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It’s become a recurring forecast this year, true for Father’s Day, Mother’s Day, Easter, and now Halloween. That is, consumers’ retail spending around these events is expected to be high, but just shy of last year’s record pace. So says the NRF again in its latest survey, this time covering Halloween spending.

An estimated 175 million Americans will celebrate Halloween this year, according to the NRF, down from last year’s estimated 179 million. Total Halloween-related spending is expected to reach $9 billion, just below last year’s $9.1 billion, which had been the highest amount in the NRF survey’s history.

This year, though, celebrants are planning to spend a little more ($86.79) than they were last year ($86.13), though the total is down due to fewer adults expecting to participate in festivities.

Roughly two-thirds of that total spending will be on costumes (totaling $3.2 billion – purchased by 68% of Halloween shoppers) and decorations ($2.7 billion; 74%), with another $2.6 billion being spent on candy, the most popular purchase (planned by 95% of Halloween shoppers).

The analysts note that one area of growth is pet costumes, with one-fifth of celebrants planning to dress their pets, up from 16% last year.

The top children’s costumes this year are Princess and Superhero costumers. A record-tying share (48%) of adults plan to dress up this year, per the report, with Witch costumes emerging as their favorite.

Online search will be where most (35%) go for inspiration, followed by retail stores (29%), friends and family (19%) and Pinterest (19%). As far as where celebrants plan to shop, discount scores (45%) lead the way again, followed by specialty Halloween/costume stores (35%), department stores (25%), online (24%), and grocery/supermarket stores (24%).

Separately, a recent report from Yesmail [download page] reveals that a growing number (38%) of marketers sent Halloween emails last year, up from 27% the year prior. Although those emails had below-average responses rates, they did convert at above-average rates. The analysis of close to 8 billion emails sent in Q4 found that the campaigns driving the highest conversion rates were sent on the Friday before Halloween (which occurred on a Tuesday), featuring promotions for costumes and party food.

For more data on Halloween spending and planned purchases, see the NRF survey results here.

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