So far, I have contributed $12 (Pumpkins: $4 each at Ingles) to 2006 Halloween spending, which will hit $4.96 billion this year, up from $3.29 billion last year, according the just-released National Retail Federation’s (NRF) Consumer Intentions and Actions Survey.
NRF attributes the spending hike to the 63.8 percent of Americans who say they will celebrate Halloween this year, considerably more than the 52.5 percent who celebrated last year. NRF doesn’t say specifically why Americans are in the spirit of Halloween this year, but President and CEO Tracy Mullin notes that consumers see Halloween as a seasonal celebration that bridges the gap between the end of summer and the winter holidays.
Yes, she’s probably right, but Halloween also is just plain fun. There’s no pressure, like there is in December, because nobody is really expecting anything, and the decorations are neat. I mean when and why else would you ever hang a giant rubber spider from the overhead lamp in your kitchen? Or drape spider web-looking white stuff over your lamps? Or hang a string of blinking jack-o-lantern lights across your front windows. It all makes you smile. And it doesn’t cost much.
If you’re older than, say, 12, how do you celebrate Halloween? Well, by decorating, for one thing. Sixty-seven percent of consumers plan to purchase Halloween decorations this year, and nearly half of them will decorate either their home or their yard. Nearly everybody (95.7 percent) will buy candy.
And get this: Halloween ain’t just for tikes anymore. More than 85 percent of 18 to 24 year olds plan to whoop it up at Halloween this year, up from 66.8 percent last year. More than 76 percent of people aged 25 to 34 will cook up some Halloween happiness, and more than 71 percent of people aged 35 to 44 will celebrate.
Halloween is the sixth-largest spending holiday after the winter holidays, Valentine’s Day, Easter, Mother’s Day and Father’s Day.
Tomorrow in Retail Strategies: More details about what Halloween partiers will buy.