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Consumer Trends
Record Number of Americans to Buy Halloween Costumes
For immediate release
September 24, 2014

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NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay says, "There’s no question that the variety of adult, child and even pet costumes now available has driven the demand and popularity of Halloween among consumers of all ages. And, with the holiday falling on a Friday this year, we fully expect there will be a record number of consumers taking to the streets, visiting haunted houses and throwing unforgettable celebrations."

Spooky and Scary Alike, Record Number of Americans to Buy Halloween Costumes This Year, According to NRF

Washington, September 24, 2014 – More costumes than ever will be flying off the shelves as Americans gear up to celebrate the spookiest holiday of the year, according to NRF’s Halloween Consumer Spending Survey conducted by Prosper Insights & Analytics. More than two-thirds (67.4%) of celebrants will buy Halloween costumes for the holiday, the most in the survey’s 11-year history. The average person will spend $77.52 this Halloween, compared to $75.03 last year. Total spending on Halloween this year will reach $7.4 billion.*

“As one of the fastest-growing consumer holidays, Halloween has retailers of all shapes and sizes preparing their stores and websites for the busy fall shopping season,” said NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay. “There’s no question that the variety of adult, child and even pet costumes now available has driven the demand and popularity of Halloween among consumers of all ages. And, with the holiday falling on a Friday this year, we fully expect there will be a record number of consumers taking to the streets, visiting haunted houses and throwing unforgettable celebrations.”

Party-goers will splurge on spooky and fun garb to wear this year as $2.8 billion will be spent on costumes overall. Specifically, celebrants will shell out $1.1 billion on children’s costumes, and $1.4 billion on adult costumes. It is clear Fido and Fluffy will not be forgotten: Americans will spend $350 million on costumes for their furry friends.

Candy and greeting cards alike will be popular items this season, as consumers will spend $2.2 billion on candy this year and 35.9 percent of people will be sending Halloween greeting cards. With Americans planning to spend $2 billion on decorations for the frightful holiday, life-size ghosts, pumpkins and festive décor will be aplenty on lawns and doorsteps throughout the country.

Consumers will celebrate the holiday in many different ways, but topping the list of planned activities is handing out candy (71.1%), while others will decorate their homes and yards (46.7%), and dress in costume (45.8%). One-third of Americans will be throw or attend a party (33.4%), which is up from last year (30.9%).

Much like last year, consumers will hit the stores and the Internet early to get the first pick of costumes and candy. According to the survey, nearly one-third of celebrants (32.1%) say they will start their Halloween shopping before the first of October. And, while 43.3 percent of celebrants kick off their shopping in the first two weeks of October, one-quarter (24.6%) will wait until the last minute and shop the last two weeks of October.

While the bulk of Americans will look for costume inspiration online (34.2%) or in a retail store or costume shop (33%), Pinterest is a growing source of inspiration this year. The survey found 11.4 percent of Americans will turn to Pinterest for costume ideas, up from 9.3 percent last year. Young adults will drive the most Pinterest traffic: 21.2 percent of 18-24 year olds will turn to the popular site for ideas, as will 21.0 percent of 25-34 year olds.

“Social media is a great tool for consumers to find inspiration for all of their Halloween activities, including finding tips for decorating their homes and yards, looking for personal and even family costume ideas, and even finding the best deals from retailers,” said Prosper Insights Principal Analyst Pam Goodfellow. “As the popularity of Halloween continues to grow to unseen levels, there is no doubt that Americans this year will find ways to get in the spirit, looking for affordable, fun ways to celebrate with their families.”

For some consumers the U.S. economy is still top-of-mind. According to the survey, 18.8 percent say the state of the U.S. economy will impact their Halloween spending plans. Specifically, nearly two in five (19.7%) of those impacted will utilize their creative skills and make their own costumes rather than buying a new one this Halloween.

About the survey

NRF’s 2014 Halloween Consumer Spending Survey was designed to gauge consumer behavior and shopping trends related to Halloween spending. The survey was conducted for NRF by Prosper Insights & Analytics. The poll of 6,332 consumers was conducted September 2-8, 2014. The consumer poll has a margin of error of plus or minus 1.3 percentage points.

Prosper Insights and Analytics delivers executives timely, consumer-centric insights from multiple sources. As a comprehensive resource of information, Prosper represents the voice of the consumer and provides knowledge to marketers regarding consumer views on the economy, personal finance, retail, lifestyle, media and domestic and world issues. www.ProsperDiscovery.com

NRF is the world’s largest retail trade association, representing discount and department stores, home goods and specialty stores, Main Street merchants, grocers, wholesalers, chain restaurants and Internet retailers from the United States and more than 45 countries. Retail is the nation’s largest private sector employer, supporting one in four U.S. jobs — 42 million working Americans. Contributing $2.6 trillion to annual GDP, retail is a daily barometer for the nation’s economy. NRF’s This is Retail campaign highlights the industry’s opportunities for life-long careers, how retailers strengthen communities, and the critical role that retail plays in driving innovation. nrf.com

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