Business Trends

Record-Breaking Halloween: Sales To Reach $6 Billion

In Uncategorized on October 13, 2009 at 10:22 pm

Despite economic gloom casting a spell on consumer confidence this year, America’s darkest holiday is looking bright for retailers.  According to industry research firm IBISWorld, Halloween sales are expected to reach a record-breaking $6 billion in 2009, up 4.2 percent from the $5.77 billion generated last year. That’s contrary to the National Retail Federation’s prediction, which forecasts sales will decline to $4.75 billion.

“Economic recovery appears to be around the corner and consumers are enthusiastically looking to escape their recessionary woes,” said Toon van Beeck, senior analyst with IBISWorld.  “Even last year, when the outlook was much worse, the Halloween spirit remained unhindered as we saw total sales actually jump 5.1 percent from 2007.”

Halloween retail sales are comprised of a wide range of consumer goods, aimed at adults, children, and even pets.  These goods include costumes, scary make-up, wigs, Halloween decorations for inside and outside, and of course, pumpkins and candy, among other things.

In projecting this year’s total sales, analysts at the Los Angeles-based firm aggregated the retail-dollar performance of the following four traditional Halloween categories:

Category 2008 Revenue
2009 Revenue(Billions) % Change
Candy $1.77 $1.89 6.8%
Decorations $ 1.58 $1.65 4.4%
Costumes $2.07 $2.12 2.4%
Greeting Cards $0.35 $0.35              0.0%

It appears an increasing number of people are buying treats this year, making candy the fastest growing holiday category. The average person is estimated to spend about $22.50 on Halloween treats in 2009.

It appears an increasing number of people are buying treats this year, making candy the fastest growing holiday category. The average person is estimated to spend about $22.50 on Halloween treats in 2009.

Also fuelling this year’s record-breaking sales is the demand for holiday decorations.  With Halloween falling on a Saturday this year, more adults are expected to join the fun.  In fact, 32 percent of people celebrating the holiday will either host or attend a party. For this reason, IBISWorld expects decorations to reach its highest level yet at $1.64 billion.

“Halloween-related festivities are a growing trend and this is driving sales of decorations and candy,” adds van Beeck.  “Dollar and variety stores stand to benefit from the 4.4 percent increase in decoration sales, as consumers look to purchase cheap and disposable thrills to make a memorable evening.”

Call it escapism or just good, old-fashioned fun, Americans of all ages show the desire to go all out when it comes to dressing-up.  Costumes are expected to generate the greatest amount of revenue this Halloween, but growth is slight (2.4 percent) as consumers will apply more frugal but creative approaches when shopping.

”Despite more people participating in festivities, money is still tight and consumers will look to cut corners when it comes costume purchases,” said van Beeck.  “Instead of buying a packaged costume, which can cost up to $60 on average, people will get more eclectic and opt for cheaper individual items.”
But given the lack of growth for the card category, not all cheaper items will fare well this year. While cards did well last year, as consumers chose to cut back on pricier categories, 2009 expenditures will revert back to traditional shopping habits.

“Although unemployment is still very high, the overall outlook is far rosier today than it was this time last year,” adds van Beeck.  “For this reason, IBISWorld expects the upward trend in Halloween expenditures to continue its course for 2009, which despite economic conditions will prove to be the best year yet.”

The 2009 Verdict

America’s largest retailer of party goods, today announced its retail sales results for the five-week Halloween season ended November 7, 2009. Amscan’s retail sales include sales under its four retail banners, Party City, Halloween USA, Party America, and Factory Card & Party Outlet.

Retail sales for the five-week period ended November 7, 2009 totaled $257.4 million and were $11.6 million or 4.7% higher than the retail sales for the five-week period ended November 1, 2008, principally due to the growth and performance of the Company’s network of temporary Halloween USA stores.

During the five-week period ended November 7, 2009, the Company operated 247 temporary Halloween USA stores, as compared to 149 in 2008. In addition to its network of temporary stores, the Company operated 387 Party City and Party America “Big Box” retail stores (stores generally greater than 8,000 square feet), 59 smaller outlet stores and 161 FCPO stores during the 2009 Halloween season, as compared to 391 Big Box, 86 outlet and 171 FCPO stores during the 2008 season.

During the five-week Halloween season of 2009, the average sales for temporary Halloween USA stores increased by 7.5%, while the same-store net sales for the Company’s Big Box stores decreased 1.5%. Same store net sales at FCPO stores decreased 1.2%.

Commenting on these results, Gerry Rittenberg, Amscan’s Chief Executive Officer, stated: “In light of the current economy, the dire pre-Halloween predictions of the National Retail Federation and aggressive competition from other temporary Halloween stores, we are extremely pleased with these key holiday results.”

Additional links 
Candy Production:
Gift Shops & Card Stores:
Greeting Cards & Other Publishing:
Formal Wear & Costume Rental:


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