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How to Capture Halloween Sales

October 12th, 2012 ::

By Rieva Lesonsky

For retailers who cater to the Halloween crowd, 2012 looks to be a very good year. More than 7 in 10 Americans, or a record 170 million people, will celebrate Halloween this year, reports NRF’s 2012 Halloween consumer spending survey conducted by BIGinsight. That’s the highest number in the 10 years the NRF has been conducting this survey.

Consumer spending will surge, too. The average American will spend $79.82 on decorations, costumes and candy, up from $72.31 last year. Overall, total Halloween spending is projected to reach $8.0 billion.

“There’s certainly pent-up demand for having some fun this year,” said BIGinsight Executive Vice President of Strategic Initiatives, Phil Rist. “Shoppers are planning to spend their hard-earned dollars on items that help them get into the Halloween spirit.”

NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay said Americans are now spending about two months preparing for the holiday, and that the hottest purchases (besides costumes, of course) are home and yard décor.

More than half of those celebrating Halloween will decorate their home or yard, up from 49.5 percent last year, and 45 percent plan to dress in costume, also up from last year. More than one-third (36.2%) will throw or attend a party and 33.2 percent will take children trick-or-treating.

Halloween costumes aren’t just for kids anymore: Adult costumes are popular as well, and 15.1 percent will dress their pets in a costume.

Even though this Halloween will see record spending, about 25 percent of U.S. consumers say the economy is affecting their Halloween plans and that they’ll be spending less overall.

How can your business profit from Halloween spending?

  • Get creative. The number-one place Americans look for costume ideas is retailers—so feature plenty of visuals in your store windows, marketing materials and website to get their creativity flowing.
  • Get social. The survey found 15.2 percent of Halloween celebrants plan to look to Facebook for costume ideas, and 7.1 percent will check out photo-oriented site Pinterest. These can be great ways to promote home décor and party ideas, too.
  • Get online. One-third of Halloween celebrants say they get their costume ideas online. Consider purchasing PPC or Facebook ads with popular Halloween-related keywords to attract customers searching for a particular costume or costumes for different demographic groups (kids, women, dogs).

Try these marketing methods, and your Halloween sales will really be something to celebrate.

Image by Flickr user wwarby (Creative Commons)

The views expressed here are the author's alone and not those of Network Solutions or its partners.

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