Oct. 11, 2022

Halloween, The Start Of The Holiday Sales Season

We have that family down the street that puts out their Halloween Decorations earlier each year. This year during the Labor Day Weekend, the goblins, ghosts, and inflatable apparitions were up, all specially lit, complete with sound effects.

It's a tradition that I've never entirely understood. But to each their own.

Halloween underscores how Americans like their holidays. Retail shops used to plan for a holiday season that lasted from Thanksgiving to Christmas. But Americans wanted more.

Increasingly we're seeing a holiday season beginning with Halloween at the end of October and lasting at least until New Year, and perhaps even until the Super Bowl, which this year would stretch the holidays until mid-February.

A Longer sales season is music to the shopkeeper's ears. They know that Holidays are the best sales days. We're just over a week into the fourth quarter, and retailers are hoping for another year like last year. Two great sales years would help make up for the disaster of 2020, the year of the Covid Pandemic. A time when people weren't going out to shop, much less "trick or treat."

And it looks like we're right on track for some great sales ahead. The National Retail Federation estimates that the average family in America will spend over $100 on Halloween decorations, costumes, and candy this year. Add all of us, and the NRF predicts we'll spend $10.6 billion on Halloween alone this year. If that turns out to be the case, it will boost the most important sales period of the year.

Of course, many optimistic sales projections assume that the nation is healthy. During the Covid Pandemic Lockdown, nearly 45 million people decided not to celebrate Halloween, dropping Halloween sales by $1.1 billion from their peak. If there's one word that shopkeepers and online retailers don't want to hear this year, it's "Pandemic."

One of the most exciting aspects of Halloween is that it has a much different mix of where people shop. Most will shop at online stores, department stores, and discounters for Christmas. Not so for Halloween. Most sales will occur at those unique Halloween shops you see popping up in vacant retail spaces. In the malls or strip malls where space is available, an enterprising salesperson can put up a couple of posters, perhaps a curtain or screen, and instantly they're in business.

I think this would be an ideal venue for someone who might want to get some retail experience without fully committing to starting their store. And, of course, in the internet age, this could all be a virtual Halloween store hosted online.

For those interested in starting their own Halloween Store, again referring to the National Retail Federation, there are some interesting twists to what we might think about Halloween. First, the fastest-growing segment of costumes is Adults Costumes. And Adult favorites are Witch, Vampire, and Ghost. And don't think this is a small market, over 5 million Adult Witch costumes will be sold this year, with more than 1.5 million Vampires and Ghosts.

For children, their favorite costumes are Spiderman and a Princess, with 2 million sales for each costume. There's even a category for pets, where our furry friends' favorites are Pumpkins and hot dogs.

We wish all the best to all those shopkeepers, sales clerks, staff, and thousands of people who provide the merchandise, specialty items, and candy we'll consume this holiday. It's hard work, and we appreciate your effort.

Halloween, or All Hallow's Eve, is a celebration rich in tradition. It is the evening before All Saint's Day. The day we remember the Saints and Loved ones who have passed before us.

Happy Halloween, everyone.

 

 

 

NOTES

 

In a couple of hours, the Federal Reserve Bank of New York will present its latest survey of Consumer Inflation Expectations. If the trend continues, the Fed may throw away those expensive computers and their models and turn to the average consumer to determine the future direction of inflation.

That's right, for most of this year, the consumer has been estimating inflation more accurately. Since the year began, consumers predicted inflation's rise, its peak in March, the decline in April, and inflation's decline for the past three months. A more accurate prognostication than the Fed itself. Remember earlier this year when the Fed was still predicting "transitory" inflation?

And if we think about it, that's what we might expect. Consumers, after all, are shoppers, and shoppers are the most price-sensitive group around. Looking for bargains and living on a budget, they constantly have their finger on the pulse of prices.

Consumers have been slightly too optimistic in their estimate of inflation, understating the current inflation rate by about 2 1/2%. A little closer to the core inflation rate.

Today we begin our extravaganza, with the consumer expectation of inflation due shortly. Then tomorrow, inflation at the wholesale level, the Producer Prices. And finally, Thursday morning, the Consumer Price Index, the most widely quoted measure of inflation.

I don't need to tell you how important these reports are. Inflation is the premier economic determinant in this economy, driving interest rates and consumer spending. We'll have lots to talk about over the next couple of days.

 

There are no major earnings reports today, as Wall Street awaits the unofficial beginning of earnings season on Friday.