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Halloween Spending Up This Year

This should be a banner year for consumer spending on Halloween, according to a survey from the National Retail Federation (NRF). The survey predicts total spending will reach $8.4 billion, an all-time high in the survey’s 11-year history. That should pose some opportunities for home improvement retailers.

The average U.S. consumers will spend $82.93, up from last year’s $74.34. “After a long summer, families are excited to welcome the fall season celebrating Halloween,” NRF president and CEO Matthew Shay says. “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.”

What opportunities lie for home improvement retailers? According to the survey, consumers plan to spend $2.5 billion on candy, with 94 percent of Halloween shoppers planning to purchase candy. Many retailers already stock candy, so this is the time to heavily promote these high-margin items. Having an endcap of Halloween candy or candy in bulk will remind customers to stock up on candy before the big trick-or-treat night.

Also according to the survey, 67 percent of consumers will purchase a costume, and that includes costumes for pets. Retailers who already have a pet department might want to consider bringing in some creative pet costumes. Some of those pets in costume may also be out looking for treats, so retailers should consider promoting bulk pet treats.

The third largest category is decorations, where 48 percent of Americans plan to do some decorating in their yard.

Retailers should also keep in mind that a home improvement store is not the first place consumers will think of when planning Halloween purchases. However, the NRF survey revealed that social media is the fastest growing influencer for the perfect costume, particularly Pinterest, which has seen a 133-percent growth since 2012. Consumers are also likely to look on Facebook for ideas. Retailers can begin by posting, or reposting, photos of creative costumes on their own social media sites, then talking about all of the Halloween supplies their store might carry.

For anyone who hasn’t started stocking up with Halloween products, there may still be time. While about 5 percent of shoppers start their shopping for Halloween before September, many shoppers (29 percent) start theirs in September, according to the survey. But 44 percent start their shopping in the first two weeks of October, and 22 percent start their shopping the last two weeks of October.

Click Here to read the NRF survey and full report.

About Jesse Carleton

Jesse Carleton has visited independent hardware retailers, conducted original research on the industry and written extensively about the business of hardware retailing. Jesse has written for more than a dozen of NHPA’s contract publishing titles, all related to the hardware retailing industry. He also was instrumental in developing the Basic Training in Hardware Retailing courses now used by thousands of retailers across the country.

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