Unwrapping Popular Candy Choices, Key Trends, Brands, & More
Halloween, often dubbed as the curtain-raiser for the holiday retail season, holds profound significance for brands and retailers worldwide. Not merely a festival of costumes and candy, this critical season plays a pivotal role in guiding strategies for the intense shopping events that follow. The U.S. witnessed a Halloween-related expenditure surpassing $10 billion in 2022, and the dynamics of 2023 show promising twists. In fact, the National Retail Federation has predicted that Halloween spending will surpass a record $12.2 Billion this year. For CPG brands, especially, the stakes are high, presenting abundant opportunities for strategic discounts, refined brand positioning, distinct market visibility, and the lucrative potential to shape consumer behavior. Read ahead for a deep dive into the metrics and trends that matter.
Pricing, Discount, and Purchasing Insights
Consumer Spend and Discounts: Despite 45% of consumers planning to curtail their Halloween spending in 2023, Millennials are breaking the mold. A surprising 40% of them are gearing up to spend big this season, starkly contrasting with Gen X and Baby Boomers, where 52% and 50% respectively are tightening their purse strings. The key to capturing this diverse mindset? Discounts. Businesses offering a large variety of discounts (bulk deals, buy one get one offers, and more) could even witness a sales surge of 10 to 15 percent. Further, due to spending trends observed this year, early-bird discounts, particularly on Halloween candy, can be a game-changer. Consumers who made their candy purchases in August 2022 had an average order value of $106— a striking $31 more than the October shoppers.
Per the last few years of festivities, it is clear that the Halloween stock-up momentum picks up a full eight weeks before D-day. Shoppers are purchasing holiday essentials well in advance, likely in search of the best deals and products, as well as to avoid stockouts. For example, the term “Halloween costumes” saw a near 180% rise in Amazon searches from the first and last day of August. Notably, the phrase “Halloween Costumes for Adults” witnessed a massive 395% leap in searches during the same time period. Overall, search volumes are accelerating earlier this year than in Halloween 2022 by nearly 100%, inclusive of costumes, decor, and even candy.
In terms of channel preferences, one-third of Gen Z plans to bag their costumes from Amazon. And when online shopping for Halloween, 56% of Gen Z and 58% of Millennials choose Amazon as their starting point. However, Instagram is gaining traction, captivating 30% of Gen Z shoppers. Investing in digital channels is critical, as even top Halloween retailers like Spirit and Party City lag behind competitors online- with only 10% of shoppers heading to their websites when browsing.
Halloween 2023: Top Sellers & Trending Products
Trending Costumes: The biggest hits in 2023 pop culture are well represented in costume choices this year, with a Barbie-inspired pink cowgirl outfit taking its place as the top seller in women’s costumes on Amazon. Similar to the Barbie movie’s success, Netlix’s hit show “Wednesday” is expected to inspire many gothic purchases and ‘looks’ this year. For men, Mario-bros inspired costumes are expected to be largely popular.
Candy Kings of 2023: According to Catalina’s Shopper Intelligence Platform, consumers are set to spend up to 17% of their total basket specifically on candy during the ‘pre season’ shopping phase. Per Amazon’s top-sellers, Hershey’s assorted flavor miniatures, Nerds’ Trick or Treat package, assorted combo packages of Butterfinger’s with Crunch and Baby Ruth, Mars’ combo of “Ghoulish Green” M&Ms with Snickers and Twix, and the ever-popular Skittles and Starburst assortment are setting the benchmark. Variety packs, miniature or ‘fun’ sized packages, and season-special ‘trick or treat’ packages are performing significantly well in comparision to regular, full-size (or full price) deals on regular candy. Evidently, crafting trendy, attractive holiday assortments to fit consumer preferences is a valuable investment for the holiday rush.
Popular Decor: With the rise of the ‘DIY’ craze, pop culture trends, and calls for sustainability, retailers can expect shoppers to gravitate towards a larger variety of untraditional colors and decor this year.
However, the classics reign supreme, as displayed on Amazon’s top sellers, with floating (flameless) candles, spooky ghosts, inflatables, and giant spider webs taking center stage.
Halloween Retail Royalty: Top Brands of 2023
Heinz: Venturing beyond their traditional domain, Heinz’s ingenious collaboration with Firework created a unique Halloween pop-up event for families across the US. Embracing the whimsical idea of “tomato blood” ketchup, Heinz captured the attention of shoppers with “festive costume creations”. The crown jewel of this campaign was a shoppable livestream on their official website, where viewers were instantly drawn into purchasing exclusive costume kits. The livestream and campaign overall generated well over 16 million impressions across platforms, marking the endeavor as a distinct success.
Urban Outfitters: Urban Outfitters opted for a tongue-in-cheek campaign for their younger shoppers, with comical costumes for the season. Their Influencer Halloween Costume Set—essentially a repackaging of a leggings and crop top ensemble—was an instant viral sensation. Yet, the humor didn’t stop there. A simple denim outfit reborn as a “Bob Ross” costume mirrored a broader trend this season: many fashion and cosmetics titans diving headlong into the Halloween theme, repackaging staple products with tantalizing, spooky names, all under the tempting umbrella of Halloween sales.
Target: In an era demanding inclusivity, Target rose to the occasion. Its new line of children’s Halloween costumes, irresistibly cute, was a masterstroke in representation. Marketed using a diverse cast, it answered society’s pressing call for better disability representation, proving that genuine inclusivity can be both heartwarming and commercially lucrative.
Tesco: This year, retail therapy met Halloween thrill at Tesco. The chain took the festive fervor offline, orchestrating a haunted supermarket experience with self-propelling carts, concealed faces behind toilet rolls, icy hands, and a myriad of other surprises. An inspired move to drive footfall to their physical stores, this campaign was a testament to the brand’s commitment to reimagining retail engagement.
Each year, Halloween presents abundant opportunities for businesses to boost profitability, setting the tone for the upcoming season. To truly harness these opportunities, brands and retailers require more than just superficial insights; they need a strategic partner with a deep understanding of the market. At Intelligence Node, we empower businesses with 99% accurate real-time market data, enabling you to craft outstanding product assortments, devise powerful sales campaigns, and implement impactful pricing strategies throughout the year. In 2023 and beyond, empower your brand to stay not just ahead, but at the pinnacle of the retail curve.
Book a demo with Intelligence Node today to learn how.