Tuesday, October 10, 2006
Halloween business is booming
Here's a scary fact: More than 3.5 million Americans will buy Halloween products for their pets this year, up from a mere 1 million four years ago, according to the American Pet Products Manufacturers Association.
Human beings and their homes will be pretty spooky, too. The National Retail Federation is projecting overall consumer spending on the holiday to leap more than 50 percent to $4.96 billion from $3.29 billion a year ago.
"There's just a lot more people celebrating Halloween this year than last year," said Scott Krugman, spokesman for the Washington, D.C., industry group.
The steady creep of orange and black beyond the trick-or-treating Bacchanalia of Oct. 31 has been building for years. Mr. Krugman sees it as the public's way to stretch the holiday into days and even weeks of fun. It's a break from the norm, he said, and it doesn't cost too much to put a skeleton or giant pumpkin in the front yard.
Consumers plan to spend an average of $59.06 on the holiday, compared with $48.48 last year, according to the survey conducted for the retail federation by BIGresearch. About 8,000 people were polled in early September.
Whether consumers are getting into the Halloween spirit as a result of the increased availability of animated coffins and floating ghosts or whether retailers are just responding to customer demand, anyone who has been to the store lately can tell that merchants stand ready to serve.
Rite Aid stores, which began putting Halloween items out on Sept. 15, have noticed a change in what shoppers want, said Ashley Flower, spokeswoman for the Camp Hill, Pa., drugstore chain. Increasingly, the main customers are teenagers and adults, which may explain why new items this year include a doorknob scream and an animated crystal ball with a witch inside.
Walgreens has stocked up, too. "We've seen growth each year, not only in candy and costume sales, but especially in decorations,'' both indoor and outdoor, said Carol Hively, spokeswoman for the Deerfield, Ill., chain.
The Spirit Halloween Superstores that pop up temporarily in vacant spaces around Pittsburgh and elsewhere will operate 425 stores this year, according to the Web site of the company affiliated with Spencer Gifts.
But the truth is, just about any store of any kind can be found hawking Halloween merchandise, from KB Toys and Giant Eagle to farmers markets and pet stores. PetSmart is selling a Spider Web dog collar for $11.99 while PetCo's Web site recently showed the $15.99 Dickens' Closet Pumpkin costume for dogs as a best seller in its Boo-tique.
"We didn't have nearly the selection nine years ago as we have today," said Don Cowan, a PetCo spokesman.
There's no official date for when the spooky season starts but Yahoo! Shopping reported this week that Halloween costumes already are among the top 10 most searched items.
And when picking a costume, princesses continue to rule, according to the National Retail Federation. The survey results showed 3.97 million children plan to put on their tiaras next month, with 1.72 million pirates coming in second place. Consumers who need costumes and can't make their own expect to spend an average of $21.57 per person.
For those not in the business, the real treat hidden inside Halloween creep may be that it could put up a few barriers to the ever-expanding Christmas retail season.
It's not that the red-white-and-green merchandise hasn't started to arrive. But, said Mr. Krugman, "You're not really seeing it in the front of the stores."
Correction/Clarification: (Published Sept. 29, 2006) This story as originally published Sept. 27, 2006 on a projected surge in Halloween consumer spending from $3.29 billion a year ago to $4.96 billion this year understated the percentage increase. The jump would be more than 50 percent.
(Teresa F. Lindeman can be reached at email@example.com or at 412-263-2018. )
Halloween business is booming
As holiday's popularity grows, so does its role as moneymaker for retailers
Wednesday, September 27, 2006
By Teresa F. Lindeman, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
Planning a business this Halloween season? Try to consider these tips:
- Halloween Treats Recipes
- Making Dipped Candles
- How To Make Scented Candles
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