Halloween spending impact on retail

What impact does Halloween have on retail?

With the first sign of summer being over, Halloween merchandise starts appearing online and in stores. From fancy-dress costumes to scary cupcakes, face tattoo transfers, sweets, doormats and practically the vegetable that is now only sold seasonally – the pumpkin.

Retail, leisure and hospitality industries can look forward to increased spending too, with themed nights in pubs and clubs, and taxiing services benefiting from one of the biggest party nights of the year. But I’m interested in why it attracts so much spending. Isn’t this an American tradition? Perhaps it’s because it’s a relatively cheap holiday compared to Christmas? Maybe with the clocks turning back and the days feeling a little cooler and darker, it’s a great way to lift the spirits before winter sets in. As it’s a non-secular event, it’s open to everyone.

Spending is mostly on sweets and costumes that aren’t expensive. We spotted some great deals along the high street and online with everybody taking part from Smiffys to Poundland. If you’re looking for ideas, you can’t go wrong following these simple ideas from Hobbycraft.

What are we spending?
With spend set to surpass £320m this year, Halloween has become an occasion retail brands can’t afford to ignore.The UK lags well behind the US when it comes to Halloween spending, but as a country, we’re catching up. In the space of just four years, this category has grown by 35%, with retail sales hitting £310m in 2016, according to Mintel.

In 2015, 40% of Brits spent money on Halloween, with 42% of us spending less than £10, 26% buying stuff between the £11 and £25 mark, 19% spending between £26 and £50, while 6% splashed out £85 or more.

And who are the spenders?
Well, the Millennials appear to love Halloween, with as many as 50% of them spending money on the event, while 71% of them enjoy taking part. Alice Goody, a retail analyst at Mintel, reckons Millennials have been brought up celebrating Halloween, and “this nostalgic event provides a good cause for a party, driving retail spend on food and drink, as well as money on going out.

Capturing the imagination of these young consumers will be the key to driving the growth of Halloween, as not only are they buying more items and spending more on average than other generations, but the vast majority agree that they enjoy taking part in the event.

In the spirit of the Great British Bake Off (and perfect timing too, to coincide with the latest series), Halloween-themed baking is also popular, with those in the West Midlands (12%) opting to make spooky cakes and bakes in 2015.

Importantly, any of the initiatives that retailers have adopted for Halloween will transition well for Christmas, with in-store events a strong way to boost footfall, while online content can be used to inspire shoppers and drive sales.