Savvy expects Halloween retail spending to reach £367m

Alastair Lockhart

Fri 26th Oct 2018

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Halloween continues to be one of the fastest growing retail events, with sales expected to reach £367m this year. More people are celebrating Halloween than ever before, and they are spending more too – not just on sweets for trick or treaters, but increasingly on parties and decorations. Rising adult expenditure on food and drinks is a key driver of growth.

With more and more emphasis on make up, costumes and decorations this year, shoppers have an insatiable appetite for inspiration. Retailer winners are likely to be those who can inspire shopper using digital and social channels and then effectively drive people to store to buy.

Key research findings:

Who plans to get involved?

  • 46 percent of all UK shoppers plan to get involved in Halloween celebrations this year.
  • 70 percent of parents said that they were highly likely or somewhat likely to get involved in the event. 33 percent of non-parents said they would be joining in this year.
  • 18-34 year olds will celebrate the event the most with 63 percent getting involved.

Of those engaging with the occasion, how are these Halloween shoppers planning to get involved?

  • The most common way (with 78 percent) of joining in is buying sweets, chocolate and other treats.
  • Decorating the house came in second place with 41 percent closely followed by purchasing fancy dress (40 percent).
  • 34 percent are planning on buying party food and 31 percent are making drinks purchases.
  • 19 percent plan on making a special themed tea or dinner for the family.
  • Going out trick or treating is on the cards for 35 percent of shoppers.
  • Making cakes or sweets is on the agenda for 30 percent.
  • 20 percent will be attending an organised event whilst 17 percent will be hosting a party of their own.
  • This year ten percent of shoppers will celebrate with colleagues at work.

Spending trends and market size (calculated by weighting shoppers’ reported spending intentions to all UK households, the research estimates the following):

  • This year, the market size for Halloween is estimated to reach £367m
  • The highest area of expenditure is expected to be on costumes and make up at £82m.

From the grocery retailer shoppers use most often, they’d like to see:

  • A dedicated Halloween aisle tops the wish list (cited by 59 percent) followed by bargain trick or treat bags (51 percent).
  • 49 percent want to see special products relating to the occasion and 35 percent of Halloween shoppers said they would like special event related discounts or coupons.
  • Activities handed out instore for children to do at home is of interest to 32 percent of Halloween shoppers and activities instore such as free face painting appeals to 26 percent.
  • Ideas for Halloween parties are on the wish list for 32 percent of Halloween shoppers.
  • Themed dinner/tea meal deals for dinners are desired by 25 percent

Where are shoppers looking for inspiration for things to do and buy for Halloween?

  • Shopper expectations are highest for supermarkets – with 68 percent looking to them for inspiration.
  • Google takes second place for inspiring shoppers (31 percent) and Facebook comes in joint third place with recommendations from friends, family and word of mouth with 29 percent apiece.
  • Parents and non-parents are tending to look for inspiration in similar places, with the exception of parents using food magazines, websites and forums such as Mumsnet more frequently.
  • 18-34 year olds are much more likely to find Halloween inspiration on social media or Google, whereas 55-74 year olds are more likely to use grocery retailers’ magazines and websites

Where will shoppers head to for their goods?

  • The research findings indicate that it’s very tight between the retailers this year. In the lead, is Asda with 52 percent of shoppers planning to visit the supermarket. Lidl, Aldi, Tesco and Sainsbury’s all tie for second place with 49 percent and Morrisons trails into third place with 47 percent.

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