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Nearly 158 million consumers will participate in Halloween activities this year, down slightly from 170 million last year, according to NRF’s Halloween Spending Survey conducted by Prosper Insights & Analytics.
Those celebrating also will trim their budgets, with the average consumer expected to spend $75.03 on décor, costumes, candy and fun, down from $79.82 last year. Overall, average spending on Halloween has increased 54.7 percent since 2005, with total spending estimated to reach $6.9 billion in 2013.
“Still one of the most beloved and anticipated consumer holidays, Halloween will be far from a bust this year,” said Matthew Shay, NRF president and CEO. “After a long summer, the arrival of fall will put millions of Americans in the spirit to partake in traditional and festive activities.”
“Retailers recognize that when it comes to Halloween, consumers’ creativity abounds,” Shay noted. “We expect retailers to stock their shelves with unique costume ideas for adults, children and pets, a variety of candy options and never-seen-before home and yard decor.”
Dressing in costume will once again be popular with consumers this year. According to the survey, 43.6 percent of people plan to dress up and will spend a total of $2.6 billion. Specifically, consumers will shell out $1.04 billion on children’s costumes and $1.22 billion on adult costumes. About 13.8 percent of those celebrating will take the extra time to find a costume for their pets, and will spend approximately $330 million.
Additionally, celebrants will spend $2.08 billion on candy and $360 million on greeting cards. Second only to Christmas in terms of spending on decorations, Americans will spend $1.96 billion on life-size skeletons, fake cob webs, mantle pieces and other festive decorations.
For the first time, NRF asked when people will begin shopping for Halloween. According to the survey, nearly one-third (32.8 percent) begin shopping before Sept. 30. An additional 67.2 percent of consumers will shop in October. Specifically, 43.6 percent will begin the first two weeks in October and 23.6 percent will wait until the final two weeks of the month.
When it comes to inspiration for costume ideas, one-third (32.9 percent) will search for costume ideas online, another third (32.8 percent) will look for new ideas in a store, and one-fifth (20.8 percent) will seek advice from friends or family. Additionally, 14.1 percent will check Facebook for inspiration and 3.8 percent will review blogs. Nearly one in 10 (9.3 percent) will scour Pinterest for costume ideas, up from 7.1 percent last year. Of those buying or making costumes, the average person will spend $27.85, similar to the $28.65 spent last year.
There are a variety of ways Americans will celebrate this year, with handing out candy being the most popular (72 percent). Others will carve a pumpkin (44.2 percent), visit a haunted house (20.3 percent), take their child trick-or-treating (31.7 percent) and decorate their home and/or yard (47.5 percent). Three in 10 (30.9 percent) will attend or host a party.
Despite the anticipation of the popular fall event, one-fourth of U.S. consumers (25.2 percent) say the state of the economy will impact their Halloween spending plans -- nearly nine in 10 (86.1 percent) will spend less overall, up slightly from 83.5 percent last year. Additionally, 32.7 percent will buy less candy and 18.1 percent will make a costume instead of buying one.
NRF represents retailers of all types and sizes, including chain restaurants and industry partners, from the United States and more than 45 countries abroad.