF has sponsored the study. Last year’s total was expected to miss $7 billion.
U.S. consumers are projected to drop $82.93 on average, up almost 12 percent from $74.34 last year. More than 171 million consumers are expected take part in Halloween festivities.
“After a long summer, families are excited to welcome the fall season celebrating Halloween,” says Matthew Shay, NRF president and ceo. “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.”
Most of the 6,791 consumers surveyed (94.3 percent) said they’d buy candy, and 71 percent said they’d hand it out. As a result, candy sales are projected to hit $2.5 billion.
Decoration sales, meanwhile, are expected to pull in $2.4 billion, while costume sales are projected to reach $3.1 billion.
Prosper Insights also found consumers will turn to a variety of outlets to get their halloween necessities. Nearly half (47 percent) of shoppers will visit discount stores to buy their Halloween-related items, and 36 percent will visit a specialty Halloween or costume store, up from 33 percent last year. In addition, 26 percent of customers are expected to visit grocery stores and supermarkets, while 23 percent will visit department stores. One out of five consumers will shop online.
Furthermore, most consumers won’t wait until the last minute to get into the Halloween spirit, says Pam Goodfellow, Prosper Insights principal analyst.
“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 history,” she says. “Americans will enjoy taking advantage of early-bird promotions both online and in-store as they kick off the fall season.”
What could be behind the spike? The NRF suggested social media might play a role, especially in costume purchasing. Digital platforms offer a chance to share clever costumes and party highlights with friends and family.
It’s not shocking, then, that Millennials — one the groups most likely to use social media — are expected to pony up the most for the perfect costume. Adults ages 18-34 are projected to spend on average $42.39, compared with $31.03 for all adults.
Despite my Millennial status, I don’t anticipate putting together a costume this year. You will, however, find me snatching Almond Joys, Kit Kats and Twix from the candy bowl, provided my parents buy the correct mix. If they don’t, it just might get scary.