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Much like this year’s forecast for Easter, consumer retail spending around Halloween is expected to be high but fall short of last year’s total, according to the latest survey from the NRF.

Per the survey, an estimated 172 million Americans will celebrate Halloween this year. This number is down from last year’s estimated 175 million. Total Halloween-related spending is expected to reach $8.8 billion, just below last year’s $9 billion. This is the lowest total spending since 2016’s $8.4 billion.

This year, celebrants plan to spend a little less on average ($86.27) than last year ($86.79).

About two-thirds of that total spending will be on costumes (totaling $3.2 billion – purchased by 67% of Halloween shoppers) and decorations ($2.7 billion; 72%), with another $2.6 billion being spent on candy, the most popular purchase (planned by 95% of Halloween shoppers).

Some 17% of celebrants plan on dressing their pets for the holiday, down slightly from last year’s 20% who expected to do so.

Once again this year the top children’s costumes are Princess and Superhero costumes. Almost half (47%) of adults say they plan to dress up this year with Witch costumes being the clear favorite. Celebrants plan to shop for Halloween merchandise at discount stores (42%), specialty Halloween or customer stores (36%), online (25%), grocery stores (25%) and department stores (23%).

A separate report from Yesmail [download page] reveals that a growing number (43.6%) of marketers sent Halloween emails last year, up from 38.9% the year prior. Although those emails had below-average response rates, they did convert at above-average rates. The analysis of close to 8 billion emails sent in Q4 found that because Halloween fell in the middle of the week (Wednesday) “the lack of a clear-cut, designated ‘celebration’ day for this holiday likely presented a significant challenges since it made it harder for marketers to convey urgency or use countdown timers in their messages.”

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

About the Data: NRF results are based on a survey of 7,419 consumers was conducted September 3-10 and has a margin of error of plus or minus 1.2 percentage points.

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