Economy Haunts Halloween Spending

Retailers may find Halloween to be a bit scarier this year in terms of profit potential, according to a survey released today (Tuesday) by the National Retail Federation. The study, conducted by BIGresearch, found that the number of consumers (62.1 percent) planning to celebrate Halloween this year dipped by more than 2 percent, down from 64.5 percent in 2008.

The decrease continues recent trends of recessionary budgeting, with almost one third (29.6 percent) of consumers attributing their cutbacks this Halloween to the economy. Of those affected, 88 percent plan to spend less overall on seasonal items.

Consumers predict their average overall spending this year to total $56.31, a decrease from $66.54 in 2008. Shoppers plan to spend an average of $20.75 on costumes, $17.99 on candy, $14.95 on decorations and $3.02 on greeting cards. Total spending for the holiday is expected to total $4.75 billion.

Top consumer money saving strategies include buying less candy (46.5 percent), reusing decorations from previous years (35.4 percent) and making (16.8 percent) or reusing costumes (15.8 percent).

“The economy has caught up to Halloween this year,” said Tracy Mullin, NRF president and CEO, in a statement. “Since retailers know that Americans will be looking to celebrate on a budget, there’s no doubt we will see creative costume and decorating ideas in every price point imaginable.”

Additionally, 26.4 percent of those who plan to celebrate Halloween will participate in slightly fewer holiday activities this year—such as haunted houses (down to 17 percent from 18.1 percent), hosting/attending parties (down to 30.2 percent from 31. percent) and decorating their homes (down to 47.3 percent from 50.3 percent).

The pumpkin patches will even feel the pinch as only 42.4 percent of respondents planned on carving jack-o-lanterns compared to 44.6 in 2008.

Nielsen Business Media