Halloween Spending To Reach $6.9 Billion, NRF Reports

Retailers can grab a piece of the pie with a smart social strategy and in-store promotions.

Break out the candy corn and jack-o-lanterns: 157 million Americans plan to celebrate Halloween this year, according to the National Retail Federation’s Halloween Consumer Spending Survey, with total spending reaching $6.9 billion. Personal spending will hover around $74.34.

Needless to say, that’s quite a chunk of change — and with 32 percent of consumers saying they plan to start their costume and décor shopping before October, it pays for retailers to get started on Halloween-themed experiences now.


“Retailers of all shapes and sizes will [find success] welcoming millions of shoppers with promotions on candy and decorations and of course, costumes,” said Matthew Shay, NRF President and CEO.

As far as what retailers can do to draw in the celebratory seasonal shopper, unique in-store experiences can provide a big boost. Halloween in particular is all about atmosphere, so stores can see a return on everything from decorating with appropriately “spooky” décor to hosting a fun in-store costume contest.

This goes for retailers who don’t sell products typically associated with Halloween, too; Chipotle’s annual “Boorito” event gives freebie burritos to customers who show up in costume — and then they often spend additional dollars once they’re there.

Finally, the NRF stresses the importance of social media marketing around the holiday, as tying social posts to a real-time holiday or event is shown to boost sales. Pinterest, in particular, is an important tool for retailers to leverage around this time of year, with close to a quarter of Millennials using the site for costume inspiration.

“After a long summer, consumers are eager to embrace fall and all of the celebrations that come with it,” Shay said. “With a bit more confidence in their finances and still enjoying the perks of low gas prices, we expect those celebrating Halloween this year will look for several different activities to do with their family and friends.”

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Lauryn Chamberlain Lauryn Chamberlain @laurynchamberla

Lauryn Chamberlain is the Associate Editor of A New York City based journalist, she specializes in stories related to retail, dining, hospitality, and travel.