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Consumers Eager to Have a Frightfully Good Time This Halloween, According to NRF

For Immediate Release
Kathy Grannis (202)783-7971 or grannisk@nrf.com
www.nrf.com/Halloween

View sample charts and download complete survey results

Consumers Eager to Have a Frightfully Good Time This Halloween, According to NRF
-161 Million People Plan on Celebrating Halloween, Highest in Survey’s Nine-Year History-

Washington, September 28, 2011 – Ghouls and goblins galore, Halloween celebrations will be BOOming this year as more people than ever are expected to partake in traditional festivities. According to NRF’s 2011 Halloween Consumer Intentions and Actions Survey conducted by BIGresearch, seven in 10 Americans (68.6%) plan to celebrate Halloween, up from 63.8 percent last year and the most in NRF’s nine-year survey history. Those celebrating are expected to spend slightly more too; the average person will shell out $72.31 on decorations, costumes and candy, up from $66.28 last year. Total Halloween spending is expected to reach $6.86 billion.*

Chart: Halloween 2011 - Average Historical Spending



“Eager to shake off the summer heat and forget about the economy for a few days, Americans are looking forward to having some fun this Halloween,” said NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay. “Many retailers have already stocked their shelves with Halloween merchandise and, given the popularity of the holiday this year, consumers should not hesitate when they find something that would make their celebration complete.”

The survey found this year’s celebrations will be far from tempered as more people plan to dress in costume (43.9% vs. 40.1% in 2010), throw or attend a party (34.3% vs. 33.3% last year) and visit a haunted house (22.9% vs. 20.8% in 2010.) Additionally, half (49.5%) will decorate their home/yard and 14.7 percent will dress their pets in costume. Other traditional celebratory activities include handing out candy (73.5%), carving a pumpkin (47.8%) and taking children trick-or-treating (32.9%).

With celebrations increasing, spending is expected to slightly increase across the board as well. The average consumer is expected to spend $26.52 on costumes. This year, Americans will spend $1 billion on children’s costumes, up from $840 million last year, and $1.21 billion on adult costumes, up from $990 million last year. Additionally, pet owners will shell out $310 million on pint size devils, pumpkins and witch costumes.

When it comes to decorations, more people this year than in the survey’s history will buy life-size skeletons, extra large inflatable pumpkins and fake cob webs, spending an average of $19.79. Spending on Halloween décor is second only to spending on Christmas decorations. Festive celebrants will also buy candy ($21.05) and greeting cards ($4.96.)

“Thanks to creative costumes and décor for consumers of all ages, Halloween has become one of the most anticipated holidays of the year for many people,” said Pam Goodfellow, Consumer Insights Director, BIGresearch. “As a non-gift holiday, even people on the strictest budget can enjoy themselves this Halloween.”  

Consumers aren’t completely blowing caution to the wind this year, however. According to the survey, nearly one-third (32.1%) say the state of the U.S. economy will impact their Halloween plans. To compensate, most say they will try to spend less overall (87.1%). Others will make a costume instead of purchasing one (18.9%), use last year’s costume (16.6%) and buy less candy (40.2%.)

About the Survey

NRF’s 2011 Halloween Consumer Intentions and Actions Surveys were designed to gauge consumer behavior and shopping trends related to Halloween spending. The surveys were conducted for NRF by BIGresearch. The poll of 9,374 consumers was conducted from September 6-14, 2011. The consumer polls have a margin of error of plus or minus 1.0 percent.

BIGresearch® consumer intelligence provides analysis of behavior in areas of products and services, retail, financial services, automotive and media. The BIGresearch Consumer Intentions and Actions® Survey (CIA®) of 8,000+ respondents is conducted monthly and the Simultaneous Media Usage® Survey (SIMM®) of 15,000+ respondents is conducted semi-annually.

As the world’s largest retail trade association and the voice of retail worldwide, NRF’s global membership includes retailers of all sizes, formats and channels of distribution as well as chain restaurants and industry partners from the United States and more than 45 countries abroad. In the U.S., NRF represents an industry that includes more than 3.6 million establishments and which directly and indirectly accounts for 42 million jobs – one in four U.S. jobs. The total U.S. GDP impact of retail is $2.5 trillion annually, and retail is a daily barometer of the health of the nation’s economy. www.nrf.com.

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* Extrapolation of U.S. population 18 years old and older