It’s that time of year again. Furniture ads start telling us we can take delivery by Christmas, every evening in the suburbs is punctuated by idiots setting off fireworks, and you start to think you must visit Selfridges’ Christmas shop rather than tutting and mumbling “how ridiculous”.
Plus we get deluged with reports about how much we’re going to spend this Halloween, Black Friday, Christmas and so on.
Today we learn that Americans are looking forward to splurging on their favourite candy and costumes this Halloween season as the National Retail Federation’s annual survey predicts total spending for Halloween should reach $8.4bn, an all-time high in the survey’s history.
US consumers are expected to spend an average of $82.93, up from last year’s $74.34, with more than 171m Americans planning to partake in Halloween festivities this year. Replicate that in other markets like the UK or France and that adds up to a whole lot of money.
According to the survey, consumers plan to spend $3.1bn on costumes (purchased by 67% of Halloween shoppers), $2.5bn on candy (94.3%), $2.4bn on decorations (70%) and $390m on greeting cards (35.4%). That last one feels a little weird to me as I never knew Halloween was a greeting cards event.
Whats interesting is that searching for the perfect costume inspiration will lead consumers to sources such as online (35%) more than in-store (29%) but social media is the fastest-growing influencer for the perfect costume, particularly Pinterest (17%), which has seen 133% growth since 2012.
Meanwhile, yesterday we heard that Christmas shopping could be a bit different this year. A report from Deloitte said that smaller companies who offer differentiated products and experiences could see better growth than the big names who’ve dominated festive shopping for so long.
Deloitte expects to sales for November to January to rise almost 4% and to top $1trn, while e-sales should rise from 17% to 19% to reach between $96bn and $98bn. But while e-commerce will be important, the big news is the power of individuality.
“We anticipate that marketplace fragmentation – more than e-commerce – will be the major disruptor this Holiday season,” said Deloitte vice-chairman Ron Sides. “Retail competition [is] likely to come from the small- and mid-sized retailers that focus on niche products and experiences. This group has been collectively taking share from large, traditional retailers to the tune of $200bn in annual sales over the last five years.”
But the internet will be key in one area. Just as with Halloween, social media will be big news. ‘Digital interactions’ will influence 67% ($661bn) of sales made in physical stores this coming season.
“The trend to watch is the way that online, mobile and store channels influence each other,” said Sides. He said big e-tailers and platforms like Facebook and Pinterest “are shaping what people think a great shopping experience is – a fast, highly-curated assortment with access to visuals, information and buying sources.”