Originally started as the Celtic festival known as Samhain, where revelers would light bonfires and wear costumes and masks in the attempt to ward off evil spirits, the Halloween holiday has evolved throughout the years to an exciting time for children to dress up as their favorite characters and enjoy parties and trick-or-treating.
All Hallows Eve or Halloween occurs during the end of the summer harvest and before the beginning of the coming winter months.
While the association with otherworldly entities as well as the darkness of the seasons has led to popular decor and costumes being dark and ghostly, the holiday has turned more into one for young children to enjoy some candy, carving, and even a few innocent scares.
With the commercialization of the holiday increasing, it has become one of the largest spending holidays in both the United States and the United Kingdom with over $9 billion being spent in the U.S. and an estimated £320 on spending in the U.K in 2017.
It is estimated that 64% of the population will celebrate Halloween with an average of $86 being spent per person.
When Do Buyers Start Their Halloween Shopping?
As with any major holiday, the shopping season starts earlier and earlier each year. While most of the shopping occurs in the month of the holiday, many people are starting earlier whether they are trying to shop deals or make sure they get their desired costume.
- 6% of shoppers will start before September.
- 28% of shoppers will do their Halloween shopping in September.
- 41% will make their purchases within the first week of October.
- 25% will wait until the latter two weeks of October to make their holiday purchases.
What Are Buyers Spending Their Money On In Preparation For Halloween?
With $9 billion spent on the Halloween holiday in 2017, you may be wondering where did all these spending dollars go and what items did those celebrating spend their money on.
- Costumes. An estimated $3.4 billion will be spent on Halloween costumes with men spending more than their female counterparts with average purchases of $96 and $77 respectively.
- Candy. Estimated candy sales for the previous year were right around $2.7 billion making it one of the top three largest portion of spending dollars for the Halloween holiday. On average most buyers will spend $25 each on candy for the season.
- Decorations. It appears that Halloween celebrators enjoy decorations as much as they do candy and expect to spend about $2.7 billion each year on these items as well.
- Greeting Cards. While not nearly one of the top greeting card holidays of the year, many people still purchase greeting cards for friends and family to celebrate Halloween and spend around $400 million on these purchases.
Where Do Buyers Look For Inspiration For Halloween Costume And Decor Purchases?
Buyers search all over to find the perfect costumes and decorations for their Halloween events. So where do buyers look to find inspiration for the purchases that they will make for the Halloween season? Some of the most popular places include:
- 35.2% online
- 30.3% while in a retail store
- 20.4% from friends and family
- 18.2% from Facebook posts
- 17.9% on Pinterest
- 17.2% from a pop culture source
- 14.2% from ads and other print media
- 12.9% by watching Youtube videos
- 10.4% by following Instagram accounts
- 7.5% from current events around them
What Costumes Do Buyers Most Frequently Purchase?
The most popular purchases on Halloween are costumes, and the choices to make are as diverse as the population that wears them. So what were the most popular costume choices in recent years? In the United States and the United Kingdom the top costume choices for children and adults include:
- Star Wars Characters
Who Are Costumes Most Frequently Purchased For?
The Halloween seasons is popular for any age category of the population. When breaking down costume purchases by percentage of dollars spent it was shown that:
- Adult costumes lead as the highest dollar amount purchased at $1.6 billion per year.
- Children’s costumes are the second highest at $1.2 billion dollars.
- Pet costumes have the lowest amount of dollars spent at about $440 million though it continues to see a steady incline year-over-year with 16% of pet owners purchasing a costume for their pet.
Where Are Buyers Purchasing Their Halloween Supplies?
Where people shop to buy for the Halloween holiday is unique in the fact that home improvement and home decor stores continue to see gains each year, rising almost 20% over the previous year.
These stores do not see as much growth form purchases to other holidays aside from the Christmas shopping season. Surveys and research have shown a very diverse list of popular Halloween supply stores and what percentage of buyers will shop there to get their Halloween purchases.
- Discount stores 47.1%
- Halloween stores 37.5%
- Grocery stores 25.4%
- Department stores 24.4%
- Online 22.3%
- Craft and fabric stores 13.7%
- Clothing stores 11.1%
- Home decor stores 10.8%
- Thrift and resale shops 10.8%
- Drug stores 9.1%
- Gift stores 8.5%
- Small businesses 7.2%
- Home improvement stores 6.2%
- Catalog 3.9%
Halloween Shopping Online
With the convenience and low prices of online shopping, there has been a significant increase in Halloween sales primarily when it comes to children and pet costumes.
When it comes to adult costumes, the purchases tend to trend to in-store purchases which is likely due to being able to try on the items before committing to a purchase.
Party supplies have also seen an increase in online shoppers as well though large home decor pieces have not seen as high of an increase possibly due to shipping constraints.
Little Known Facts About Halloween
There are many fun facts associated with the Halloween season and many that most people are already aware such as the origination of jack o’lanterns and the beginnings of trick-or-treating as we now know it.
Even those who may think they know everything there is to know about Halloween, below are a few facts that may be something you can add to your favorite facts about the Halloween season.
- You can be fined up to $1000 for selling or using silly string in Hollywood, California due to its use for vandalism on All Hallows Eve.
- The candy industry lobbied to get Daylight Savings Time pushed into November to allow more daylight and more time for children to get candy on Halloween.
- Halloween is considered the second most commercial holiday in the United States creating one of the best shopping seasons.
- More than 90 million pounds of chocolate will be purchased for the Halloween season.
As spending increases on everything from Halloween costumes, to candy, to decor, it appears that Halloween will continue to top the charts in terms of holiday spending.
While the Halloween holiday has not seen the increase in online sales that other holiday shopping has in recent years, many buyers will consult online platforms to seek out inspiration for costumes, party, and decor ideas.
Additionally, as the millennials begin to be some of the biggest spenders in the Halloween market, their increased use of online stores may provide for an increase in online spending in the future.
With over half the population in both the United States and the United Kingdom participating in the Halloween holiday, average spending is expected to increase in the years to come making it a profitable spending holiday for many retailers.