NRF

Two full months before Christmas, the biggest retail holiday of the year, Halloween is armed and ready to scare up some mighty profitable sales for children, pets and adults with decorations, candy and costumes—as the year’s second-largest commercial holiday. According to the National Retail Federation, total spending for Halloween will reach $8.8 billion in 2019, with more than 175 million Americans planning to partake in Halloween festivities.

“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,” noted NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay, in the organization’s annual survey conducted by Prosper Insights & Analytics. “Retailers expect to have another strong Halloween season and have stocked up on candy, decorations and the season’s most popular costumes.”

Shoppers say they will spend an average $86.27, down just slightly from last year’s record $86.79. The total of $8.8 billion is expected to be the third-highest in the survey’s 15-year history, after a record $9.1 billion in 2017. Some 68% of those surveyed plan to celebrate Halloween.

Online search remains the top source of Halloween inspiration, cited by 35% of consumers surveyed, followed by browsing in stores at 28%, and ideas from friends and family at 20%. Inspiration from social media has increased across several platforms since 2015: Pinterest was cited by 18%, up from 13% in 2015; 14% cited both YouTube (up from 8%) and Instagram (up from 7%).

According to the survey, consumers plan to spend $3.2 billion on costumes (purchased by 67% of Halloween shoppers), $2.6 billion on candy (95%), $2.7 billion on decorations (72%) and $390 million on greeting cards (34%). And 17% will dress their pets in costume.

To buy Halloween merchandise, 42% of shoppers will go to a discount store, 36% to a specialty Halloween or costume store, 25% will shop online, another 25% will go to a grocery store and 23% will visit a department store.

The survey of 7,419 consumers was conducted Sept. 3-10.