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Halloween shoppers spend more on costumes yet buy more candy, study shows

By Robyn Turk

Sep 25, 2018

Halloween sales are on track to reach 9 billion dollars across the United States, according to the National Retail Federation’s annual survey. Conducted by Prosper Insights & Analytics, the survey shows that over 175 Americans are planning take part in Halloween celebrations, each spending an average of 86.79 dollars on the seasonal festivities.

The National Retail Federation has called for this survey annually for the last 14 years, and this year’s estimated total of 9 billion dollars in sales is the second highest in the survey’s history. Last year’s overall record of Halloween spending was only slightly higher, at 9.1 billion dollars.

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

Research conducted through Retail Assist in the UK has found that large sums of Halloween spending is no longer limited to American consumers, claiming that Halloween is now the third largest celebrated festivity. Last year, British Halloween spending was expected to reach 320 million pounds, with 46 percent of adults in the UK making purchases. Retail Assist credits the growing British Halloween market to millennial consumers’ desire to stay younger for longer, arguing that the roughly 17 million UK millennial consumers are more eager to take part in a festivity reminiscent of childhood.

While the majority of American Halloween sales are projected to be spent on Halloween costumes at 3.2 billion dollars, only 68 percent of shoppers plan to purchase costume,. At 95 percent, almost all Halloween shoppers plan to buy candy for the holiday, bringing the candy sales to 2.6 billion dollars. Just about half of adult Halloween celebrants plan to dress themselves in costumes, and only 45 percent plan to shop for their costumes in discount stores, while the rest will shop in specialty Halloween stores, department stores, supermarkets and online.

Of course children’s costumes will bring up sales in this sector for the season, as half of the highest ranked children’s costumes are popular characters from recent Disney, Marvel or D.C. Comics films, yet another growing trend retailers are seeing in costumes this year is pet costumes. According to Retail Dive, nearly 18 percent of Americans will dress their pet for Halloween, up 2 percent from last year’s figures.