Seasonal Breakdown: Halloween 2023 Will Be Mostly Treats, Not Tricks, for Advertisers
by Cat Hausler7 min read
- Consumer spend on Halloween 2022 returned to pre-pandemic levels
- Millennials and Gen Zs invested the most financially in the holiday in 2022
- 51% of consumers turned to streaming to watch Halloween content
- 96% of celebrators will make a Halloween-related purchase in 2023
- Halloween shoppers indicate that they prefer to go to brick-and-mortar stores
The Halloween season might be spooky, but advertisers don’t need to hide in fear. Consumers continue to go all out for the holiday — and they’re spending more than ever before.
Key Insights: Halloween 2022
Spending Rebounded to Pre-Pandemic Levels
In 2022, Halloween celebrations and the resulting spend on the holiday bounced back to pre-pandemic levels. Per the National Retail Federation (NRF), 69% of consumers planned on celebrating Halloween in 2022 — up from 65% in 2021 and 58% in 2020, and comparable to 68% of people who said the same in 2019.
On top of this, intended consumer spend was at an all-time high of $10.6B — up from $10.1B in 2021.
Millennials and Gen Zs Spent Most
While Halloween spending was up overall, the generations investing most in the holiday financially skewed younger. According to a LendingTree survey, Millennials said they planned to spend an average of $255 on Halloween 2022, with Gen Z just behind at $202. That’s compared to Gen Xers, who said they’d spend $145, and Baby Boomers, who said they’d spend just $58.
More Than Half of Consumers Turned to Streaming To Watch Halloween Content
Costumes, and candy, and decorations — oh my! These may be some of the first items that come to mind when imagining Halloween purchases, but there was another major item on peoples’ shopping lists last year: streaming services. Per LendingTree, more than half (51%) of consumers subscribed, or thought about subscribing, to a new streaming service to watch their favorite spooky content.
What to Expect in 2023
Nearly All Who Celebrate Will Make a Halloween-Related Purchase
Despite the ever-shifting state of the economy, for many consumers Halloween is about creating a specific vibe — which means the large majority of people intend to spend to get it right.
Shopping Will Start Early
Every year it seems like winter holiday promotions are popping up earlier and earlier, and Halloween is following suit. As eMarketer noted, stores like Michaels, Bath & Body Works, and Petco (among others) set up Halloween displays as early as July.
It’s not just retailers getting a head start on the spooky season — 20% of consumers reported that they start purchasing for Halloween as far as a month (or more) in advance. (Most celebrators — 33% — won’t start shopping until three to four weeks out.)
Brick and Mortar Will Dominate
While ecommerce sales in the U.S. are on the rise, Halloween shoppers seem to prefer picking up spooky items at brick-and-mortar stores. As Numerator reports, the majority of consumers (83%) will make in-person purchases for the holiday.
Brands Can Benefit From Advertising on a Variety of CTV Networks
We were interested in better understanding where engaged consumers can be found in order to drive performance for brands around the Halloween season. Analyzing first-party Performance TV data, we focused on MNTN advertisers with an obvious tie-in to Halloween that could benefit from running campaigns leading up to and during the holiday. We examined relevant brands in specific industries, including: Food and Drink, Hobbies and Interests, and Shopping and Apparel. Analysis was limited to advertisers with active campaigns reporting performance data for over 90% of the total days in September and October 2022.
The Big Takeaways:
- Magnolia Network performed best with Halloween consumers | The network launched by HGTV sweethearts Chip and Joanna Gaines yielded strong performance across the board for brands with a tie-in to Halloween. Not only did it fall in the top five networks for best return on advertising spend (ROAS) and highest conversion rates (see charts below), but it was in the top 10 for lowest cost per acquisition (CPA) and was well under the cost per visit (CPV) average. Because the Magnolia Network primarily features home improvement and DIY shows, it’s not too surprising that this channel attracted engaged viewers during the Halloween season.
- National Geographic produced a high number of impressions and a strong conversion rate | Traditional television advertising was historically used by brands to increase reach. When CTV shook things up, it gave advertisers data that goes further than vanity metrics like impressions. Impressions can still be helpful for brands, but they aren’t everything — and they don’t always correlate with the number of conversions produced — but in National Geographic’s case here, they did. The network ranked in the top five for both conversion rate and impressions, showing that CTV advertising can deliver at every level of the sales funnel.
- A variety of networks delivered top results | From sports-focused to music-centric channels, the list of top-performing networks was all over the map for the Halloween advertiser set. As noted previously, the Magnolia Network did best across the board, but it was joined at the top of the key performance metrics lists by the likes of Paramount Network, the Black News Channel, NBC Sports, and Adult Swim — networks that run the gamut, content-wise. This suggests that advertisers might not be able to predict where their most engaged consumers will be. That means it’s in your best interest to invest in a performance channel that prioritizes an audience-first approach, and delivers your message on the networks your ideal customers are watching.
Top Performing CTV Networks in Regards to Key Metrics
Bewitch Audiences With a Strong Halloween Advertising Strategy
With consumer spend on the rise, this Halloween season can be all treats and no tricks for advertisers who develop a comprehensive, data-driven strategy. The majority of consumers want to spend on the holiday, many are starting to shop more than a month early, and the biggest spenders will likely be Gen Zs and Millennials. With a deeper understanding of consumer behaviors and wants, brands can use the Halloween season to drive meaningful business. And to produce the strongest possible CTV campaign results during the season — as with most holiday seasons — advertisers need an ad solution that can target viewers first — wherever they’re watching.
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1 Halloween Participation Returns to Pre-Pandemic Levels with Record Spending (National Retail Federation)
3 Holiday Creep Comes for Halloween (eMarketer)
4 When Will You Begin Shopping for Halloween? (Statista)
5 US Ecommerce Forecast 2023 (eMarketer)