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The trick to treat sales series

Thursday’s Halloween has far to go: NCA predicts flat US Halloween sales

By Oliver Nieburg+

30-Oct-2013

Weekday Halloweens are ghoulish for confectionery sales, says NCA
Weekday Halloweens are ghoulish for confectionery sales, says NCA

US Halloween sales are expected to rise just 1% this year as the season falls on a weekday meaning people are less likely to plan parties, says the National Confectioners Association (NCA).

Seasonal sales account for 22% of total US confectionery and Halloween is the biggest season of them all for confections.

In the US, Halloween confectionery sales amounted to $2.37bn in 2012, making Halloween the most profitable season for confectioners ahead of Christmas and Easter.

Halloween near a weekend is good omen

This year the NCA expects 1% growth in US Halloween sales to $2.39bn.

The sales projection for Halloween sales has much to do with the day of the holiday, which this year is a Thursday.

Jenn Ellek, director of trade & marketing communications at the NCA told ConfectioneryNews:  “If Halloween were to fall on a weekend the sales prediction would have been slightly higher due to the fact the during the work week families have less time to plan for the occasion and throw parties.

“The weekends are much more conducive to more parties, events and more time for preparation (including more confectionery purchases) for the holiday.”

Halloween 2014 will fall on a Friday and on a Saturday for 2015.

Chocolate is the preferred treat

According to a recent NCA survey, 72% of Americans name chocolates as their preferred Halloween treat, far ahead of candy corn at 12%.

“While chocolate prevailed as the top confectionery choice this Halloween, our survey also found that adults still plan to buy a variety of both chocolate and candy for the ghosts and goblins who darken their doorsteps on Halloween evening,” said NCA vice president of communications Susan Whiteside.

Brand loyalty

The NCA also found that most Halloween candy buyers intended to stay brand loyal.

Halloween Origins
  • Halloween pre-dates Christianity and has its roots with Celtic groups who believed the door between the world of the dead and the living opened on 31 October.
  • The Celts left food and drink out to sustain the spirits and used disguises to escape harm while moving from house to house enjoying the food and drink.
  • The Celts carved turnips to represent faces, which later became pumpkins due to their abundance in the US.
  • All Saints' Day (1 Nov) was sometimes known as All Hallows' Day, and the night before, All Hallows' Eve, or Hallowe'en, which we today call Halloween.
  • Halloween came to America from settlers and immigrants. The season was initially celebrated as an autumn harvest festival
  • Trick-or-treating is chiefly a US custom that was popularized in the 1950s by the Baby Boomer generation.

64% of those surveyed said their personal tastes or favorite brands were key factors impacting their selections. In contrast, only two in 10 shoppers said they would choose Halloween candy based solely on its reputation as a seasonal classic.

Candy purchases are mainly for trick-or-treaters

The majority of candy buyers buy Halloween confectionery to hand out to trick-or-treaters. 74 percent of US households plan to hand out candy to trick-or-treaters this year, which rises to 80% for households with children.

The survey also found that men were more likely than woman to reward children with more candy for an original costume, but for 60% of households, an original or cute costume has no bearing on the amount of candy they dispense.

When to start?

The NCA encourages retailers to start seasonal merchandising early – at the start of the school year for Halloween.

“It ensures product availability, generates early seasonal excitement and extends selling seasons for the shoppers, “ said Ellek.

“One thing retailers should avoid is relying solely on the previous year’s sales history to inform seasonal planning. Retailers can mistake poor execution in the prior year for poor sales potential. While history can serve as a guide, it’s important to work with manufacturers and brokers to clarify what worked and why.”

She added that retailers should retain Halloween displays until at least Friday this year.

“Keep it up that extra day to capture last minute shopping as it can make a major difference in your seasonal profitability.”

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