The article is based on data collected from the annual Halloween survey by NRF and Prosper Insights & Analytics on September 1-8. The survey reflects how Americans are going to celebrate this beloved Halloween holiday. The sample size is 8061 with the margin of error of 1.1 point percentage.
This fall Halloween holiday may be a little different due to COVID-19. However, consumers are looking for ways to mark and celebrate the occasion safely. Total spending for Halloween 2021 is estimated to hit the all-time record of $10.1 billion. In the meantime, what do retailers need to prepare to meet the growing demand for seasonal decorations and costumes? Read on to discover the celebration plans, which activities top the list, and the hottest shopping trends for Halloween 2021.
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Participation in Halloween throughout the last 5 years
In general, since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic at the end of 2019, Halloween participation rates have decreased significantly. Over 75% of respondents said that COVID-19 affected their Halloween plans. Yet consumers continue to value celebrating traditional holidays, even by non-traditional standards.
- More than 148 million adults in the U.S. plan to participate in Halloween activities in 2021.
- 65% of Americans plan to participate in 2021’s Halloween, recovering 7% from 2020 and close to 68% in 2019 (before COVID-19).
Purchasing plan on Halloween
Sweets have an uncanny ability to improve your mood and bring a smile to your face. People are looking for a moment of joy in this uncertain year. When preparing for Halloween, we almost automatically think of candy. Thus, Halloween 2021 could be a candy moment during the COVID-19 pandemic.
- 96% of Americans will buy candy for Halloween 2021.
- The second-most loved item is decoration, which accounts for 78%, followed by costumes (68%) and greeting cards (45%).
Total spending on Halloween in the last 5 years
Total spending on Halloween is up year over year from 2005 to 2021. Consumers will still celebrate Halloween despite COVID-19.
- Total Halloween spending in 2021 is expected to hit an all-time high of $10.14 billion, up from $8.05 billion compared to 2020.
- The increasing number of participants explains this 26.25% increase in total consumer’s expense.
Top activities on Halloween
People continue to cut back on plans for activities that don’t easily follow social distancing in Halloween 2021.
- The most loved activities on Halloween are hand out candy, which accounts for 66%.
- Traditional and home-safe activities ranked highest: 53% decorate houses, 46% carve pumpkins, 46% dress costumes, and 18% dress their pet.
- Meanwhile, only 25% of respondents engaged in crowded activities such as attending parties or taking children for a trick-or-treat during social distancing.
- Visiting a haunted house is the most unwanted favorite activity on Halloween 2021, accounting for 18%.
Hand out candy
Decorate your home
Dress in costume
Carve a pumpkin
Throw a party
Take children trick-or-treating
Visit a haunted house
Average spending of an American
Like many holidays this year, Americans plan to celebrate Halloween despite the ongoing pandemic. To ensure a memorable Halloween, consumers tend to spend more on average.
- Per-person’s Halloween spending increased steadily from 2005 to 2021, with an average annual growth rate of 4.5%.
- The average spending of an American is $102.75 in 2021, up 11.74% from $92.12 in 2020.
Total spending by age group
Overall, 25–54 groups tend to spend more than the younger group under 24 and the older group over 55.
- The 35–44 group had the highest total spending at $149.34 for Halloween 2021 compared to other age groups, almost 3x more than the lowest spending group (65+) and nearly 2x more than the 18–24 group.
- Second in terms of total spending is the 25–34 group with $130.54, closely followed by the 45–54 group with $112.78.
5 inspiration sources for Halloween
Halloween has always been a holiday for our family and loved ones, so inspiration seems to focus more on ourselves and those around us.
- 36% of respondents will search online before purchasing for Halloween 2021. It’s also the highest rate of inspiration sources compared to other sources.
- In second place is a retail store or costume shop: 26% of shoppers want to see the display at the store and try the goods in person. Maybe they’d like to enjoy the feeling of Halloween in the air.
- Social media sources like Facebook and Youtube are equal with advice from friends and family, at 19–20%.
Top purchase locations on Halloween
Because many stores are open after social distancing, the top shopping destinations have remained unchanged this Halloween.
- Customers always love discounts. Therefore, it’s no wonder that discount stores are the ideal shopping place for Americans during Halloween 2021 (40%).
- 35% of respondents chose specialty Halloween and costume stores as their 2nd favorite choice.
- Consumers continue to prefer online shopping as a safe and convenient option during the pandemic — 29% plan to make an online purchase during Halloween 2021, compared to 25% last year.
Grocery stores and department stores (23–26%) are still more convenient places to shop than home decor, crafts or fabrics, clothing stores (14%).
Halloween 2021 may be different depending on the local safety guidance. But one thing is for sure, Halloween is happening!
- Halloween 2021 participation increases compared to 2020 and are close to pre-COVID-19 levels.
- Consumers plan to spend more than ever to make this Halloween a day to remember.
The magic of Halloween is transformative, and it brings joy to families, especially children. For retailers, the pandemic is an unprecedented challenge. But you’ll undoubtedly find creative ways to recreate it in some innovative form. For example, you can take steps like showing off Halloween products earlier than usual to ensure your shelves are stocked with seasonal candies and decorations for this important holiday.