Remember last Halloween’s viral 12-foot skeleton? Retailers are expecting interest in seasonal decor will be just as massive this year.
Halloween spending had been increasing for years, but last year, pandemic-weary consumers without parades and parties to attend went big with decor. They splurged on inflatables, gothic throw pillows and more, and that trend is likely to continue, especially if the Delta variant spooks gathering plans this year, too.
Home Depot’s early, sneak-peek release of Halloween decor sold out immediately, Fortune reported, and this year’s full collection includes costumes for the 12-foot skeleton.
“That’s a very strong indication that people are still going to engage in decorating,” Home Depot (NYSE: HD) management shared with analysts recently, per CNBC.
The home improvement retailer deemed last year’s early and strong interest the “coronavirus effect,” with some decorations selling out months before the holiday.
With stuck-at-home consumers turning to seasonal decor for a boost, chains like Target (NYSE: TGT) and Michaels (NYSE: MIK) have continued to bolster their selections of Halloween-themed home goods.
Continued consumer enthusiasm and shipping issues could make Halloween decor hard to come by as fall arrives, Fortune noted.
Halloween is the second-biggest spending holiday for retailers, but even amid higher decor spending, Covid-19 restrictions last year stifled estimates: The National Retail Federation put the spending drop from 2019 to 2020 at 8%.
This year, Spirit Halloween expected to open 1,425 stores, even more than last fall’s 1,400, per RetailWire. Party City (NYSE: PRTY) also planned to open more of its Halloween City stores this year.
Party City CEO Brad Weston told the Los Angeles Times fewer trick-or-treaters and Halloween school activities was “the biggest challenge” last year.
Possibly because the trick-or-treating experience was limited or non-existent for some children last year, parents have said they’re planning to fork over more this Halloween, a recent Hershey survey found. Two-thirds of parents with children under 18 and adults ages 18 to 34 said they’ll go bigger this Halloween than they have in the past.
More than half of parents have already begun thinking about celebrations, and the majority of adults said they’re more excited about Halloween than they have been in the past, per RetailWire.
Just how much the Delta variant will influence consumers’ plans to gather and celebrate remains to be seen. Some might not be comfortable attending large events, parades or parties, or there’s the “outside risk that health officials won’t let you do it or do it the way you created it,” Bill Coan, president of Itec Entertainment Corp. and theme park expert, told the Los Angeles Times.
Along with the ghoulish decor that hits shelves before temperatures have dropped, there are other autumn-related releases that arrive earlier each year: coffee chains’ fall drinks and foods. Starbucks (NYSE: SBUX) began selling its beloved Pumpkin Spice Latte and other fall items last week, while Dunkin’ rolled out its pumpkin products Aug. 18 — record-setting releases for each company, per NPR.