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Halloween celebrations rise as consumers look to escape everyday realities


September 30, 2008
By National Retail Federation

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NEWS HIGHLIGHT

Halloween celebrations rise as consumers look to escape everyday realities
halloweenThe spookiest holiday of the year may bring a bit of needed
relief to consumers and retailers. According to the National Retail
Federation’s Halloween Consumer Intentions and Actions Survey, more
U.S. consumers plan to celebrate the holiday this year (64.5 per cent
vs. 58.7 per cent).

The
spookiest holiday of the year may bring a bit of needed relief to
consumers and retailers. According to the National Retail Federation’s
Halloween Consumer Intentions and Actions Survey, conducted by
BIGresearch, more consumers plan to celebrate the holiday this year
(64.5 per cent vs. 58.7 per cent). This year, the average person plans
to spend $66.54 on the holiday, up from $64.82 one year ago. Total
Halloween spending for 2008 is estimated to reach $5.77 billion.
 
“Though the economy is struggling, Halloween sales may be a bright spot
for retailers this fall,” said Tracy Mullin, NRF President and CEO.
“Consumers – who have been anxious and uncertain for the past several
months–may be looking at Halloween as an opportunity to forget the
stresses of daily life and just have a little fun.”
 
This year’s survey results are reminiscent from 2002 Halloween data.
Though consumers at the time were uncertain about the economy and a
host of geopolitical factors, Halloween spending was strong. The
holiday was seen as a way for consumers to escape from the
uncertainties of daily life. In addition, many consumers at the time
saw Halloween as a way to let loose during an otherwise tense period.
NRF expects to see some of the same patterns this year for Halloween,
as evidenced by the fact that the number of people who plan to
celebrate is up and that people plan to spend moderately more than a
year ago.
 
This year, consumers will spend an average of $24.17 on Halloween
costumes (including costumes for adults, children, and pets). People
will also be buying candy ($20.39 on average), decorations ($18.25) and
greeting cards ($3.73).
 
Halloween remains popular with young adults, as 18-24 year-olds plan to spend $86.59 on the holiday, the most of any group.
 
People will celebrate Halloween in a variety of ways, with the most
popular activities including handing out candy (73.7 per cent), carving
a pumpkin (44.6 per cent), and decorating (50.3 per cent). Many
consumers will also dress in costume (35.3 per cent), throw or attend a
party (31.1 per cent), and take children trick-or-treating (33.6 per
cent).
 
“After months of bleak economic news, consumers are looking for a
reason to let loose,” said Phil Rist, Vice President of Strategy for
BIGresearch. “And with Halloween falling on a Friday this year,
consumers may plan to celebrate all weekend long.”
 
The NRF 2008 Halloween Consumer Intentions and Actions Survey was
designed to gauge consumer behavior and shopping trends related to the
Halloween season. The surveys were conducted for NRF by BIGresearch.
The poll of 8,167 consumers was conducted from September 2-9, 2008. The
consumer poll has a margin of error of plus or minus 1.0 percent.

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