Halloween ’17: Will eCommerce see more tricks or treats?

Neil Kokemuller
Neil Kokemuller
September 21, 2017

In North America, Halloween is one of the most opportune non-major holiday seasons for thoughtful eSellers who take the time to find out what customers are likely to buy. If history is the best predictor of future outcomes, look no further than Halloween 2016 to get a sense for what you can do to optimize revenue and profits during the holiday this year as an eSeller.

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2016 Halloween spending recap

In 2016, Americans set a record with $8.4 billion in Halloween spending. This amounted to an impressive $82.93 per consumer, well above the $74.34 average from 2015. Halloween is one of the most widely celebrated secular holidays in the U.S., with 171 million Americans participating in last year’s shopping season. As a comparison, 70 percent of respondents in the 2016 National Retail Federation survey indicated an intent to celebrate and spend on Halloween. Only 54 percent indicated the same intent for Valentine’s Day, which is widely recognized for its commercial opportunities.

2017 Halloween predictions

The NRF will release its annual Halloween forecast in late September. When the survey data comes out, it is likely that 2017 numbers will remain steady or even reach new heights relative to 2016. Economic conditions in the U.S. have generally improved since last October, including reduced unemployment. Consumer confidence has also improved. All of these factors suggest a strong season is in order again.

It isn’t too early to take a look at some of the costumes and other products expected to perform well this year. Ensuring adequate inventory on high-demand items gives you access to greater sales and potential long-term customers. Undoubtedly, Donald Trump costumes and masks will be a big hit. Presidential attire is usually common, and the polarization of Trump could lead to record sales of president-themed costumes.

Superhero costumes are popular as well, and recent theatrical releases of films like The Avengers, Deadpool and Wonder Woman could inspire strong interest in 2017. The recent release of The Emoji Movie bodes well for emoji-inspired outfits, and the resurgence of Pokemon means its characters will see strong buying interest too.

Don’t forget the accessories. In 2016, 94 percent of Halloween shoppers purchased candy for a total of $2.5 billion. Another $2.4 billion was spent on decorations and $390 million on greeting cards. All of these numbers have a good chance of increasing this year. Makeup brands do well for Halloween also, as costume-wearers like to go all out to match the personas they aspire to imitate.


Take advantage of the trend of increasing revenue for eSellers during the Halloween season. In addition to offering a diverse and deep inventory that aligns with consumer buying habits, strong digital promotions in the early, middle, and late stages of the buying season can lure in eager spenders.

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