Shoppers to Spend $56.31 on Halloween 2009, Economy Forcing Consumers to be Creative

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Accord­ing to the Nation­al Retail Federation's 2009 Hal­loween Con­sumer Inten­tions and Actions Sur­vey, con­duct­ed by BIGre­search, con­sumers are expect­ed to spend an aver­age of $56.31 on Hal­loween, down from $66.54 in 2008. Total spend­ing on the hol­i­day is expect­ed to reach $4.75 bil­lion.Consumer Spending logo

Near­ly one in three (29.6%) con­sumers say the state of the U.S. econ­o­my will impact their Hal­loween spend­ing plans. Of those who will be affect­ed, the largest major­i­ty (88.0%) plan to spend less over­all. Oth­ers say they will be buy­ing less can­dy (46.5%), using last year's dec­o­ra­tions with­out buy­ing new ones (35.4%), mak­ing cos­tumes instead of pur­chas­ing them (16.8%), reusing last year's cos­tumes (15.8%), and not par­tic­i­pat­ing in as many Hal­loween activ­i­ties such as haunt­ed hous­es or fall fes­ti­vals (26.4%).

"The econ­o­my has caught up to Hal­loween this year," said Tra­cy Mullin, Pres­i­dent and CEO, Nation­al Retail Fed­er­a­tion. "Since retail­ers know that Amer­i­cans will be look­ing to cel­e­brate on a bud­get, there's no doubt we will see cre­ative cos­tume and dec­o­rat­ing ideas in every price point imag­in­able."

As more evi­dence of just how per­va­sive the effect of the reces­sion has been, few­er peo­ple plan to cel­e­brate Hal­loween this year (62.1% vs. 64.5% last year), and those who are cel­e­brat­ing will par­tic­i­pate in few­er activ­i­ties. Accord­ing to the sur­vey, one-third (33.4%) will dress in cos­tume, com­pared to 35.3 per­cent last year. The num­ber of peo­ple carv­ing a pump­kin will also drop (42.4% com­pared to 44.6% last year). Addi­tion­al­ly, few­er peo­ple will throw or attend a par­ty (30.2% vs. 31.1% in 2008), vis­it a haunt­ed house (17.0% vs. 18.1% in 2008) and hand out can­dy (71.2% vs. 73.7% last year). Even with the advent of life-sized yard dec­o­ra­tions, which have become immense­ly pop­u­lar in recent years, few­er peo­ple plan to dec­o­rate their home or yard (47.3% vs. 50.3%).

Young adults, who were last year's big spenders for Hal­loween, plan to scale back dra­mat­i­cal­ly this year. Accord­ing to the sur­vey, the aver­age 18–24 year-old will spend $68.56 on the hol­i­day, com­pared to $86.59 last year and $81.91 in 2007.

"With part-time jobs more scarce and par­ents unable to help out finan­cial­ly, many young adults have been impact­ed sub­stan­tial­ly by the econ­o­my," said Phil Rist, Exec­u­tive Vice Pres­i­dent, Strate­gic Ini­tia­tives, BIGre­search. "The over­rid­ing theme for Amer­i­cans' Hal­loween cel­e­bra­tions this year will be, ‘How cre­ative can I be, and how lit­tle can I spend?'"

The sur­vey found con­sumers plan to spend an aver­age of $20.75 on cos­tumes, which includes children's and pets' cos­tumes, $17.99 on can­dy, $14.54 on dec­o­ra­tions and $3.02 on greet­ing cards.

"2009 Hal­loween Con­sumer Inten­tions and Actions Sur­vey," con­duct­ed by BIGre­search for the Nation­al Retail Fed­er­a­tion (NRF), Sep­tem­ber 29, 2009.  Web­site: www​.nrf​.com.