Some Retailers Generated Reassuring 2018 Revenues, Others Were
Some Retailers Generated Reassuring 2018 Revenues, Others Were Very Scary Of the 9 retail store categories where 2018 Halloween shoppers said they would be spending their money, discount stores was first at 44.6%, and according to US Census Bureau data, October 2018 sales at discount stores increased 2.7% YOY to $7.51 billion. Specialty Halloween/costume stores were second, at 34.9%, and they are probably included in the Census Bureaus gift stores and miscellaneous stores categories, each of which had very good Octobers, or +21.2% and +6.7%, respectively. October 2018 sales at department stores (#3 at 24.7%) increased a mere 0.05%, but Halloween
merchandise is likely a small portion of their inventory. Electronic shopping was the #4 source for Halloween shoppers and October 2018 sales increased 13.0%. Many Halloween Retailers Are Established and Profitable Party & Halloweens reader survey in its January/February 2019 issue revealed 55% of responding retailers said their sales increased during 2018 and 46% said their annual sales volume was less than $250,000 and 17% more than 1.5 million. A majority, or 56%, said they had been in business for more than 20 years. Just 29% sell online and
47%, the largest percentage, said 10% of their total sales are online. Its surprising not more of them sell online since 48% of them listed online retailers as their biggest competition, with independent retailers a distant second, at 15%. Costumes and Products That Are Selling As during almost every year, major movies and TV shows influence costume purchases. For 2019, these include Captain Marvel, Aladdin, Toy Story 4, SpiderMan: Far from Home and Frozen 2 as well as Game of Thrones. According to retailers input in an article about product trends in the January/February 2019 issue of
Party & Halloween, customers want more higherquality decorations, animated props, LED equipment and old favorites, such as balloons. Party & Halloweens reader survey in the March/April 2019 issue found 30% of respondents said their 2018 partyware sales increased, compared to 18% who said they decreased, and gifts and novelties and centerpieces were the top party products. Consumers 2018 Holiday Spending as Insights for 2019 According to the National Retail Federation (NRF), 69.5% of Americans planned to celebrate Halloween 2018, a decrease from 71.7% for 2017, and total consumer spending was estimated at $9 billion, compared to $9.1 billion for Halloween 2017.
A separate survey from Shopkick found 61.4% of parents were planning to spend as much as $50 for Halloween 2018. Plus, 53% admitted to taking a few pieces of candy from their childrens Trick-or-Treat night haul. Consumers started their 2018 Halloween shopping the earliest since NRFs 2013 survey, with before September, 5.8%; during September, 31.3%; first 2 weeks of October, 43.3%; and last 2 weeks of October, 19.6%. Traditional Candies Remain Strong, But There Are More Healthier Options Although traditional Halloween candies are still
everyones favorites, more consumers are switching to and/or adding healthier options, such as gluten-free chocolate and non-chocolate products, non-GMO candies and organics. This trend is reflected in a Shopkick survey where 20% of parents said they would be distributing healthier options, such as pretzels, pencils and stickers for Trick-or-Treat night 2018, but only 15% said they would offer nut-free options. The Shopkick survey also found 54% of parents continue to be candy-brand loyal, but 46% will buy according to price. Children known to parents will receive special treatment, as 38% of parents will offer them different types of candy. Addressing the Helium Crisis
According to an article in the March/April 2019 issue of Party & Halloween, the helium shortage for use in party balloons has increased significantly because space programs, MRI machines, vehicle air bags, etc. are using more of it. Although industry experts expect a restriction on supply will continue through 2019, it should improve during 2020; however, prices will likely remain at the high end because of supply-and-demand pressures. Some balloon manufacturers are developing nonhelium alternatives and, according to the survey results in the May/June 2019 issue of Party & Halloween, 59% of readers/retailers said they would promote them in their stores.
Advertising Strategies Halloween 2019 is a Thursday. Retailers should be able to increase sales, as there may be more parties Thursday evening than an earlier weekday date. Make sure your clients advertising generates maximum exposure during the early part of the week. Recommend your Halloween retail clients who sell candy to test a few healthier options or increase the number of healthy choices from previous years and match ad flights with parents candy buying periods on Page 4 of the Profiler. Consider offering a Halloween costume retailer a special promotional opportunity: provide a different costume for the on-air meteorologist to
wear during the week of Halloween, offering specific reports during each broadcast about Trick-or-Treat night weather. New Media Strategies Social media sites may inspire retailers who promote DIY costuming in their stores, but they should also record short videos of the more unique and unusual customer creations to use as social media posts to attract more DIY customers this year and next year. Retailers can resource safety tips videos for Trickor-Treat night and share them as a social media post and/or ask a local police officer or other safety officer to appear in a custom video with special tips related to the community.
Retailers can use the list of new product trends on page 2 of the Profiler to feature in individual social media posts, specifically videos with store employees showcasing/ explaining one product and inviting viewers to contact him/her directly with any questions.
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