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KEY POINTS

  • US Halloween spending is expected to reach $9.0 billion this year, according to the National Retail Federation’s (NRF) annual survey conducted by Prosper Insights & Analytics. This spending level ranks just under last year’s record $9.1 billion, which was the largest Halloween spend in the 14 years of survey data. 
  • Discount stores continue to be the top Halloween shopping destination, with 45% of survey respondents stating they will purchase their Halloween items in discount stores. 
  • Online searches inspire more than a third of costume ideas. Approximately 35% of consumers said they will find inspiration online, followed by 29% who will look for their ideas in stores. 
  • Dressing as a favorite princess steals the spot for most popular costume followed by last year’s winner of superhero. Witches continue to be popular with adults and 2018 has seen a surge in the number of people who will dress their pet in costume for the holiday. 

Halloween Spending to Approach Last Year’s Record High 

Total Halloween spending in the US is expected to reach $9.0 billion this year, down a small amount from last year’s record $9.1 billion, according to the NRF’s Annual Halloween Survey conducted by Prosper Insights & Analytics. The spending estimate is the second highest in the survey’s 14-year history. Moreover, 87.4% of those survey state the state of the economy will not affect their Halloween purchasing. 

Upwards of 175 million Americans plan to participate in Halloween this year (down slightly from 2017). US consumers are expected to spend an average $86.79, up from last year’s $86.13. Halloween shopping begins in September for 31.3% of respondents and builds to a crescendo in the first two weeks of October when 43.3% of participants begin their shopping, 19.6% shopping to the last two weeks of October. Only 5.8% of shoppers begin before September. Holiday participants plan to hand out candy (70%), decorate their home or yard (50%), wear a costume (48%), carve a pumpkin (45%), throw or attend a party (32%), take their children trick or treating (30%) and/-or visit a haunted house (21%).

Of the total $9.0 billion in anticipated spending this year, costumes will account for the biggest share, at $3.2 billion, followed by candy at $2.6 billion, decorations at $2.7 billion, and greeting cards at $400 million. The average spending on costumes is projected at $31.26; candy, $25.47; decorations, $26.21 and on greeting cards, $3.85. 

Discount Stores Continue to Be the Top Halloween Shopping Destination

Discount stores are expected to be the top Halloween shopping destination, continuing a trend seen over the past few years: 45% of survey respondents said they are going to shop at discount stores for Halloween items this year. Some 35% of those polled said they will shop at Halloween specialty or costume stores, while 25% plan to shop at department stores, 24% will buy online as well as in grocery/supermarket stores. 

A Favorite Princess Character is the Top Costume for Children, While Dressing as a Witch Wins Popularity with Adults. 

The NRF survey indicates that the top costume for children this year will be princess at 7.6% of survey respondents, followed by last year’s winner, the action/superhero at 4.9%. Dressing as a witch continues to be the #1 costume for adults for the 48% of celebrants planning to dress up. In sum 7.2 million adults plan to dress as a witch followed by the 2.5 million adults that plan to dress as a vampire. Many have plans to dress up their pets too; 11.2% of consumers surveyed said they will dress their pet as a pumpkin, while 7.4% will dress their cat or dog as a hot dog. The table below lists the top 10 Halloween costumes for children, adults and pets this year, according to NRF’s survey.

Dressing Up Your Pet Surges in Popularity This year

Approximately 18% of those celebrating Halloween this year plan to dress their pet in a costume, up from 16% last year. Prosper Insights notes that out of the 31.3 million Americans planning to dress their pets in costumes, millennials are the most likely to do so and this represents the largest population in the history of the surveys.

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