Halloween is a huge holiday for retailers, ranking as the second biggest commercial holiday in the U.S. (right behind Christmas). The National Retail Federation's Halloween Data Center estimates that despite COVID-19 restrictions on gatherings, the average American spent $92.12 on Halloween-related products in 2020, for a total of $8 billion. Harris Poll data indicates that younger consumers are likely to spend more on the holiday, with Millennials expected to spend $183 each on candy, costumes, decorations and miscellaneous items. Gen X-ers are expected to spend about $70 each.
Seasonal Shopping Retailers Can Sink Their Teeth Into
The Addams Family 2 program is Ibotta’s newest seasonal shopping event, bringing together various CPG manufacturers for a themed promotion. It follows on the success of similar efforts such as last fall’s Free Thanksgiving Dinner program where Ibotta united manufacturers, including Coca-Cola Co. and Campbell Soup Co., to give away three million Thanksgiving meals at Walmart through cash-back rebates. Free Thanksgiving will return this fall. This year Ibotta also launched a new “Back to School Free for All” program, which filled backpacks and lunchboxes with up to $20 worth of products from brands including Hormel Foods’ Skippy and ACCO Brands’ Five Star.
The Addams Family 2 program is Ibotta’s first Halloween-targeted effort — and it promises to be a huge retail event.
While Halloween promotions traditionally focus on candy, Ibotta is casting its net wide to include CPG companies across many categories for The Addams Family 2 program, Ibotta senior marketing manager Josh Jacobsen says. Although Halloween is the most important holiday for the confectionery industry, accounting for 13% of the estimated $36 billion in annual U.S. confectionery sales, opportunities exist in other categories.
Beyond Candy - Halloween’s Broad Appeal
Consumers are increasingly open to offering non-confectionery options to trick-or-treaters, with health-conscious parents turning to single-serve, better-for-you snacks such as raisins or granola bars. Market analytics company Signals Analytics noted that nut-free, vegan and organic Halloween candies were popular last year as consumers generally turned to healthier foods during the pandemic.
Non-food gifts such as stickers, erasers, stamps and bubbles are also finding their way into trick-or-treat bags. Sales of small toy alternatives to candy increased in 2020 versus 2019, according to the Amazon-selling platform Jungle Scout. Toy alternatives are likely to grow as food allergy activists urge consumers to help more kids safely participate in the holiday.
Halloween celebrations are no longer just for kids. Last year, nearly half of American adults (46%) planned to dress in costume and 18% planned to dress up their pet. Over half (53%) planned to decorate their homes and 46% planned to carve pumpkins.
Cosmetic sales also see a seasonal boost as consumers get into the Halloween spirit weeks before Oct. 31. Makeup’s popularity on social media jumps significantly around Halloween. Quotient notes that lipstick, faux eyelashes, other eye makeup, and makeup remover can register double-digit social media lifts around the holiday. Makeup brands such as Wet ‘n’ Wild, Ardell, Sally Hansen, and KISS have introduced products consumers can use to create affordable Halloween looks. Retail intelligence platform Trendalytics expects the witchcore aesthetic — think orange or green hair and black nail polish — to be popular in October as consumers get into a spooky mood.
Home decor sales also experience a seasonal lift as consumers deck out their homes for fright night. Data from Consumer Decisions reveals that over 70% of Americans who plan to celebrate Halloween intend to purchase decorations.
Pent-up demand for Halloween celebrations is expected to drive sales of holiday-themed party goods, food and beverages in 2021. CPG companies are increasingly featuring packaging that takes the Halloween theme to the next level. Last year, Sun-Maid released limited-edition glow-in-the-dark packaging for its sour raisin snacks and yogurt-covered raisins.
CPG companies are also finding new ways to engage Halloween fans, posting recipes for treats such as Mars Wrigley’s M&M Monster Mash Whoopie Pies, and launching holiday-themed campaigns around their brands. Last year, Hostess Brands ran a “Bring Hostess Halloween Home” campaign featuring recipes for Halloween-inspired creations using Hostess snack cakes that were developed by celebrity chef George Duran and posted on Hostess’ social media channels and a campaign website.
With so many categories in play, Ibotta is planning a robust program.
“We’re taking on new CPG partners for this inaugural program,” Jacobsen says. “Our events have the most impact when we include many categories. Our 2020 back-to-school promotion had 217 million impressions and gave participating CPG partners a 17.6% lift in sales.”
Partners in the Thanksgiving event generated 370% average sales growth and a 20-point increase versus the previous year in category share at Walmart stores.
“Ibotta programs can have a huge incremental impact on brands,” Jacobsen says.
Research from Statista shows that 33% of consumers start shopping for Halloween in September, while 41.5% begin in the first two weeks of October. Ibotta’s program is timed to grab that early wave of consumers and keep them shopping across key categories as the season progresses.
Ibotta drives its programs with effective omnichannel marketing support to maximize reach for participating brands. In addition to in-app ads, marketing for the program includes affiliate relationships with influencers amplified by a custom referral program as well as paid media across digital, radio and TV. “Our social community continues to show strong positive sentiment to our consumer-centric giveaways and cash offers,” Ibotta associate marketing director Julianna Vorhaus says.
Learn more about how your brand can be part of Ibotta's 2022 Halloween cash back event.