Halloween 2015 Buying Trend and Sales Prediction Drops Spook Retailers

Halloween Consumer Spending Not a Treat to Retail Leaders, Analysts, Investors

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The scary drop in Halloween retail sales predictions is enough to spook any retail leader, analyst or investor in 2015.  If the annual Halloween Consumer Spending Survey conducted by Prosper Insights & Analytics is correct, every Halloween consumer buying behavior is trending down in 2015, and Halloween sales will not be such a treat for the U.S. retail industry this year.

Even though Halloween is not the most major of the retail holidays in terms of retail spending, the Halloween holiday is still a major event on the U.S. retail holiday sales calendar.

 That's not just because of the  $7 billion in retail sales that will be generated, but also because retail industry experts believe the Halloween holiday reveals the overall spending mood of U.S. consumers.  If that is true, and if everything plays out as this year's Halloween Consumer Spending Survey predicts, those who have made bullish retail decisions for the 2015 Christmas holiday shopping season may end of feeling tricked.

The leaders of the largest U.S. retail chains look to Halloween retail buying behaviors for clues about how much and what kind of effort it will take to motivate consumers to spend freely during the Christmas holiday shopping season.  Theoretically if consumers get giddy with goblins and ghouls, then they will also be easily excitable when the Black Friday (pre-Black Friday, Thanksgiving, and Cyber Monday, etc.) retail rumble begins less than a month later.

Based on this reasoning, it doesn't take a Consumer Psychologist to figure out that things are looking scary for Q4 2015.

 In every way that consumers increased their retail Halloween spending in 2014, they intend to decrease it in 2015.  If consumer spending actually matches consumer intentions this Halloween buying season, retailers will be ringing one-half billion less in Halloween-related sales in 2015 than they did in 2014.

 Retail leaders have to wonder... If consumers aren't really in a festive, uninhibited, it-only-comes-once-a-year celebratory mood at Halloween, is their holiday spirit also going to be dampened less than one month later when U.S. retailers desperately need their full participation in the Black Friday game?

Not only do consumers intend to spend significantly less on Halloween costumes, candy, decorations and greeting cards in 2015, there will be fewer Americans participating in any kind of Halloween festivities at all.  And THAT is what really spooks (or should really spook) the retail boardrooms of America... the choice of 6.6 million consumers to not participate, and the implications that Halloween non-participation have on the 2015 Christmas Holiday Shopping Season.   

What haunts retail leaders and causes them to lose sleep at night is the spookiest question of all...  Will there be a point when conscious consuming trumps tradition and U.S. consumers just choose not to participate in the commercialized retail version of the great American Christmas holiday?

Click for the Scary 2015 Halloween Survey Results and 10-Year Trend Comparison >>

Retail Halloween spending, year-over-year buying trends and sales predictions in 2015 are of interest to U.S. retail industry leaders, analysts and investors because they are viewed as being key retail indicators of how freely consumers will be spending during the critical 2015 Christmas holiday shopping season.  The year-over-year comparison of Halloween costume, candy, and decoration buying is seen to be a direct comparison to a year-over-year comparison of Christmas gift, candy, and general fa-la-la falderoll spending.

Whether Halloween retail sales have any substantive connection to Christmas holiday shopping is debatable and perhaps only psychological.  But what seems certain is that Halloween spending in 2015 will decline to 2011 sales levels, and Halloween participation will drop down to 2010 levels.  There's not much that spooks retailers, retail leaders, retail analysts and retail investors more than  rollbacks, unless we're talking about a Walmart pricing tactic.   

What follows is a comparison of key shopping trends during the Halloween shopping season for the past ten years, according to the annual Halloween Spending and Intentions report commissioned by the National Retail Federation (NRF).  This year-over-year comparison not only reveals the billions of retail dollars that U.S. consumers have been predicted to spend on Halloween costumes, candy and decorations between 2005 and 2015, it also reveals the willingness of U.S.

consumers to spend their hard-earned money to actively participate in an all-American holiday tradition.  

Only questions that were included in the Halloween Consumer Spending Survey for all ten years are reported here.  It is worth noting that these retail sales figures reflect consumer retail spending intentions prior to the Halloween holiday each year, not actual sales figures reported after Halloween spending is completed.

Ten-year Year-Over-Year Comparison of Halloween Consumer Intentions and Actions Survey, 2015 - 2005:

Total Amount Retail Consumers Planned to Spend For the Halloween Holiday Overall

2015 - $6.89 billion

2014 - $7.40 billion

2013 - $7.00 billion

2012 - $8.00 billion

2011 - $6.86 billion

2010 - $5.80 billion

2009 - $4.75 billion

2008 - $5.77 billion

2007 - $5.07 billion

2006 - $4.96 billion

2005 - $3.29 billion

Total Amount Retail Consumers Planned to Spend for Halloween Costumes

2015 - $2.53 billion

2014 - $2.80 billion

2013 - $2.60 billion

2012 - $2.87 billion

2011 - $2.52 billion

20130- $2.05 billion

2009 - $1.75 billion

2008 - $2.10 billion

2007 - $1.82 billion

2006 - $1.81 billion

2005 - $1.15 billion

Total Amount Retail Consumers Planned to Spend for Halloween Candy

2015 - $2.14 billion

2014 - $2.2 billion 

2013 - $2.08 billion

2012 - $2.33 billion

2011 - $2.00 billion

2010 - $1.78 billion

2009 - $1.52 billion

2008 - $1.77 billion

2007 - $1.55 billion

2006 - $1.57 billion

2005 - $1.16 billion

Total Amount Retail Consumers Planned to Spend for Halloween Decorations

2015 - $1.88 billion

2014 - $2.00 billion

2013 - 1.96 billion

2012 - $2.33 billion

2011 - $1.88 billion

2010 - $1.63 billion

2009 - $1.23 billion

2008 - $1.58 billion

2007 - $1.39 billion

2006 - $1.31 billion

2005 - $0.84 billion

Total Amount Retail Consumers Planned to Spend for Halloween Greeting Cards

2015 - $0.33 billion

2014 - $0.35 billion

2013 - $0.36 billion

2012 - $0.59 billion

2011 - $0.47 billion

2010 - $0.35 billion

2009 - $0.25 billion

2008 - $0.32 billion

2007 - $0.31 billion

2006 - $0.26 billion

2005 - $0.14 billion

Percentage of Retail Consumers 18 and Older Who Planned to Celebrate Halloween or Participate in Halloween Activities

2015 - 64.0%

2014 - 66.7%

2013 - 65.8%

2012 - 71.5%

2011 - 68.6%

2010 - 63.8%

2009 - 62.1%

2008 - 64.5%

2007 - 58.7%

2006 - 63.8%

2005 - 52.5%

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