Halloween Shopping in the U.K.: How Samhain Celebrations Influence Consumer Demand

Pattern Data Science

October 19, 2022

Halloween Shopping in the U.K.- How Samhain Celebrations Influence Consumer Demand

Analysing U.K. Consumer Demand for Sweets, Décor & Fancy Dress

As online retailers prepare their shops for the Samhain season, store owners need to understand how Halloween may influence consumer demand for various products. In this analysis, we uncover everything U.K. shoppers demand from their Halloween celebrations, including:

  • When are U.K. shoppers satisfying their sweet tooths?
    • What sweets do U.K. shoppers prefer?
  • When is demand highest for fancy dress?
    • What fancy dress do U.K. shoppers want most?
    • How old is “too old” for fancy dress in the U.K.?
  • When are shoppers searching for Halloween décor?
    • What type of Halloween decorations are in highest demand?
  • Preparing your online shop for the spooky season

Historically, Halloween hasn’t always been a smash hit among residents in the United Kingdom. However, U.K. consumer spending for Halloween products has more than doubled in the past 10 years. In 2021, consumer spending on all things Halloween was estimated at more than 600 million British pounds. This year, spending is expected to be even higher at nearly 700 million British pounds.

With increasing interest among U.K. shoppers and Halloween just around the corner, we thought now would be as good a time as ever to evaluate how these fearsome festivities influence consumer demand. From sweets and décor to fancy dress, our data reveal interesting patterns that online retailers can’t afford to ignore.

When are U.K. Shoppers Satisfying Their Sweet Tooths?

One of the hallmarks of any Halloween celebration is a sack full of sweets. However, this may not be so for U.K. celebrants. According to our data, consumer demand for sweets is below the annual average from late May – early December. In fact, it seems U.K. shoppers would rather satisfy their sweet tooths during Valentine’s Day than any other time of the year:

Low consumer demand for sweets ahead of the Halloween season might sound preposterous to our neighbours across the Atlantic. However, going door to door trick-or-treating is not as prominent an activity for U.K. children. This could explain the below-average demand for sweets during this time.

What Sweets Do U.K. Shoppers Prefer?

When U.K. shoppers are searching for sweets, they have a clear preference for fruity flavours compared to chocolate. Three of the top five sweets were fruit-flavoured, and Skittles were the obvious winner when evaluating the most searched-for sweets from 2021 – 2022:

While online sweet shops may not need to prepare in the months leading up to Halloween, now is a good time to start stocking up on preferred inventory for increased demand during the Christmas season.

When is Demand Highest for Fancy Dress?

Sweets may not be in high demand during the Samhain season, but fancy dress sure is. In fact, consumer demand for fancy dress in the U.K. is at its peak (745% above the annual average) during the week preceding Halloween:

Consumer demand begins to increase much earlier than this, however. During the final week of August, demand rose 44% above the annual average. By mid-September, demand soars to 344% above the annual average. It is during this time that online retailers should plan for the bulk of their sales and marketing efforts.

What Fancy Dress Do U.K. Shoppers Want Most?

Of course, marketing isn’t effective if you aren’t aware of what your consumers want the most. To help fancy dress retailers better plan for their inventory, we evaluated the most searched-for terms from 2021 – 2022 to discover which were the most popular. According to our analysis, most U.K. shoppers are looking for alien fancy dress to suit up for the spooky holiday:

When stocking up for Halloween fancy dress, retailers should plan accordingly by ensuring they have plenty of alien attire available in their inventory for the occasion.

How Old is “Too Old” for Fancy Dress in the U.K.?

Dressing up for Halloween is a lot of fun for the little ones but doesn’t seem as popular among U.K. adults. When evaluating the most searched-for age groups, shoppers are primarily interested in finding fancy dress for children aged 4 – 6 (40%) and infants aged 0 – 3 months (31%). By contrast, fancy dress for teens aged 14 – 16 was far less popular at just 5% of all searches performed from 2021 – 2022:

Keeping this in mind, retailers would do well to ensure their inventories are well-stocked with fancy dress geared towards children and infants rather than teens or adults.

When are Shoppers Searching for Halloween Décor?

Historically, decorating for Halloween has not been a strongly held tradition for U.K. families. However, as consumer spending has increased over the past decade, shoppers have started searching for spooky décor earlier in the season. In fact, demand for Halloween decorations sees a similar trajectory to fancy dress:

Demand for decorations sees its peak during the week of October 3 (507% above the annual average). However, consumer demand begins to rise above the annual average much earlier during the first week of August. By the time September hits, demand skyrockets to 257% above the annual average.

Using this information, ecommerce retailers within the home décor industry can see that sales messaging would likely be most effective among target consumers from mid-August to early October.

What Type of Halloween Decorations are in Highest Demand?

When searching for Halloween décor, consumers have an obvious preference for both where they want to place their decorations and what they’d like them to be.

According to our data, most consumers are interested in decorating outdoor spaces, with door and lawn decorations taking the lead at 30% and 28%, respectively. By contrast, indoor spaces like bedrooms and living rooms were much less popular, seeing only 8% and 5% popularity, respectively:

Specifically, U.K. shoppers are searching for scarier décor. Decorations from the Chucky franchise were most popular while graveyard, werewolf, bats, and black cat decorations rounded out the rest of the top five:

Armed with this information, retailers know their inventories should focus on outdoor décor that sends a shiver down one’s spine.

Preparing Your Online Shop for the Spooky Season

This analysis offers some important discoveries for sweets, fancy dress, and home décor retailers looking to prepare for the Samhain celebration ahead. While sweet shops might experience below-average demand ahead of Halloween, surging demand during the Christmas season makes now a great time to prepare. Since Skittles and other fruity sweets are the most popular, retailers will want to make sure their inventories reflect the products their consumers want most.

Consumer demand for fancy dress and Halloween décor begins to rise around mid-August. As retailers plan their marketing and sales campaigns, they can reach their target audiences during the height of demand by messaging consumers between mid-August and mid-October. Scarier attire and décor are more popular among U.K. consumers with alien fancy dress and outdoor Chucky decorations taking the lead in each category. Ecommerce retailers should prepare by stocking up on alien attire and scary outdoor decorations.

Use data like this to keep your ecommerce strategy on-track for success. Request a demo from Pattern to get started.

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