Halloween is big business and after a ‘stop-start’ year of consumer spending, retailers are going great guns to capture attention for what is the third-biggest retail spending event after Christmas and Easter.
After trick-or-treating was essentially cancelled last year, families and young adults are already preparing for an evening of festivities and are planning to spend more money than ever before.
The UK’s biggest Halloween ever?
Our research shows that UK spend will smash through £500m for the first time and that it will be the value retailers such as B&M, Amazon and Aldi that capture most of that attention and spend.
Compared to a $8bn spend in the US, this is still a relatively small amount of money spent per head, but clearly there is still a lot of headroom for further growth. Interestingly, this growth will increasingly be driven by millennials without kids as much as families.
With over 30% of people spending £50 or more, there is a lot of cash up for grabs across a wide range of consumer sectors. Unsurprisingly, more money will be spent on sweets and treats than anything else, but there are other sectors that enjoy a bounce of sales from Halloween.
The post-pandemic celebration
Covid-19 will have a big impact on these sectors. Pet ownership soared in the pandemic and there will be a huge spike of sales of dog costumes this year, with a 16% year-on-year increase in pet owners planning to purchase. With home crafting retailers enjoying a good 18 months or so, it will come as no surprise that we fully expect craft sales to be at an all-time high, with pumpkin carving and cake baking kits flying off the shelves.
As more people throw parties at home rather than knock on doors, we also believe there is a big opportunity for electronics and gadget manufacturers to add some immersive experiences to their parties. Sales of smoke machines and projectors have historically spiked on eBay into Halloween, but this year should see an even greater rate of sale.
The future: spooky sustainability?
All of this fun does come at a cost, though. In 2019, a shocking 7m Halloween costumes in the UK were binned and four out of every 10 of those costumes were worn only once. That’s 2000 tonnes of plastic waste going to a landfill site near you.
Consumer search for more sustainable products is rising fast. There has been a spike in people searching for more vintage Halloween products – from paper decorations to greetings cards. There is great enjoyment to be had from purchasing products that will be kept or even repurposed, rather than buying something that will be thrown into a bin on November 1.
Brands that offer a more sustainable way of enjoying Halloween will be rewarded by the increased search intent for more environmentally-friendly products, as well as a key point of differentiation versus the other products on the shelf.
Jim Hawker, Co-founder at Threepipe Reply.
Article first appeared in The Drum.