US Insights

Walmart, Amazon have a hold on Halloween

Caroline Dumas


Retail 10.18.2019 / 09:00


Halloween provides a window into shoppers’ spending plans for the hectic holiday season.

Halloween marks the beginning of the holiday season, with spooky skulls and witches adorning the aisles and front store displays. In addition to serving as a holiday for shoppers to embrace their creativity and dapple with the dark side, Halloween provides a window into shoppers’ spending plans for the hectic holiday season that follows. Halloween spending plans point to shoppers focusing on experiences, with 21% of shoppers who celebrate the spooky season reporting plans to spend more on activities such as haunted houses or pumpkin patches. Shoppers are also allocating more of their dollars to costumes for their children—and for their pets.

But generally, shoppers’ plans for Halloween spending appear to be at the same levels as last year. Perhaps shoppers are opting to reuse décor (ghouls and goblins never go out of style), or repurpose previously used Halloween costumes, but the presentation of Halloween in-store—or lack thereof—still can impact spending levels.

Halloween POVGraphic

Walmart will seize leadership as the top shopped retailer for costumes, décor, and candy, with nearly half of all shoppers who celebrate Halloween planning to shop the low-price leader, while 3 in 10 shoppers will turn to online giant Amazon. More seasonally-focused retailers, such as Party City and Halloween stores, will capture 20% of all shoppers this Halloween season.

Different shopper cohorts are more likely to shop certain retailers for Halloween, which could help retailers prepare for the Christmas season by appropriately curating assortment to cater to these groups. Millennials are significantly more likely to shop Target and seasonal retailers, while Boomers stick to supermarkets, which is likely an effort to fit in seasonal shopping with their regular routine. Have Nots opt to stick to budget-friendly retailers, including dollar stores and Walmart, while Haves flock to warehouse clubs, likely incentivized by bulk quantities of candy for trick-or-treaters.

Kantar’s Take

Though the spending landscape for Halloween may be stagnate, it’s possibly a result of retailers blurring seasons together, rather than a lack of intention to spend on the holiday, or perhaps shoppers are just saving up for holiday gifts and events. Christmas and Halloween displays and merchandise are overlapping across retailers. Conversely, with retailers morphing the seasons together, spending on Christmas could see a spike with shoppers getting a head start on the season. Additionally, there is an opportunity for retailers to play into shoppers’ attraction for experiences by identifying product offerings that have a strong connection to experiences.

Source: Kantar

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