October is nearly over and that means Halloween is approaching, heralding the beginning of the holiday shopping season. Many supply chains have been preparing for months, some starting as early as January to prepare for the busiest shipping time of the year. Even if your company doesn’t supply or manufacture Halloween-related merchandise, it’s likely that you and your family will fuel the demand for products in some way. In fact, almost 70% of Americans plan to participate in Halloween celebrations this year. Whether you’re purchasing candy, porch decorations or a costume for your dog, few Americans escape the commercial aspect of this spooky day.
Halloween Shopping by the Numbers
The National Retail Federation (NRF) estimated that Halloween sales will top $8.8 billion ($86.27 per household). This year’s total is expected to be the third-highest out of the fifteen years the survey has been conducted. While the total amount spent hasn’t changed too drastically in the past few years, there’s a noticeable change in the motivation of consumers. Many purchases they make are influenced by friends, neighbors or celebrities on social media. Here are a few consumer statistics to consider as the season reaches its peak.
Balancing Supply and Demand
Most consumers know the type of candy, costume or decoration they want before going to the store. They expect retailers to be fully stocked to make the selection process as easy as possible and establish brand loyalty. This is especially important for Halloween staples like bite-sized candy to hand out and pumpkins for carving into jack-o’-lanterns. Consumers who walk into a grocery store or department store and don’t find what they’ve come for are unlikely to stick around to buy additional merchandise, resulting in lost sales and poor customer satisfaction. This lack of supply is bad for business.
The inverse is also just as detrimental for retailers trying to make a profit from Halloween sales. If retailers have forecasted incorrectly and have too much Halloween merchandise in stock, they will be left “holding the bag” and need to deeply discount merchandise in an attempt to sell it quickly after Halloween. This is particularly important for items with expiration dates that need to be off shelves quickly.
Demand planners should also keep in mind regional preferences. Running out of Skittles in California or Florida may be worse for customer satisfaction than in Massachusetts. Check out this interactive map from the CandyStore.com to see your region’s favorite Halloween candies.
While some people look forward to the 75% off candy sales on November 1st each year, these sales are a result of inaccurate demand planning leading up to the holiday. Balancing supply and demand is crucial leading up to any retail holiday.
Where Are Consumers Doing Their Halloween Shopping?
Though this year isn’t anticipated to be a record-setting year in terms of overall sales (that record was set in 2017), the total amount being spent by Americans is still impressive. That means that consumers are opening their wallets with the plan to spend. However, having products for sale in the right locations is becoming more of a challenge for retailers and manufacturers. In order to capture customers, many companies are diversifying where they sell. Consumers now have many more options than traditional brick-and-mortar stores. They can shop online, at local grocery stores, at specialty stores, department stores and even at convenience and pharmacy locations. Retailers like Target and Walmart have expanded their online presence in order to capture customers that prefer to shop online.
In 2018, the National Retail Federation reported that 24% of Halloween shoppers who bought costumes or Halloween supplies did so online. While this number continues to rise, many shoppers still prefer to see what’s for sale in-store.
Don’t Be Frightened by the Halloween Shopping Season
Whether you’re a manufacturer, retailer or consumer, Halloween is a busy time of year for the supply chain. Stores become full of seasonal merchandise and consumers see advertisements and Halloween decorating inspiration on all sides. Hopefully, most companies have their logistics operations well in hand and are on track to meet customers’ needs without excessive leftover stock. If you’re planning to participate in any Halloween activities this year, we hope you have a spooky day!