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Halloween Growth Strategy Example: Are Consumers Spooked?

Halloween Growth Strategy Example: Are Consumers Spooked?

Has Halloween Spending Peaked? Consumers Say “Yes”…
But the Numbers Tell a Different Tale

With inflation scares front-and-center in 2022, US consumers were spooked at the idea of spending more on Halloween. As a holiday growth strategy example, Halloween seemed to be fizzling. A vast majority (83%) of US consumers planned their Halloween spend would either equal previous year’s or decrease. Let’s see if intentions matched up with reality.

In 2022, Americans spent $10.6B on Halloween. A total of 171 million consumers spent $3B on candy. Plot twist: Capitol One research reported that spending on Halloween actually grew from 2021 to 2022:

“Total nationwide retail spending for Halloween 2022 increased by an estimated $500 million or 4.95% year-over-year (YoY).”

True enough, Insight to Action expert Maria Gracia wrote that Halloween spending in 2021 was $10.14B, with a household average of $102.74. This is compared to a pre-pandemic high of $9.1B in 2017. By the numbers, Halloween as a growth strategy example appears to be increasing at a monstrous rate.

2023 Halloween Growth Strategy Example

Let’s dissect some of the predictions for Halloween 2023. In Numerator’s Holiday Intentions research, 73% of Americans anticipate celebrating Halloween this year, and over half of them start preparations for the holiday over one to two months in advance.

  • 39% plan to purchase costumes
  • 77% plan to purchase candy

Inflation remains a concern for US consumers; only 12% expect rising costs to have no effect on their holiday spending. Here’s how much consumers predict they will spend:

  • 18%: More than $100
  • 32%: $50-$100
  • 49%: Less than $50

Like last year, will these penny-pinching prognostications go up in smoke? I don’t need a Magic 8 Ball to tell me, “Signs point to yes.”

Millennials & Gen Z Scare Up Enthusiasm for Halloween Growth Strategy Example

It’s been reported that 51% of Millennials rank Halloween as their favorite holiday (compared to 25% of the US population as a whole). One Redditor explains:

“Halloween is my favorite holiday is because of the enchanting ‘atmosphere.’ There’s like a weird, creepy energy in the air due to the transition from the harvest season into the rapidly approaching winter; and the Halloween decorations drastically amplify this feeling imo.”

Each year, as summer starts to wane, I see evidence of Halloween anticipation flood my social media feeds. Here are a few sample posts from 20 to 35-year-old moms in my circle:

Halloween Growth Strategy Example: Are Consumers Spooked?
Halloween Growth Strategy Example: Are Consumers Spooked?
Halloween Growth Strategy Example: Are Consumers Spooked?
Halloween Growth Strategy Example: Are Consumers Spooked?

Along with the atmosphere, Halloween grants young adults and young families the freedom to have fun—without being responsible for planning and prepping large gatherings. While 34% of ghouls and goblins planned to gather with family and friends in 2022, that number has dropped to 28% in 2023, even while a large majority still intend to celebrate. Notably, a mere 16% plan to cook or bake for the occasion (compared to 48% for Thanksgiving and 53% for Christmas.)

Halloween Growth Strategy Example: Are Consumers Spooked?

I predict the persistent casual nature of this holiday will make it a holiday growth strategy example for years to come.

Halloween Growth Strategy Example:
Apparitions of Adult Costumes

Unlike previous years, my research into Halloween costumes yielded more results for adults than children. Americans say they value funny, simple and unique costumes.

Halloween Growth Strategy Example: Are Consumers Spooked?

But, based on my findings, I have one question:

“Is every adult woman going to dress up as either Barbie or Taylor Swift in 2023?”

Wednesday Addams makes a return from 2022, as a naturally spooky fit for Halloween. And characters from the Mario franchise are also popular (yes, for adults as well as children). Men are still channeling their inner Maverick from Top Gun, or dressing as Ken to pair up with their ladies.

Halloween Growth Strategy Example: Are Consumers Spooked?

Halloween Growth Strategy Example:
Haunting Home Décor

If consumers aren’t hosting parties, how are they spending their Halloween budget? In large part, the answer is on home décor. In 2022, more was spent on Halloween decorations ($3.4B) than on candy.

Home décor trends in 2023 are “spooktacularly stylish,” and creepy-chic, including:

  1. Sophisticated palettes
  2. Macabre minimalism
  3. Natural gothic elements
  4. Focus on the fireplace
  5. Vintage décor

Halloween Growth Strategy Example:
For Kids, It’s All About the Treat

Candy! There’s no ignoring the power of sweet treats when it comes to Halloween. Last October, YouGov released the top 20 Halloween treats, according to kids.

Halloween Growth Strategy Example: Are Consumers Spooked?

Chocolate candy topped the list, with gummy bears taking sixth place. Compared to adults, though, kids are much more likely to prefer sour, non-chocolate candies.

Halloween Growth Strategy Example: Are Consumers Spooked?

I conducted a small focus group with the Cullen children around the dinner table about kids’ candy preferences. No one guessed Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups would top the list, but they nodded heads in agreement with the choice once it was revealed. They were surprised that Tootsie Rolls didn’t make it into the top 20 (at school, this is a popular allergy-friendly option). They were incredulous that, by and large, adults don’t care for Sour Patch in all its incarnations.

As a growth strategy example, Halloween 2023 will likely deliver more treats than tricks (and that’s not just witch-ful thinking). After the pandemic, the holiday exploded in both popularity and spending, blowing past previous records by over a billion dollars. In the last decade, Halloween spending has increased over three billion dollars. Retailers should expect Halloween demand to haunt their shelves for years to come.

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