Local Festivals: 157M to Celebrate Halloween

Ready to embrace cooler weather, fall traditions and spirited celebrations, more than 157 million Americans Will Celebrate Halloween this year, according to the National Retail Federation‰Ûªs Halloween Consumer Spending Survey. The average person celebrating will spend $74.34, compared with $77.52 in 2014. Total spending on Halloween is expected to reach $6.9 billion.

‰ÛÏAfter a long summer, consumers are eager to embrace fall and all of the celebrations that come with it,‰Û NRF president and CEO Matthew Shay said. ‰ÛÏWith 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. Retailers of all shapes and sizes will welcome millions of shoppers with promotions on candy and decorations and of course, costumes.‰Û

Consumers celebrating Halloween plan to spend an average of $27.33 on costumes for the whole family, and a total of $2.5 billion on store-​bought, homemade, large and small costumes. Those celebrating will spend the most on adult costumes ($1.2 billion), and will spend a total of $950 million on children‰Ûªs costumes and $350 million on fashionable and fun costumes for their furry friends. It‰Ûªs estimated that 68 million Americans will dress up this Halloween and another 20 million pet owners will dress up their pet.

Nine in 10 (93.7%) Halloween shoppers will buy candy, spending a total of $2.1 billion, and an additional 33.5% will buy greeting cards, spending a total of $330 million. Two in five celebrants (44.8%) plan to decorate their home or yard, meaning there‰Ûªs no question consumers will see their fair share of pumpkins, hay bales and even life-​size Minions and black cats strewn across their neighborhoods. The average person planning to buy decorations will spend $20.34 with total spending expected to reach $1.9 billion.

When it comes to how consumers plan to celebrate, most will hand out candy (67.8%), or dress in costume (43.5%), though there will be no shortage of jack-​o-​lanterns lighting up windows this year with 41% of people planning to carve pumpkins. Nearly one-​third of consumers (31.5%) plan to throw or attend a party with friends and family.

More consumers have decided to head to stores or shop online early to pick out costumes and decorations. More than one-​third of consumers (34.1%) will start their Halloween shopping before the first of October, up slightly from 32.1% last year, while 40.9% will get started in the first half of the month and one-​quarter of celebrants will wait for the final weeks of October.

‰ÛÏPeople shouldn‰Ûªt be too surprised when they see Halloween candy and decorations available in stores as early as September first,‰Û Prosper Insights Principal Analyst Pam Goodfellow said. ‰ÛÏGiven that more than a third of Americans enjoy taking advantage of early-​bird deals to kick off their fall celebrations, it seems there‰Ûªs plenty of appetite among consumers to enjoy a perfectly ‰Û÷frightful‰Ûª Halloween.‰Û

Similar to past years, the majority of consumers will find inspiration for their costumes online (31.4%) or will head to costume shops and retail stores (26.8%) before they make a final decision. Pinterest continues to grow in popularity among those looking for costume inspiration (13.3%), as this year‰Ûªs percentage is nearly double the amount who used the site for inspiration just three years ago (7.1%).

Millennials remain the drivers of Pinterest traffic around Halloween though with 24.9% of 18–24 year-​olds and 23.7% of 25–34 year-​olds using the site for costume inspiration.

Little yellow Minions, pint-​size Yodas and pretty pink princesses are planning a takeover this Halloween as consumers‰Ûª costume decisions shed light on an epic year for pop-​culture fanatics. According to NRF‰Ûªs 2015 Halloween Consumer Top Costumes Survey conducted by Prosper Insights & Analytics, Minions, ‰ÛÏStar Wars‰Û Characters each made an appearance on all three top costume lists ‰ÛÒ adults, children's and pets.

‰ÛÏAs we‰Ûªve seen for several years, Hollywood and pop culture both have a tremendous impact on how adults and their children decide to dress the part each Halloween, and it‰Ûªs evident some of the biggest news-​makers of the year will be out in full force this fall,‰Û said NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay.

Maintaining their 11 year reign, princess costumes will once again top the children‰Ûªs costume list with an estimated 3.2 million tiny tots looking to dress the part. Another 2 million will be their favorite Disney ‰ÛÏFrozen‰Û character. Additionally, more than 1.8 million children will don a ‰ÛÏStar Wars‰Û costume and 1 million will select a little yellow Minion costume as they take to the streets this Halloween.

For the 11th year in a row, a witch came in as the top adult costume with more than 4.3 million adults going with old reliable. ‰ÛÏStar Wars‰Û characters ranked 5th for adults this year after tying for 12th last year: 1.4 million adults will channel Han Solo, Princess Leia, Yoda or another beloved ‰ÛÏStar Wars‰Û character this Halloween. Animal characters (2.4 million), ‰ÛÏBatman‰Û characters (2 million) and zombie (1.9 million) round out the top five adult costumes. Additionally, 774 million adults to choose a political character as their preferred costume this year.

About one in 10 Halloween celebrants (12.9%) plan to dress their furry friends in costumes this year, and of the 80% of those surveyed who have already selected the costume, most (10.6%) will choose a little round pumpkin for Kitty and Rover. Additionally, several pet owners will opt to put their four-​legged friend in a ‰ÛÏStar Wars‰Û (8th on the list) or Minion costume (11th).

‰ÛÏIt‰Ûªs easier than ever for consumers to find creative Halloween costumes given the popularity of Pinterest and Instagram and the immediate access to pop culture trends,‰Û said Prosper Insights Principal Analyst Pam Goodfellow. ‰ÛÏIt‰Ûªs always a nice surprise to see what tops the lists each year and to see just how creative people will get when it comes to what their own and even their pets' costumes.‰Û

With all the Halloween parades and fall festivals happening, be sure to consider this audience: Local Community Festival Attendees. AudienceSCAN reported 17% of consumers plan to attend festivals in the next 12 months, and you can bet many of them will be shopping for Halloween goods and goodies in order to do so. During the past 30 days, they have used the Internet to:åÊVisit a local, state or federal government website (35.5%); and visit the website of a local newspaper (34%). Local Community Festival Attendees likely are looking for event times and dates on these sites, so be sure your advertisers are in these spots!

AudienceSCAN data is available as part of a subscription to AdMall for Agencies. Media companies can access AudienceSCAN data through the Audience Intelligence Reports inåÊAdMall.

Courtney Huckabay
Courtney is the Editor for SalesFuel Today. She analyzes secondary customer research and our primary AudienceSCAN research. Courtney is a graduate of Middle Tennessee State University.