With Halloween falling on a Tuesday this year, retailers were expecting to see a double spike in footfall, with a smaller increase in shopper traffic hitting the weekend before Halloween.
The average consumer spends £23 on Halloween-related sweets and food, decorations and costumes*. 48% of Brits have bought something for Halloween, with 40% saying they’ve increased spending on chocolate and sweets**. In 2016 Planet Retail rated UK Halloween spending at £330m, up from £12m in 2001 while Tesco predicted Halloween the figure this year will be closer to £400m, including party food and drink, with pumpkin sales performing well.
2016 saw Sainsbury’s reporting a 150% increase in adult fancy dress costume sales and was expecting to sell one million pumpkins this year, while Tesco predicted selling a whopping three million, a million more than 2014, thanks to better availability of the squash**.
As a nation, we pail into insignificance compared to our American cousins. Last year Americans spent around $7.4bn on Halloween, including splashing around $2bn on sweets and $350m on costumes… for pets. That’s more than the total spend in the UK last year**!
What drove footfall?
Dress-up including costume and make-up sales are always healthy, but Adult costume sales are increasing year-on-year. Gone are the days of dusting off last years Witch outfit or just throwing a bin liner over your shoulder and sticking a pair of cheap plastic fangs in, transforming you into a low-rent vampire! We are all familiar with the new scenario; kid’s trick or treating early evening then all the adults meet up for a party at the pub afterwards!
Halloween differs from Christmas, in that shopping for Halloween tends to happen in the week before the 31st, with Christmas shopping taking place over a much longer period. With that in mind, shoppers like the one-stop-shop approach that retailer have adopted for Halloween. ASDA, Sainsbury’s, Tesco, Morrisons and Wilko make a huge effort to own the occasion. All have become the go-to destinations for Halloween supplies, offering huge selection of goodies, all merchandised within the theatre of a decorated isle. Quite often supported by a strong online presence including make-up tutorial videos on Blogs and YouTube channels.
There are some stand-out examples of owning the occasion. 2017’s winner has to be the no expense spared, Saatchi & Saatchi created, Hollywood production value TV advert from ASDA (click on the image below if you missed it). Outstanding!
What were the trends for 2017?
Keeping on the theme of costumes and dress-up we saw an increased presence of Halloween within high street fashion retailers such as Topshop, H&M and River Island and as you’d expect the online retailers such as Missguided and Boohoo, also featured a lot of Halloween influenced items. These “on trend” retailers seemed to move away from the traditional themes, introducing a more edgy and contemporary look for Halloween. With less importance on a whole costume offerings, with more focus on accessorising.
This year more food brands have switched on to the potential of Halloween. The occasion allows brands “stretch”, meaning that they had the opportunity to get their products into the seasonal isle or into an area of the store that they won’t normally expect to be. All this helps give a bump (no pun intended) to sales figures in that quieter post summer – Pre-Christmas period.
We have helped Kerry Foods create some Ghoulish fun in the chiller with their Cheestrings Brand.
Some other great examples of seasonal “stretch” were the Cadbury’s Ghooost Eggs, who says Cream Eggs are just for Easter?!
Mr Kipling played with the flavours of their family favourites, introducing a range of Halloween inspires cakes and treats…always a winner here at WowMe.
Home décor took more prominence within all retailers this year. We all enjoy carving a pumpkin but more than ever there was a huge selection of off-the-shelf items to help you decorate your house. A lot of shelf space featured a more glamorous range of products, with a focus on the less traditional gold and glitter finishes. Is this a move to make Halloween less tacky and a bit more glam?
A few years ago ASDA had great PR coverage and success with their exclusive range of inflatable winged Halloween costumes. Although we haven’t seen other retailers following with similar products we saw all retailers offering more animated products. The days of a simple Trick or Treat evening with a carved pumpkin and some boiled sweets are long gone, Halloween is becoming a far more theatrical outing with both tricksters and homeowners all raising their game. Although animated doorbells and Spider projectors have been good sellers for retailers again this year, we predict that CGI and more animated projections are going to become more and more popular.
With more being spent year-on-year, with retailers rising to the challenge of ever discerning consumer demands, it appears that whatever the current economic status is we are falling in love with Halloween. We may never reach the dizzy heights of the USA on spend, but there’s a lot less of us here. But we are certainly embracing the occasion.
Consumers love it, retailers love that consumers love it. Surely that can only be a good thing for the cash registers!
Brands shouldn’t ignore Halloween’s potential.