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Consumer Trends

The (not so) spooky stats for Halloween 2013

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As seasons change, so does consumer behavior. At the first sign of fall, many consumers search the web for the nearest corn maze, revamp their fall wardrobe, or head to the corner coffee shop for the pumpkin spiced latte they’ve been craving for months. And for some, the crisp air and colorful trees means their favorite holiday is just around the corner. 

According to NRF’s Halloween Spending Survey, 158 million Americans will celebrate the holiday, down slightly from last year’s high of 170 million people. Total spending on costumes, treats, festivities, and, yes, even pets will reach $6.9 billion, compared to $8 billion last year.

Are there reasons for this decline? Higher payroll taxes coupled with a weak economy and mediocre job growth are causing consumers to tighten their budgets. As National Retail Federation President and CEO Matthew Shay noted on CNBC, we’re living in an “either/or” economy. Consumers may purchase big ticket items or discretionary items but not both. For the 25 percent of adults who said the economy will impact their spending plans, the haunted holiday may not make the cut this year. But there’s no reason to be spooked. Average spending on Halloween has still increased 55 percent since 2005, and this year’s spending forecast is slightly higher than 2011. Shay says, “Halloween will be far from a bust this year.”

Perhaps this can be linked to young adults, who prove that Halloween isn’t just for kids. Seven in 10 18-24 year-olds surveyed said they plan to put on a costume this year. And those in their late 20s to early 30s are still in the Halloween spirit: 65 percent said they will also wear a costume. Spending on adult costumes is expected to reach $1.2 billion this year, slightly higher than the $1 billion for children’s costumes. While adult costumes typically have higher price tags, this shows Halloween is a holiday for adults, too. But that’s not all – millennials have plans to celebrate in more ways than one. Many will throw or attend a party (52 percent), carve pumpkins (47 percent), visit a haunted house (36 percent), and even dress up their four-legged friends (20 percent).

Yes, you heard that correctly – Americans love to spoil their pets, and Halloween is no exception. This year, 22 million people will play dress-up with their pets, spending an estimated $330 million on costumes for their furry friends. Looking for ideas for your cat or dog? Pinterest has some fabulous pet costume boards, a resource where one in 10 plan to look for inspiration.

Looking for more scary stats? The Retail Insight Center has a cornucopia of Halloween data.