Chocolate pricing

Consumers are expected to spend $10.6 billion on Halloween

Consumers seem eager to celebrate in style this Halloween after two years of reduced attendance due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The National Retail Federation, in conjunction with Prosper Insights & Analytics, reports that 69% of Americans plan to celebrate the holiday this year, up from 65% in 2021 and 58% in 2020.

Total Halloween spending is expected to hit a record $10.6 billion, surpassing last year’s $10.1 billion, and turnout is even better than the pre-pandemic year of 2019 at 68%. NRF said consumers expect to spend an average of $100 this year on candies, decorations, cards and costumes. The amount is comparable to last year’s average of $103.

“Halloween is an exciting time for many families, and that excitement is reflected in the number of Americans planning to celebrate the holiday this year,” said NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay. “As consumers continue to revert to pre-pandemic behaviors, retailers are ready to meet that demand and help make this holiday fun and memorable.”

The largest portion of spending this year will be on costumes, as trick-or-treat and fall festivals are expected to return to pre-pandemic levels. Adults are expected to spend $1.7 billion on their costumes and another $1.2 billion on children’s costumes, with $710 million on pet costumes. Total costume spending is expected to top $3.6 billion, up from $3.3 billion last year and $3.2 billion in 2019 before the pandemic.

Spiderman is the most popular costume for kids, with over 2.2 million kids planning to buy this costume. Princess costumes are popular with 1.9 million children this year, while the classic witch and ghost will be the costume of choice for 1.6 million and 1.3 million consumers. Other popular costumes for children include pirates, vampires, zombies, Batman and Superman.

Adults considering buying costumes said they were more likely to be witches (5.3 million). A vampire was 1.7 million’s second choice and 1.5 million adults plan to dress as a ghost. Catwoman, Batman, Dracula, and Spiderman were popular choices with adults.

NRF said 67% of consumers said they plan to hand out candy to cheaters. The survey found that 47% dress in costume and 44% say they plan to carve a pumpkin. About a third said they planned to attend a Halloween party and 20% said they would dress up their pet. More than half said they decorate their home or yard and buy new decorations.

As in recent years, Halloween goers will start shopping early again, with 47% starting in September or earlier. Additionally, 40% plan to buy their items at discount stores, 36% will go to stores specializing in Halloween or costumes, and 31% will shop online.

Consumers will see higher prices this Halloween for the pumpkins and candies they buy for treats. The average price of pumpkins nationwide has fluctuated slightly over the past four Halloween seasons, according to marketing research firm Statista. Last year, pumpkins sold for an average of $4.83 each, compared to $4.18 in 2020 and $4.04 in 2019. In 2018, pumpkins cost $3.89 each.

According to data from the US Department of Agriculture in early September, pumpkin prices are averaging $1.38 a pound this year. A 10 to 14 pound pumpkin to carve can cost $14 to $20 each. More miniature pumpkins are selling for around $5 to $7 at retailers in northwest Arkansas this week.

Another survey from Advantage Solutions shows consumers plan to spend more than $25 on Halloween candy this year, with 10% saying they will spend more than $50. The survey found that 45% of candy shoppers will shop a week or less before Halloween; 16% will buy their sweets within three days of the holidays.

Price is the most important factor consumers consider when buying Halloween candy, according to 37% of respondents. The survey found that 22% said the type of candy was the deciding factor for their purchases, and 14% said they would stick with a particular brand. Nearly 90% of candy givers plan to buy chocolate.

The cost of imported sugar, nuts, dairy and cocoa has skyrocketed in recent years, and the huge volume of candy sales at this time of year is also driving prices up. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that candy prices rose 2% from July to August and are 12.7% more expensive than a year ago.

Hershey, the maker of Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, Jolly Ranchers, KitKat, Hershey and more than a dozen other candy brands hiked prices 14% in June, citing rising sugar costs and cocoa. In July, Mars Chocolate, the maker of M&Ms and Snickers, raised the price of its candies by 7% to offset rising ingredient costs. Nestlé also raised its candy prices in the United States by 9.8% in July.

Shoppers will also likely find that the large candy bags contain smaller bars than in previous years. Candy makers have also reduced package sizes to boost profit margins amid record inflation this year.