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Higher prices for Halloween-related products such as candy and costume accessories won't stop consumers from buying them, according to a new report by The Nielsen Company.
"For many consumers, the most frightening part of Halloween may be higher prices," said Tom Pirovano, director of industry insights for Nielsen. "That said, few parents will deny their children the fun of dressing up and trick-or-treating, so we expect sales to remain strong."
Candy prices are averaging $3.59, up 10 cents, while chocolate candy print points are up just over 17 cents, to an average $4.22. Costume hair coloring products prices are showing the greatest increase, averaging $4.42, which is up $2.46 or 126 percent versus last year.
The eight-week period leading up to and including Halloween accounts for nearly 90 percent of costume hair coloring annual sales, and approximately 25 percent of false eyelash and accessory sales. False nails and nail decorations, which sell year-round -- rack up only 15 percent of their annual dollar sales during the Halloween season.
Consumers will buy more than $1.9 billion in candy during the Halloween season, with chocolate candy accounting for $1.2 billion and non-chocolate candy accounting for nearly $672 million.
"Despite the wide varieties of candies available, there's no doubt that chocolate remains king," said Pirovano. "Chocolate miniatures, in particular, experience a high surge of sales around Halloween that is hard to match other times of the year."
More than one-third (35 percent) of total annual sales of chocolate miniatures take place during the Halloween season, according to Nielsen's analysis. Likewise, 36 percent of non-chocolate miniatures, 25 percent of lollipops, and 18 percent of bubble gum sales occur during the same time frame.
Whether due to procrastination or an attempt to get the best deals, consumers tend to wait until the last minute to purchase Halloween candy. From early October to Halloween, weekly candy sales more than double -- from $196 million to $436 million, with the most candy sales occurring on October 28.
"In today's tough economy, it's very possible we will see more consumers waiting to buy candy, as budget conscious consumers wait for the biggest bargains," predicted Pirovano.