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Ghouls and Ghosts Galore: 158 Million Americans to Celebrate Halloween in 2013


Fewer Americans plan to celebrate the Halloween this year, but it still has quite a following, with nearly 158 million consumers saying that they will participate in Halloween activities, slightly less than the survey high of 170 million people last year. This news comes to us courtesy of the National Retail Federation’s (NRF) Halloween Spending Survey conducted by Prosper Insights & Analytics.

Those celebrating will also trim their budgets, with the average celebrant expected to spend $75.03 on décor, costumes, candy, and fun, down from $79.82 last year. Overall, average spending on Halloween has increased 54.7 percent since 2005, with total spending estimated to reach $6.9 billion in 2013 among U.S. adults 18 years and older.

“Still one of the most beloved and anticipated consumer holidays, Halloween will be far from a bust this year,” said NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay. “After a long summer, the arrival of fall will put millions of Americans in the spirit to partake in traditional and festive activities. Retailers recognize that when it comes to Halloween, consumers’ creativity abounds. We expect retailers to stock their shelves with unique costume ideas for adults, children and pets, a variety of candy options and never-seen-before home and yard decor.”

One of the most cherished parts of the consumer holiday – dressing in costume – will once again be popular with celebrants. According to the survey, 43.6 percent of people plan to dress up and will spend a total of $2.6 billion on traditional and awe-inspiring costumes. Specifically, consumers will shell out $1.04 billion on children’s costumes, and $1.22 billion on adult costumes.

When it comes to pets, 13.8 percent of those celebrating will take the extra time to find the perfect costume for their favorite four-legged friend, and will spend approximately $330 million.

Additionally, celebrants will spend $2.08 billion on candy and $360 million on greeting cards. Second only to Christmas in terms of spending on decorations, Americans will spend $1.96 billion on life-size skeletons, fake cob webs, mantle pieces, and other festive decorations.

For the first time, NRF asked when people will begin shopping for Halloween. According to the survey, nearly one-third (32.8 percent) begin shopping before September 30. An additional 67.2 percent of consumers will shop in October. Specifically, 43.6 percent will begin the first two weeks in October and 23.6 percent will wait until the final two weeks of the month.

When it comes to inspiration for costume ideas, one-third (32.9 percent) will search for costume ideas online, another third (32.8 percent) will look for new ideas in a store, and one-fifth (20.8 percent) will seek advice from friends or family. Additionally, 14.1 percent will check Facebook for inspiration and 3.8 percent will review blogs.

Nearly one in 10 (9.3 percent) will scour the visually-appealing Pinterest for costume ideas, up from 7.1 percent last year. Of those buying or making costumes, the average person will spend $27.85 similar to the $28.65 spent last year.

There are a variety of ways Americans will celebrate this year, with handing out candy being the most popular (72 percent). Others will carve a pumpkin (44.2 percent), visit a haunted house (20.3 percent), take their child trick-or-treating (31.7 percent) and decorate their home and/or yard (47.5 percent). Three in 10 (30.9 percent) will make the most of the holiday by attending or hosting a party.

Despite the anticipation of the popular fall event, one-fourth of U.S. consumers (25.2 percent) say the state of the economy will impact their Halloween spending plans — nearly nine in 10 (86.1 percent) will spend less overall, up slightly from 83.5 percent last year. Additionally, 32.7 percent will buy less candy and 18.1 percent will make a costume instead of buying one.

NRF’s 2013 Halloween Consumer Spending Survey was designed to gauge consumer behavior and shopping trends related to Halloween spending. The poll of 5,290 consumers was conducted September 3-10, 2013. The consumer poll has a margin of error of plus or minus 1.3 percentage points.

For more Halloween statistics see the data offered by the Retail Insight Center.

Article courtesy of the National Retail Federation.


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