Consumers, already spooked by the government shutdown and gridlock that took the country to the brink of its first-ever default, are projected to spend about $1 billion less than last year on Halloween.
According to consumer spending trends forecast by the National Retail Federation, retailers have something to be scared of this Halloween. Consumers, already spooked by the government shutdown and gridlock that took the country to the brink of its first-ever default, are projected by the NRF, the world’s largest retail trade association, to spend $6.9 billion on Halloween this year. This is about $1 billion less than last year, according to its survey of 5,300 adults. Overall, average Halloween spending has increased 54.7 percent since 2005
Survey after survey finds American consumers viewing the economy as the Nightmare on Main Street. Nearly three-fourths (72 percent) of respondents to a CBS poll say that the economy is on the “wrong track.” The monthly Bloomberg Consumer Comfort Index in October plunged from minus 9 in September to minus 31, the lowest level since November 2011.
When consumers get scared, they tend to limit their spending, and consumer spending accounts for 70 percent of the economy.
Halloween is not one of the year’s biggest shopping holidays, according to consumer spending trends tracked by the NRF. It ranks ahead only of St. Patrick’s Day ($4.7 billion). In comparison, Americans are expected to spend $602 billion during the winter holiday shopping season. They spend $72.5 billion on back to school items. But Halloween could be an early indication of consumer spending trends in anticipation of Thanksgiving and the Christmas season.
Nearly 158 million consumers will participate in Halloween activities, the NRF projects. This is down from last year’s survey high of 170 million. Here, according to NRF is Halloween by the numbers:
· Celebrants will spend an average of $75.03 on all things Halloween, down from $79.882 last year.
· 43.6 percent of people plan to dress up in costume and will spend $2.6 billion on Halloween attire (among the most popular costumes this year, according to Google Search are a Minion from the film, “Despicable Me,” Miley Cyrus’ MTV Music Awards get-up, Walter White from “Breaking Bad” and a fox from the viral video, "What Does the Fox Say?").
· Pet owners will spend approximately $330 million on a costume for their companions.
· Americans will spend $2.08 billion on Halloween candy and $360 million on greeting cards.
· Almost $2 billion will be spent on decorations.
What are the most popular ways to mark Halloween? According to the NRF:
· 72 percent will hand out candy to trick-or-treaters
· 47.5 percent will decorate their home
· 44.2 percent will carve a pumpkin
· 31.7 percent will take their child trick-or-treating
· 20.3 percent will visit a haunted house (or maybe the Senate)
Donald Liebenson writes news and features for Millionaire Corner. He has been published in the Chicago Tribune, The Chicago Sun-Times, The Los Angeles Times, Fiscal Times, Entertainment Weekly, Huffington Post, and other outlets. He has also served as a marketing writer for Chicago-based Questar Entertainment and distributor Baker & Taylor.
A graduate of the University of Southern California, he is married with a college-age son. He also writes extensively about entertainment.