Americans spend frightenting amounts of money during the Halloween holiday and in recent years it has been growing. And this year is expected to be no different. But what they're spending it on is worth exploring.
Between 2012 and 2015, Americans spent nearly $30 billion preparing for Halloween, according to National Retail Federation data. Spending hit a peak in 2016 at $8.4 billion, with each buyer spending more than $80. However, as we near Halloween 2017, the NRF is gearing up for what it believes will be another "all-time high" in spending (since it began conducting its annual survey in 2005).
The NRF is projecting this year's spending to hit $9.1 billion or $86.13 per person.
Seventy percent of Americans planning to celebrate Halloween also plan on handing out candy, NRF reported. Forty-eight percent plan on decorating their homes and yards and 47 percent plan on buying costumes.
In 2015, people spent about $2.5 billion for Halloween costumes, with adults spending more on their own costumes than their children's. This year, NRF anticipates 67 percent of all Halloween expenditures will go to costumes, which amounts to about $5.6 billion.
The New Standard
American shoppers aren't wearing novelty cow costumes they pulled out of a package. They're being more creative. In the past four years, Halloween celebrators finding costume inspiration from Pinterest have increased 133 percent.
More than one-third use the internet to help them figure out their costumes. And once they've ironed out their outfits, where will they be getting them? The majority of Americans shopping for costumes will be hitting up discount stores (44.7 percent), specialty shops (36.4 percent), department stores (23.4 percent), online stores (21.8 percent) and clothing stores (10.2 percent).
American adults like dressing up for Halloween and as their increasing preference for creative design grows, so does their resistance to pre-packaged, pre-designed, I'm-going-to-look-like-everyone-else-who-bought-this costumes. It's why the NRF reported that so many more Americans are getting their costumes online and in department stores. They can buy them in pieces and assemble their own unique outfits. This is a big opportunity for apparel companies since it is more common than ever for costumes to come together from fashions that can go right back into the closet.
Capture the Market
The opportunity for fashion retail is in leaning into that trend. Performance marketing strategies should align with seasonal keywords to stay top of mind with high-intentioned consumers. Competition for holiday shoppers is tough, which is why stores need to take an effort to stand out.
"One of the worst things that a store can do is have empty shelves. They need to fill that with something," Feinberg told NPR, suggesting something new rather than something old.
Buyers want options -- especially when they're putting together a particularly detailed or particularly eclectic costume.