Halloween: The Millennial Holiday

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Halloween spending this year is expected to reach $8.6 billion, according to the National Retail Federation. Although Halloween was originally geared towards children, it has since become the 6th most important retail holiday, thanks to millennials. According to the National Retail Federation, over 157 million people celebrated Halloween in 2015 – and 8 out of 10 were millennials. Over the past decade, young adults have been spending more money on costumes, decorations and supplies for Halloween. Retailers exploit Halloween marketing opportunities by opening up impulse-friendly Halloween stores. Retailers like Retailer Spirit and Party City open over 1,500 temporary Halloween stores nation-wide.

Why is Halloween such an important holiday for millennials?

Two reasons. First, millennials embrace self-expression, and are enthusiastic about assuming a different persona for an evening. They put time and effort into creating and assuming a costume, or sometimes two or three, for Halloweekend. Second, millennials value experiences over physical products. They share experiences with their friends and peers on social media. Halloween is perfect for millennials – they take on a different persona and simultaneously express themselves, and share it all on social media. In fact, 70% of millennials (over 55 million) plan to attend a party on or around October 31. With so many individuals engaging with the holiday, it’s no wonder Halloween accounts for 25% of Party City’s annual revenue!

Millennials – motivated by the media

Halloween is created and enhanced by Hollywood movies and television shows. Millennials watch shows like the Walking Dead, and thus expect to see zombies, vampires and ghouls at Halloween parties, haunted houses and theme parks during the season. Social media floods with plans for Halloween activities like parties, bar crawls and haunted houses or hayrides. This outpouring of Halloween-centric media increases hype surrounding the holiday, increasing revenues for retailers nationwide.

So what can marketers do to profit on this popular holiday?

Marketers should utilize social media, seasonal discounts and limited edition products in order to capitalize on the millennial holiday. Consumers start thinking about Halloween way before the week of. Over 34% of consumers start Halloween shopping in September, 41% in the first two weeks of October and 25% wait until the last two weeks of October. The months of September and October are prime times to push for sales of eccentric clothing, discounts, and promotional goodies for the weekend of the 31st.

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