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PowerReviews 2023 Halloween Spending Trends report foreshadows holiday spending patterns

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By: Bill Hanifin, CLMP™ |

Posted on August 30, 2023

Halloween products are in the store, and you should be paying attention

Summer is coming to an end, with kids returning to school in different parts of the world, and the US on the verge of Labor Day, a national holiday that is the demarcation point between summer and fall seasons. Yesterday, during a visit to both Lowe’s and Home Depot (yes, we visited both in the same outing) we witnessed extensive displays of Halloween decorations. This year, we saw racks of configurable skeletons, battery-operated zombies that hovered over the ground, and a 20-foot-tall Mummy which is bound to make your house a hit in the neighborhood.

The retail machine was hard at work as evidenced by the fact that not only were these displays active, but many items had already been sold out. We did a little digging and discovered that Halloween spending trends are an important pre-Christmas holiday spending barometer. In the past, the National Retail Federation has estimated that Americans spend around $10 billion on Halloween, coming in ahead of Independence Day, the Super Bowl, and St. Patrick's Day.

For that reason, retailers may want to take into consideration the findings of the 2023 Halloween Spending Trends report from PowerReviews as they plan for the 2023 holiday shopping season. Based on a survey of 18,906 US consumers fielded in August 2023, the report shows many shoppers are tightening the reins on their Halloween spending this year.

  • 73% say their Halloween shopping will be impacted by economic challenges
  • 24% will be reusing/recycling existing costumes
  • 34% will be buying cheaper Halloween candy
  • 34% say they’ll forgo buying Halloween decorations this year
  • 44% say they will be looking for bargains/using coupons for Halloween items.

Retailers are wise to observe that Consumers assemble their basket of Halloween supplies and goodies through discernable patterns. Buying decisions are made according to specific retail outlets according to the item being purchased. For example,

  • Costumes: The top costume shopping destination is Amazon (61% plan to shop there), while 21% will shop at a thrift store.
  • Candy: The top Halloween candy shopping destination is the grocery/supermarket (66% plan to shop there), while 14% will buy candy from a discount store.
  • Decorations: The top Halloween décor shopping destination is big box stores such as Target and Walmart (54% plan to shop there), while 22% will buy décor from a home & garden/hardware retailer such as Home Depot or Lowes.

Besides predicting consumer appetites to spend during the holidays and the channels they are most likely to buy in, the report shared insights on “how” consumers are making purchase decisions.

The influence of user-generated content (UGC) on Gen Z’s Halloween purchases is significant. 64% of those surveyed said they would consider ratings and reviews when purchasing a Halloween costume, and 45% would consider UGC content when purchasing Halloween candy or food. It seems that a calculated investment in social channels Instagram, TikTok, Facebook, and Snap Chat should be effective in motivating people to select individual products.

We haven’t seen much in the way of influencer marketing in connection with Halloween, but it surely must be happening. While it might be time to rethink your influencer marketing strategy, incorporating this approach should yield results.

By the way, if you shared our surprise in seeing big Halloween displays in stores during August, you will be interested to know that the report found that 22% say it’s NEVER too early for Halloween items to be showcased online and in stores, while 35% say July is too early, and an additional 26% say August is too early.

We think it’s safe to say that if most retailers were questioned under truth serum, the answer to “when is a good time to start marketing for any season” would be “it’s never too early”!

For more Halloween survey insights on spending and top motivations for purchase decisions, charts, and graphics, please visit Halloween Spending Trends for 2023.

Editor’s Note:

PowerReviews is a conversion-first research and marketing company focused on employing User Generated Content (UGC). The company is “obsessed” with helping brands and retailers grow their businesses by empowering them with information to generate better quality customer product ratings and reviews. PowerReviews analyzes and benchmarks research data in large volumes to optimize UGC programs for conversion while improving product quality and customer experience.