Nothing scary about Halloween for Australian retailers as sector anticipates $430 million spending boost

Halloween effect

Source: Getty Images.

One in four Australians say they will celebrate Halloween this year, with retailers expecting a $430 million spending boost according to an Australian Retailers Association (ARA) study.

The ARA-Roy Morgan Snap SMS survey of 2853 Australians found that up to 5 million Australians will recognise Halloween, with 51% purchasing treats for trick-or-treaters, 47% getting dressed up in a Halloween costume and 40% decorating their home for the spooky season.

The Party People CEO and co-owner Dean Salakas says pop culture trends are popular costume choices.

“In terms of trends, we are seeing the rise of streamed shows like Stranger Things, Squid Game and Game Of Thrones. These already are going well for costumes and I think it will only get stronger,” he said.

“The traditional Halloween costume has been reserved for devils, vampires and other classics and while they remain strong, pop culture trends are eating into those categories.”

Salakas says the Party People exceeded last year’s sales by about 15%.

“This is a huge increase. I have been around Halloween for 30 years with the business,” he said.

“Typically when Halloween has fallen on a Monday, we see a drop in sales (albeit those sales are still bigger than six years earlier when it was last on a Monday but not as big as the years before when it was on a Friday, Saturday and Sunday). So it’s a huge result.

“I put it down to the lingering excitement people have following COVID-19 to just get out, have fun and catch up with friends.”

Salakas says Australian retailers are now starting to catch on to Halloween.

“Supermarkets run on data and we can see their ranges increase every year. Smaller retailers in fashion now are even doing Halloween ranges. I walked past a jewellery store yesterday that had a whole Halloween section,” he said.

E-commerce fulfilment provider eStore Logistics has revealed that Australians are spending more on costumes and decorations, with costume supplier CostumeBox experiencing a 20% lift in orders in October 2022 compared to October 2021.

CostumeBox managing director Nikki Yeaman says Halloween is definitely growing year on year in Australia.

“This year the return of family-friendly in-person events, street parties and trick-or-treating is driving a spike in demand for costumes and decor, for both children and adults. Traditional favourites like tombstones and skeletons are selling well, alongside other trends like Netflix-inspired Squid Game costumes,” she said.

ARA CEO Paul Zahra says the occasion has become a highly anticipated seasonal event for many retailers.

“Businesses are coming to the party with themed windows and store displays as part of a big promotional push in the lead-up to October 31,” Zahra said.

“Consumers are forecast to spend $430 million on their Halloween celebrations, stocking up on food and sweets and purchasing costumes and decorations. Some families go above and beyond with lighting and decorative efforts around their homes, while hospitality venues also get involved with Halloween-themed food and cocktails.”

Zahra added Halloween will also help build sales momentum for retailers in the run-up to Christmas.

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