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The Multi-Billion-Dollar Retail Business of Halloween

A closer look at the trends emerging from the global Halloween industry.

Halloween in America is an estimated $8.8 billion industry, with 175 million U.S. consumers spending an estimated $86.79 each on candy, costumes and decorations at retail in 2018, according to NRF.

To put the size of Halloween business into perspective, the total estimated Halloween spend in the U.K. is £500 million. America spends the same amount on seasonal dog costumes (Business Insider). This is a huge licensing opportunity for brands globally.

In terms of licensing itself, outside of the national candy spend, dressing up and costumes made up $3.7 billion of the $9 billion estimated spend in 2018; with “Avengers,” “Star Wars” and “Batman” among the top ranked costumes (The Balance).

“Spending hasn’t changed much over the past few years, but we are seeing a noticeable increase in consumers whose Halloween purchases are inspired by their friends, neighbors and even celebrities on social media,” says Matthew Shay, president, chief executive officer, NRF. “Retailers expect to have another strong Halloween season and have stocked up on candy, decorations and the season’s most popular costumes.”

In terms of retail, the NRF estimates costume spend to be $3.2 billion in 2019, with millions of consumers heading to discount stores (47 percent), specialty Halloween stores (36 percent), grocery (25 percent), department (23 percent) and online retail (25 percent) according to the survey breakdown.

The NRF survey also found that the top children’s dress-up options include Princess (7.9 percent), Superhero (6 percent), Spider-Man (5.2 percent), Avengers character (3.9 percent), Batman (3.5 percent), Witch (3.3 percent), Ghost (2.8 percent), Vampire (2.2 percent), Frozen characters (2.2 percent) and Pirate (2.1 percent).
The adult dress-up space, which uncovered 1.8 million people planning purchase a superhero costume this year, found 2 percent of adults would choose an “Avengers” character with 1.7 additional percent opting for “Spider-Man”.

America leads the market in terms of Halloween celebrations, with Europe building more and more interest in the holiday. Brands from Universal – who today introduced streetwear fashion options built on the Universal Monsters – to Smiffy’s offer more ways to get involved in the October festivities.

In the U.K. Halloween spending on kids are an estimated £365 m. In a survey conducted by Kids Insights, the research is based on the results from surveying 5,000 British children (separated into two groups: ages 3-12 and 13-18) in the twelve weeks between July and Sept. 2019.

In the study, Kids Insights discovered the average child will spend £29.50 on Halloween-related items this year.

Costumes are the biggest purchase for kids. The average spent is £.7.40 on their scary costume - total spending on Halloween costumes by kids will amount to £91.6m. Sweets and Chocolate are the second highest expenditure for kids - £5.80 per child (£72m in total). Halloween decorations £4.90 on decorations. Pumpkin spending by all kids will amount to £52m ,while the average child spends £4.20.

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