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Halloween - A Really Sweet Business Opportunity

Halloween Statistics Are Packed With Business Opportunities


USA, New York State, New York City, Carved pumpkins on Brooklyn stoop
OneDayOneImage/ Room/ Getty Images

If the end of October seems stranger and spookier than ever, there's a reason for it - Halloween is growing as these Halloween statistics show. The Great Pumpkin is not just looming over a few solitary pumpkin patches any more. If you're interested in starting a business or investing in one, you should look past the trick or treaters for the sweet business opportunities Halloween provides.

Halloween is a Large Market

The size of the market is one reason that Halloween is a solid business opportunity. Halloween has become a true retail bonanza. In 2009, U.S. consumers spent approximately $5.8 billion on Halloween. In Canada, Halloween spending has also been increasing; $331 million was spent on candy alone in 2009 according to Statistics Canada.

The Halloween Market is Growing

The Halloween market is growing in two ways that make it very attractive for business opportunities. First, Halloween is becoming an increasingly universal celebration. According to a survey by the National Retail Federation, American consumers were expected to spend $6.9 billion on Halloween in 2013. This translates to an average of $75 per person, up from $30 per person in 2005. Canadians are even keener Halloween celebrants; 68% of Canadians participated in at least one Halloween-related activity in 2007, according to a survey conducted for the Retail Council of Canada.

Second, individual consumers are spending increasing amounts of money on celebrating Halloween. The average American consumer spent $66.28 on costumes, candy and decorations in 2010, up from $59.06 on Halloween in 2006, says the National Retail Federation.

But retailer Value Village's 2011 annual Halloween shopping survey found the average Canadian planned to spend $300 on the big day - and pet owners planned to spend on average an extra $59 on their furry friends. Ken Alterman, president and chief executive of Value Village, says that Halloween sales have increased more than 35 percent over the last five years. It's a similar story over at Canadian Tire, where Halloween now represents the third most important seasonal category behind Christmas and summer backyard living.

Statistically, then, business opportunities related to Halloween should have "legs", with a market that continues to grow over time. Growing segments within the Halloween market make for even sweeter business opportunities.

Halloween Isn't Just for Kids Anymore

Children's trick or treating is still a Halloween mainstay, but it's adults who are spending the money on celebrating, embracing Halloween as a chance to let their inner child get out and party. Large parties with participants wearing elaborate costumes are becoming increasingly popular - excellent news for people looking for niche business opportunities.

Interestingly, it's not just young adults who are getting in on the spooky fun. The National Retail Federation found that in 2013, 70 percent of 18-24 year olds planned to celebrate Halloween, but 65 percent of consumers aged 25-34 and 60 percent of 35-44 year-olds were also planning to celebrate.

And what are they doing to celebrate? According to the National Retail Federation's 2010 Halloween Consumer Intentions and Actions Survey,

  • 40.1% of people surveyed plan to don a costume, up from 33.4% in 2009.
  • 11.5 percent of people donning costumes will dress up their pets as well.
  • 33.3 percent of people will throw/attend a party,
  • nearly three-quarters (72.2%) will hand out candy,
  • 46.3 percent will carve a pumpkin,
  • 20.8 percent will visit a haunted house,
  • 31.7 percent will take their children trick-or-treating, and
  • half (50.1%) of consumers celebrating will decorate their home or yard.

Possible Halloween Business Opportunities

The Halloween statistics above make Halloween an excellent proposition for investing in or starting a new business. But what kinds of businesses would be the best business opportunities?

One way to answer this question is to examine the most popular Halloween products. I bet you've already guessed the two things that most people buy - candy and pumpkins. The other most purchased items are Halloween decorations and costumes. (Halloween is the second biggest decorating holiday of the year, surpassed only by Christmas.)

As business opportunities, you should cross the first two items off your list. There are already many (large-scale) businesses producing Halloween candy and pumpkins and your chances of competing successfully would be practically nil.

However, the other two on the list, Halloween costumes and decorations, provide scope to develop business opportunities, particularly opportunities that cater to a niche market.

You might, for instance, start a business:

  • providing Halloween music for parties
  • creating “authentic” period costumes for adults,
  • providing Halloween decorating services for residential or business premises
  • presenting in-house parties for children (as a substitute for trick-or-treating).

Besides Halloween parties, visiting haunted houses is another Halloween event growing in popularity. Setting up a haunted house of your own could be an expensive proposition (and a poor idea anyhow if there is another nearby), but providing tours of "haunted houses" and other spooky sites in your area could be a profitable business opportunity. Check with your local historical society or old-timers to research your area's paranormal history; the ghost stories you discover may surprise you - and be quite profitable if you can present them in an alluring, entertaining way.

Bag Profits with a Halloween Business

The purpose of this article is not to present every possible Halloween business opportunity there is but to make you aware of the potential of the Halloween market and get you thinking about possible ideas that you could turn into a profitable small business.

So don't just look at Halloween as time to buy candy or a chance to party. Halloween presents many business opportunities that a savvy entrepreneur won't want to overlook.

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