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Seasonal shifts in business are normal for much of the retailing world, and the first thing that jumps to mind is of course the Holiday season, which kicks into full gear on Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving. On an aside, as an internet marketer, I am far more interested in Cyber Monday, when the e-commerce Christmas season kicks off (to the joy of American employers, the first work day after Thanksgiving).

Everyone knows that Christmas shopping is big business, but what may fly under the radar is exactly how huge the Halloween holiday is. Maybe it is more intriguing to me because it is so fun and impractical it all is, but year after year I am amazed at the sheer girth of the industry. In 2007, it is estimated that Americans will spend $64.82 per person on Halloween costumes, decorations, candy and cards. That is almost 10% above 2006 levels, and sends the total spend on Halloween well north of $5 Billion, a truly phenomenal sum.

Wpromote works with several top Halloween e-commerce sites, and it is amazing to see the volume of searching and shopping for Halloween costumes online. Without going into too much detail but to give you a little insider perspective:

  • In the end of September, over a full month before Halloween (and weeks before anyone I know is even thinking about their costumes), just one of our search engine campaigns was generating over 4 million impressions per day, in the tens of thousands of clicks, and hundreds of costumes sold.
  • Looking at last year’s data, the costume season peaks around the 24th-27th of October when all of the last minute online shoppers flood the web scrambling for costumes. We expect on those dates this year, we will see upwards of 12-15 million ad impressions daily and sales for a single campaign for a single client pushing $100,000 per day. These are just the sales generated directly from our search campaigns, and independent of their other on or off-line marketing efforts.
  • While the retail gurus in general estimate a 10% rise in total Halloween-related spending in 2007, we are seeing numbers suggesting a rise of search-related sales north of 25%.
  • While the Christmas season may result in retailers seeing upwards of 40% of their annual sales occurring in a two month window, Halloween retailers see perhaps the most extreme seasonality out there, with upwards of 85% of their annual revenue taking place in a mere five or so weeks. Big e-commerce Halloween sites will see their staff swell from 30 to 300 and back down to 30 in an eight-week stretch.

So, forget the numbers; what’s hot this year? Pirates are huge, Star Wars seems to be a perennial favorite, Spider Man costumes are selling like hotcakes, but this years new hot costume are the Transformers. Word to the wise though: the manufacturer underestimated demand, and most Halloween stores are already sold out or on their last batches, so go grab one while you still can!


One thought on “Halloween Is Big Business for Search
  1. Gary R. Hess says:

    Great article. I never thought about the amount of money spent on costumes, nor was that it is that large of a chunk of change.

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