It might be an evening where ghouls and ghosts come out to play, but there’s nothing scary about Halloween for retailers. The spooky holiday is predicted to contribute £320 million to the economy this year and Halloween fever has taken over the high street.
It hasn’t always been this way, once deemed the holiday of our American friends across the pond, Halloween hasn’t always brought in so much to the UK economy. In 2013, the estimated UK retail value for Halloween stood at £230m. However, in the space of just four years, this has grown by 35%, with retail sales hitting £310m in 2016. And it’s predicted to grow another 3.2% this year. So what’s bucked the trend?
The mark of the millennial
Millennials often bear the brunt of many trends in spending, and Halloween is no different. The rise of Halloween in pop culture, from Stranger Things to pumpkin spiced lattes has left millennials as the demographic most likely to spend big this Halloween. And the fact that millennials make up 66% of all consumers globally mean they have a huge impact on customer trends.
In 2016, close to half (46%) of the population spent money on Halloween products and almost a third (29%) of us bought Halloween products on a whim. And the demographics most likely to impulse buy? Millennials (especially those aged between 27 and 36) with 30% of this group likely to make impulse buys on Halloween.
So what does this mean?
How Halloween is marketed has fundamentally changed. Once upon a time it was targeted at trick-or-treating children and their parents, but now Halloween has grown up a little. Alongside the synthetic wigs and smiling pumpkins, there’s more focus on creating a Halloween ‘experience’. One where grown-ups can don their favourite fancy dress, with more refined flair. M&S has jumped on this trend, releasing a range of products to fit both children and grown-ups alike. On their Halloween aisle you’ll see their ‘Percy Pumpkins’ and fizzy Dracula's teeth, alongside their Halloween pear and chocolate tart for a ‘devilish treat after dark’.
And online, they set out the perfect Halloween for grown-ups, aiming to bring some sophistication to the spooky affair, complete with cocktail recommendations and dinner recipes inspired by the holiday. And it’s not just M&S; Topshop, Strongbow and even Marmite have all jumped on the Halloween bandwagon.
And it’s good news for retailers
Whether or not you’re a fan of the spooky holiday, the opportunity is obvious. Halloween will always be there for kids trotting around the neighbourhood collecting goodies, but now there’s another market for brands to target. This gives retailers more opportunity to sell to customers.
And the benefits are likely to go beyond 31 October. Mintel suggests that retailers who are able to leverage Halloween will see the benefits through to the festive season as more shoppers turn their attention to their Christmas shopping.
Proving there’s definitely nothing to be scared of this Halloween.