Samantha Dover
Samantha Dover is a Senior Retail Analyst at Mintel, identifying and analysing emerging retail trends and writing in-depth market research reports in multiple retail sectors.

Consumer spending on Halloween continues to rise, with more people buying into the event than ever before. While a more challenging outlook for consumers could impact market growth in 2017, seasonal product launches continue to fuel demand among Millennial shoppers.

Halloween spending set to reach £320 million

In 2016, consumers spent an estimated £310 million on Halloween goods and Mintel forecasts that sales of such products will rise a further 3.2% year-on-year in 2017, making the market worth an estimated £320 million.

Halloween continues to be an increasingly important event in the UK retail calendar. However, we anticipate weaker growth in 2017 as the market faces tough comparisons following strong retail sales in the last quarter of 2016. Mintel’s Consumer Confidence tracker also highlights that financial concern has grown over the past year. In September 2017, 28% of consumers said they were worse off than they were a year ago, up from 20% who said the same in October 2016. Such data highlights how consumers may begin to cut back discretionary seasonal spending.

The 3.2% growth will be driven in part by rising inflation in core categories, but the increasing number of consumers spending on the event will also provide a boost to the market.

Who spends money on Halloween and how much do they spend?

Mintel’s consumer research found that 46% of consumers spent money on the event in 2016, up from 39% in 2015 – this seven percentage point increase highlights the growing interest among UK shoppers in what was traditionally a US holiday. The same research also found that certain demographics are more likely to shop for Halloween, with the percentage of consumers’ spending money on the event significantly higher among parents.

The majority of consumers continued to spend under £25 on the retail event in 2016. However, our consumer research also found that one in six consumers spend over £50.

Halloween sales still driven by confectionery

More than a third of UK consumers bought sweets and/or chocolates for Halloween in 2016, making it the biggest Halloween category in terms of volume, driven by the ‘trick or treat’ tradition. Alongside sweets and chocolate, we found that the top five Halloween categories purchased in 2016 further consisted of pumpkins, fancy dress items, decorations and cosmetics.

Opportunities to boost sales with retail experiences

As Mintel’s Trend Experience is All identifies, consumers are craving retail experiences more than ever as they look for positive alternatives to price promotions. In Mintel’s Seasonal Shopping (Spring/Summer) UK 2017 Report, we discuss how a number of retailers are driving sales by offering customers more interactive seasonal shopping experiences, from Paperchase’s series of ‘Love Week’ workshops for Valentine’s Day to Fenwick’s mother and daughter beauty treatments for Mother’s Day. Such initiatives tap into the four in 10 consumers that think in-store events would make shopping for Spring/Summer gifts more enjoyable.

Although some retailers have rolled out similar experience-driven events to boost Halloween sales, including Morrisons’ pumpkin carving classes and Illamasqua’s Halloween beauty tutorials in 2016, take up remains more limited. With Halloween being a largely experience driven event, retailers are possibly missing out on the opportunity to drive higher-value sales through in-store events.

Samantha joined Mintel in 2016, analysing and writing reports on the retail sector. Prior to joining Mintel, Samantha worked as a Fashion Analyst for EDITED, a retail technology company specialising in data software. Here she worked on the company’s retail data analytics, trend forecasting and runway coverage. She has a BA (Hons) in Fashion Marketing from Northumbria University.