Americans are expected to spend about $9.1 billion on Halloween related purchases this year, according to recent research  from the National Research Federation and Prosper Insights and Analytics. That means the holiday could offer a major opportunity for your small business to increase sales — if you’re prepared for it.
This year’s spending figure represents an 8.3 percent increase from last year’s mark of $8.4 billion. So it’s the largest amount that U.S. consumers have ever spent on Halloween items in a year.
NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay said in a release, “Americans are planning to spend more than ever as they gear up for Halloween. Retailers are helping customers celebrate in style with a huge selection of costumes, candy and decorations to cater to ghosts and goblins of all ages.”
Much of that spending will go to the traditional Halloween categories — candy, costumes, decor and greeting cards, to name a few. But of course small businesses will have to go up against big retail players like Walmart and Amazon to compete for those Halloween sales.
Is Your Small Business Ready for Halloween?
There are several tactics you can use to try and kickstart Halloween sales for your small business, some of which come from the NRF study. For example, the study found that 35 percent of shoppers plan to gather inspiration for costumes online. So businesses could potentially benefit from posting photo inspiration that integrates some of their products on their websites and on social platforms like Pinterest.
Additionally, 47 percent of Halloween shoppers plan to make purchases at discount stores. So clearly, price is also a major factor and potential selling point for businesses looking to attract more customers during the Halloween shopping season. If you can offer discounts or promotions that highlight your store’s great prices or value, you could potentially lure some of those customers away from the big discount chains.
Of course, it’s often difficult for small businesses to beat large corporations when it comes to pricing. But there are other things you can do to add value or create a unique experience that appeals to Halloween shoppers. For example, create unique product bundles that customers can use to put together their own customized costumes instead of buying the generic, pre-made options offered at stores like Walmart. Or you could host fun fall events like haunted houses or cider and donut socials to bring families into your store so that they get a fun shopping experience along with their purchases.
The study also highlights the benefits for businesses to focus on Halloween marketing  and advertising . Some retailers might be tempted to gloss over the holiday and focus more on preparing for the Christmas shopping season. But if you have the resources to prepare for later holidays while also doing some Halloween promotions, your business could see a big boost in sales throughout the end of the year.
Masked shopper Photo via Shutterstock