“Dichotomous trends” are the dominating theme of Halloween 2022.
Despite predictions of a return to pre-pandemic spending this fall, Coresight Research CEO and founder Deborah Weinswig said consumers want to socialize and celebrate without worrying about by Covid, “yet are reluctant to up holiday spending in the face of inflation, an erratic stock market and persistently low consumer confidence.”
The near-full return to social activities post-Covid saw some retailers experiencing Halloween sellouts as early as August. In a survey of more than 400 consumers, over 33 percent said that they planned to allow their children to trick-or-treat this year, up from almost 29 percent last year. Nearly one-quarter (24 percent) said they would attend parties with friends, a near five-point jump from the year-ago period.
But shoppers haven’t forgotten about recession fears. These concerns are why they looked for deals and savings more seriously than they did in 2021, Coresight data showed. “As consumers feel the impact of continuing strong inflation, relatively strong dollar sales are likely to belie disappointing unit sales this holiday season,” Weinswig wrote in a report.
“This year, we expect consumers to hunt for deals on holiday purchases more ferociously than last year, as their increased demand for holiday products collides with their newly restricted budgets,” she added. Party goods and costume stores could benefit due to their low prices and poor comps in 2021, with 24 percent of respondents saying they expected to make purchases there, up from about 19 percent the year prior. Dollar stores and discount stores gained about two points from 2021, with nearly 30 percent of consumers saying they would start their searches there. Meanwhile, mass merchants dropped in favor by 8 points year-over-year, from 43 percent to about 35 percent.
Coresight research revealed that almost 40 percent of shoppers planned to spend a lot or somewhat less than last year—up 30 percent from 2021, when just 10 percent of consumers planned to scale back spending. Over 30 percent of those surveyed said their spending would remain static with last Halloween, while about 27 percent said they planned to spend a bit or a lot more. However, Kearney’s data showed that most consumers planned to spend as much on Halloween costumes and décor as they did last year, and 25 percent said they’d spend more. Just 20 percent of shoppers planned to rein in their spending, according to the consulting firm’s research.
People have gone online for Halloween ideas and purchases. E-commerce searches for “Halloween” grew 197 percent year over year during the month of October, according to data from Searchspring, which powers product search for online shopping platforms, and processed 165,615 searches related to the holiday this month, versus just 55,774 searches last year.
Costumes were the most searched Halloween-related items, and consumers largely opted for classics. Witches and vampires were two of the top searched terms with pirates, police officers, clowns and devils following close behind. Clown and vampire makeup were the top two highest-converting searches, with 33 percent of searches for both resulting in sales.
Shoppers also tapped into pop culture with franchise favorites. Disney, Batman and Star Wars remained top searches year over year, generating 59,574, 48,255 and 32,290 searches respectively. Monster High and Harry Potter also rose in the search ranks, along with “Top Gun: Maverick” and Harley Quinn, related to the Tom Cruise-led summer blockbuster and a comic book release.