Americans’ enthusiasm for celebrating Halloween is only growing, and they’re poised to spend a record $9.1 billion on costumes, candy, decorations and cards — 8.3% more than last year’s previous record of $8.4 billion, according to research from National Retail Federation and Prosper Insights & Analytics that was emailed to Retail Dive.
Consumers are expected to spend, on average, $86.13 each, up from last year’s $82.93; some 179 million Americans plan to participate in Halloween celebrations of some kind, up from 171 million last year, according to the report.
The economy’s helping, or at least not getting much in the way: just 12.9% say the economy will slow their Halloween spending, down from 14.1% last year and well below 2011’s peak of 32.1%.
When it comes to Halloween, the big money is in costumes, and across the U.S. people of all ages — and their pets — dress up for the creepy, sugar-fueled fun; 69% of Halloween shoppers buy costumes. More than 3.7 million children plan to dress as their favorite action character or superhero, 2.9 million as Batman characters and another 2.9 million as their favorite princess, while 2.2 million will take a more traditional route and dress as a cat, dog, monkey or other animal, the survey found.
A record number of adults (48%) are dressing up this year, too. More than 5.8 million adults plan to dress like a witch, 3.2 million as their favorite Batman character, 3 million as an animal, and, taking from what was once a children’s favorite, 2.8 million as a pirate. The affection Americans have for their pets, which is leading them to spend more on them every year, includes dressing them up —10% will dress their animal in a pumpkin costume, 7% will dress their cat or dog as a hot dog and 4% as a dog, lion or pirate.
In all this year, consumers plan to spend $3.4 billion on costumes, $2.7 billion on candy (95% of shoppers buy candy), $2.7 billion on decorations (72%) and $410 million on greeting cards (37%).
The NRF and Prosper also found that 71% plan to hand out candy, 49% will decorate their home, 48% will wear costumes, 46% will carve a pumpkin, 35% will throw or attend a party, 31% will take their children trick-or-treating, 23% will visit a haunted house and 16% will dress pets in costumes.
As with most other retail, e-commerce is driving an increasing level of Halloween shopping — although Halloween consumers appear to be going online more for research than to buy — and social media is emerging as an important discovery tool: 35% say they’ll find their inspiration for the perfect costume online, while 30% will look in stores, 20% will ask friends and family, 18% will look to Facebook or Pinterest, 17% will be influenced by pop culture and 14% by print media.
Halloween shoppers are after deals, the survey found. Nearly half (47%) go to discount stores, while 38% will go to a specialty Halloween store or costume store. Convenience is likely driving the quarter who will visit supermarkets for their Halloween supplies; another near-quarter (24%) will buy at department stores and 22% will shop online.