How can retailers scare up more Halloween sales using social media?

Discussion
Photo: @crystalmariesing via Twenty20
Sep 27, 2019
George Anderson

The National Retail Federation’s annual Halloween Shopping Trends survey shows that Americans are ready to get creative for this year’s holiday, and many will turn to social media for inspiration.

NRF expects spending for Halloween to be down slightly this year versus last, with the average consumer spending $86.27, down from $86.79 in 2018. Fewer people, 172 million versus 175 million, plan to celebrate Halloween this year compared to 2018, as well.

Matthew Shay, NRF’s president and CEO, said that while the trade group hasn’t seen a significant change in consumer spending on the holiday in recent years, it has seen “a noticeable increase in consumers whose Halloween purchases are inspired by their friends, neighbors and even celebrities on social media.

So what social media sites are consumers turning to for inspiration this year?

NRF reports that 18 percent of Halloween shoppers will frequent Pinterest, followed Facebook (16 percent), and YouTube and Instagram (14 percent). Six percent named Twitter.

The breakout on social media is influenced by gender, with 25 percent of women choosing Pinterest compared to only 12 percent of men. Males were more likely to turn to YouTube at 19 percent compared to only 10 percent of women. Similar percentages, 15 percent men and 14 percent women, planned to check out Instagram.

Among those celebrating Halloween, 69 percent plan to hand out candy to trick-or-treaters. Forty-nine percent plan to decorate and 47 percent will put on a costume. Twenty-nine percent plan to take their kids out trick-or-treating and 17 percent (29 million people) plan to put their pets in a costume.

The two most popular costumes among kids this year will be a princess and a superhero. Adults are most likely to dress up as a witch, while pumpkin will be the top costume choice for four-legged family members.

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: Do you see any reason for concern that NRF’s Halloween sales forecast is down from 2018? Does the growing role of social media in Halloween-related consumer purchases provide lessons beyond the holiday?

Please practice The RetailWire Golden Rule when submitting your comments.
Braintrust
"Halloween is a creative holiday, I’d make it a goal to steer customers to my store instead of Pinterest for ideas."
"...how about a store event where associates dress up in costumes? There are nearly endless possibilities."
"Since the decline in average consumer spending is negligible, it’s not cause for alarm. Social media will still drive Halloween engagement..."

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11 Comments on "How can retailers scare up more Halloween sales using social media?"


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Ralph Jacobson
BrainTrust

Let’s get far more varieties of healthier treats for kids to satisfy parents, but keep them fun and tasty for kids.

Georganne Bender
BrainTrust

Most retailers just don’t do Halloween right. They load up gondolas with candy and devote a run or two to packaged costumes and accessories. If you want decor, it can be found in various departments all over the store.

Retail has sales down to a science, but it drops the ball on in-store events. Halloween is the second biggest retail holiday, it should be celebrated – merchandised – in one easy-to-shop, idea-inspiring place on the sales floor. Take the costumes out of packages, do makeup demos, host an in-store costume contest and another one on social media. Add in photos for kids and pets with Jack Skellington. Halloween is a creative holiday, I’d make it a goal to steer customers to my store instead of Pinterest for ideas.

Rich Kizer
BrainTrust

Absolutely on target George!

Camille P. Schuster, PhD.
BrainTrust

Great comments. To go one step further, this approach can be successful for other holidays and occasions as well.

Georganne Bender
BrainTrust

Absolutely, Camille! Rich and I tell our clients that they need to run one major and one to two minor events each and every month. Events are fun; they draw shoppers to the store and move merchandise, but do not necessarily involve a sale. Our book, “Jingle Bells… Christmas Sells: Events, Promotion and Tips for the Holiday Season!” co-written with Australia’s Debra Templar, is full of turnkey event ideas. Once a retailer gets into an event groove, it’s easy.

Lisa Goller
BrainTrust

Since the decline in average consumer spending is negligible, it’s not cause for alarm. Social media will still drive Halloween engagement, as consumers love to express their creativity and sense of humor.

Lessons for retailers and brands ahead of Halloween (and other seasonal holidays) include:

  • Get social: Create on-brand Halloween-themed social media posts to engage and inspire your audience (e.g. costume ideas, recipes or makeup tips).
  • Advertise: If your product is particularly popular at Halloween, consider pay-per-click and native advertising, like shoppable Instagram ads, to be top-of-mind during this critical sales period.
  • Hold flash sales: Give consumers a quick heads-up and a limited amount of time to shop that very day to capitalize on timely offers and impulse purchases.
  • Reward shoppers: Create a Halloween promotion with discounts, exclusive offers and private sales to thank consumers and earn their loyalty.
Anne Howe
BrainTrust

Perhaps costume makers can inspire more purchases by making sure they have extra supplies of masks that depict outrageous political figures accompanied by signs they can hold up detailing a favorite tweet or Instagram post. Either way you lean, you’ve got to see the humor in this! As for my Boomer household, we’ve opted for a Woodstock reunion!

Ryan Mathews
BrainTrust

Can I come? I’m sure I have a “costume” somewhere in the back of my closet.

Seriously, in a polarized society … and one in which people have lost the ability to celebrate the absurd and just have fun … the whole political thing may be a bridge too far. Unless of course you had a contest to see whose supporters bought the most masks, kind of a costume primary.

Now where DID I put those love beads …

Ricardo Belmar
BrainTrust

Halloween is a purely visual holiday – it’s all about the look and feel of the costumes and decorations. Retailers should be having a field day with promotional displays in-store that inspire shoppers to make more purchases. Otherwise, it’s a lost opportunity for the retailer. Social media is the ideal medium for retailers to promote those in-store displays. Just imagine a great Halloween department with multiple images posted to Instagram. Or how about a store event where associates dress up in costumes? There are nearly endless possibilities.

Doug Garnett
BrainTrust

Social media just might fit decently with Halloween — because it is a visual holiday. Just look at the merchandising at Kroger — lots of things which live or die based on a quick look.

That is, in fact, about the best possible situation for social media — quick look ads. Focus on those things which are visually compelling without words and you just might increase store sales.

Ryan Mathews
BrainTrust

No real reason for concern. Fewer parents take their kids out, for a variety of reasons. Halloween is transitioning to be a much more “adult” holiday. And it may have, “jumped the shark,” a bit. The emphasis on healthier eating, safety concerns, and the fact that some people have perhaps overspent a bit in recent years are all contributing factors to a slight decline. I wouldn’t get too worried yet. As to the role of social media, isn’t it impacting every aspect of our collective lives?

wpDiscuz
Braintrust
"Halloween is a creative holiday, I’d make it a goal to steer customers to my store instead of Pinterest for ideas."
"...how about a store event where associates dress up in costumes? There are nearly endless possibilities."
"Since the decline in average consumer spending is negligible, it’s not cause for alarm. Social media will still drive Halloween engagement..."

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