Updated October 11, 2012While Halloween is a major event on the U.S. retail holiday sales calendar, it is not the most major of the retail holidays in terms of spending. The U.S. Retail Industry pays attention to Halloween, however, for clues about how much of an influence holiday festivities can have on consumer spending. Theoretically if consumers get giddy with goblins and ghouls, then they will also be easily excitable when Black Friday rolls around less than a month later.
In 2011, it was predicted that Halloween was going to hold more treats than tricks for the U.S. Retail Industry. This was based on the 2011 Halloween Consumer Intentions and Actions Survey conducted by Big Research for the National Retail Federation (NRF) which reported that Halloween spending would increase by almost $1 billion. At the same time, however, the number of people who said that the state of the U.S. economy would negatively impact their Halloween fun was at an all-time high as well. In the past three years, consumers surveyed by the NRF's Halloween spending and buying survey, have admitted that the negative impact of the economy has steadily increased. When asked "Will the U.S. economy impact your Halloween plans?" the percentage of Halloween Intentions Survey participants who answered "yes" was:
32.1% - 2011
30.1% - 2010
29.6% - 2009
And while the wording of that survey question doesn't specify whether the "impact" would be positive or negative, an overwhelming majority of the "impacted" consumers went on to specify that they would be spending less at Halloween because of "the economy."
So, if more consumers are spending less year-over-year on the Halloween holiday than ever before, how could a $1 billion increase in Halloween spending still be predicted for 2011? If the NRF survey extrapolations hold true, 4.8% of the American population has suddenly decided to stop ignoring the Halloween holiday for some unknown reason this year.
What follows are some of the key results of the Halloween Consumer Intentions and Actions Survey for 2005 - 2011. Only questions that were included in the survey for all seven years are reported here.
Click for the Seven-Year Comparison of the NRF Halloween Intentions Spending Survey >>