Arts & Entertainment

Halloween: Decorating, Spending in Scotch Plains-Fanwood and Throughout U.S. Tops $7 Billion

Haunted Helen Street. Spooky decorations fill this front yard in Fanwood. Credits: John Mooney
Despite improved consumer confidence, total Halloween spending is expected to shrink, following record-high sales in 2014. Credits: IBISWorld
Graveyard Halloween decorations on North Avenue in Fanwood. Credits: John Mooney
Overall, Halloween spending is expected to decline 4.1 percent in 2015, but should still reach $7 billion overall. Credits: IBISWorld
Halloween spending in comparison to previous years (data retrieved from IBISWorld). Credits: IBISWorld
Halloween decorations on Ashbrook Drive in Scotch Plains. Credits: John Mooney

SCOTCH PLAINS-FANWOOD, NJ - IBISWorld, an industry market research company, predicts more than $7 billion in Halloween sales this year. The study is broken down into items that consumers will purchasee, including costumes, candy, decorations, and greeting cards.

Consumers ages of 18 to 24 represent the largest market for Halloween products. According to a recent survey conducted by the National Retail Federation (NRF), 81.7% of consumers aged 18-24 plan to engage in Halloween celebrations in 2015, compared with 64.0 percent of adults across all age groups.

Despite the holiday falling on a Saturday and improved consumer confidence levels, total Halloween spending is expected to shrink this year, following record-high sales in 2014. Overall, Halloween spending is expected to decline 4.1 percent in 2015, mostly due to lower participation in Halloween festivities as estimated by the NRF.

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Pop-up stores, specialty retailers that operate only during holiday seasons, are a particularly important retail channel for Halloween shoppers. According to the NRF, just under a third of Halloween shoppers plan to purchase costumes and decorations from pop-up stores this year. Discount stores, pop-up stores and mass-merchandisers such as Walmart remain the largest retail channels for Halloween products in 2015. According to a survey by the International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC), online sales are expected to account for just 7.0% of Halloween spending this year.

More candy is purchased during the Halloween season than during any other major holiday. According to survey data from the NRF, the vast majority (93.7%) of Halloween shoppers are expected to buy candy for friends and family, or to hand out during trick-or-treating on Halloween night.

Although Halloween falls on a Saturday this year, fewer households are expected to purchase candy for trick-or-treating in 2015, in contrast to record-high participation levels in 2014. In fact, the production of candy has declined during the past five years as a whole, driven by rising health consciousness and reduced consumption of high-sugar snacks, even during candy-centric holidays such as Halloween and Easter.

Nonetheless,shoppers are likely to spend more on brand name chocolate and candy products in 2015 than in previous years. According to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, candy prices have remained relatively stable from mid-2011 to late 2014, but both retailers and manufacturers have increased prices since the beginning of 2015. In addition to seeing higher price tags on candy and chocolate, consumers are likely to face higher prices on other holiday-themed snacks, seasonal beverages and ingredients for homemade party appetizers. Overall, candy sales are expected to reach $2.3 billion during this holiday season, down slightly from $2.4 billion in 2014.

As with all other categories, spending on costumes and decorations is expected to decline this year, following record-high spending in 2014. According to the NRF, 66.5% of consumers plan to purchase decorations in 2015, down from 68.8% in 2014. Furthermore, households who plan to decorate their homes for Halloween are expected to spend less on decorations in 2015 than in previous years.

The growing prevalence of Pinterest and other idea-sharing sites has encouraged many households to make their own holiday decorations, instead of purchasing premade ones from specialty Halloween or party stores. Meanwhile, overall spending on costumes, including sales of adult, children and pet costumes, is expected to decline 11.5% to $2.5 billion in 2015.

While premium greeting cards have aided sales in recent years, the industry has been slowly contracting over the past decade due to the rising popularity of e-cards and personal posts made via social media. 

 In fact, just over a third of Halloween shoppers are expected to purchase greeting cards in 2015 (according to the NRF survey), down from a 38.9% share in 2011. Overall, greeting card sales are expected to decrease 7.9% to $332 million in 2015.

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