Halloween decoration made of small pumpkins and three carved illuminated pumpkins on a hay bale.
October 10, 2019
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5
min read
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Written by: 
Maria Gonschorek

Halloween on Amazon - Scream or Dream

The last days of summer have barely passed before the bells of Christmas shopping and Halloween are already ringing on the e-commerce horizon. Merchants are re-optimising their shops, joining in the hype about the profitable sales season in December.
But while most Amazon retailers only focus on the gift industry, the Halloween niche is growing more and more. Is this holiday, which is increasingly celebrated in this country as well, a serious business and can an online shop, in suitable segments, generate relevant sales here? And in the best case scenario, of course, without an SEO power struggle, as during the less contemplative period of christmas shopping. Halloween, that much is certain, has arrived in retail. Decoration shops, costume distribution from local niches to large department stores, from stationary - to online retail.

Halloween, more than just a spooky trend for kids

The fact is: the pagan custom of Halloween is not only spilling over into Germany as a party motto. The festival has become an important economic factor in this country and brings in 200 million euros every year. According to a VEXCASH survey from 2017, 3 out of 4 families in Germany now follow the tradition, which was virtually unknown 20 years ago.

A bestseller for the spooky festival: sweets

While Germans spend around 140 million euros on sweets per week two weeks before Halloween, sales increase by 17 percent to around 164 million euros during Halloween week. Sales of sweets increase from 17.6 million to around 22.2 million kilos during this period. For the costume and disguise industry, Halloween has developed into a "second carnival". Besides industry giants like Deiters, online shops and Amazon retailers also profit from this.

But it is not only the food and costume industries that profit from the scary business. Amusement parks, event organisers, bakeries, and the entire toy and stationery industry are also coming up with thematically matching products. According to Statista, Germans spend around 25 euros on their children's costumes. In English-speaking countries, this amount can be significantly higher.
In the US in particular, the total turnover for costumes, greeting cards, and decorative items is estimated at around 6.5 billion dollars according to the National Retail Foundation.

Two women in witch hats stand carrying shopping bags and a carved pumpkin each.

Competence and branding instead of risk

Despite the immense numbers, the classic scary business has been in slight decline for several years. Germans spend less on costumes, but more on sweets and especially on nightlife on Halloween.
In addition, annual trends that are difficult for retailers to predict can be observed. Which costumes, which decoration trends, and which tastes does the retailer have to meet in order to profit from Halloween?

From an SEO perspective alone, this is an enormous challenge that is not easy to master.
Moreover, one thing must not be misunderstood: despite its growing economic importance, the Halloween business remains a niche in this country. In the US, spending per family is 6.5 times higher than in Germany. In this country, minus the spending on sweets and impulse purchases (mostly stationary), only a small slice of the retail cake remains. Apart from individual cases, this fight is usually not worth it. It makes no sense at all to add seasonal articles to the portfolio that do not fit into the context of one's own shop. The risk here is not only the short-lived trends, but also the damage to one's own brand, which is a reason to stay away.

Halloween decoration made of small pumpkins and three carved illuminated pumpkins on a hay bale.

Halloween, just a horror for retailers?

Of course there are those who profit from the Halloween trend. Be it decoration shops or costume retailers. However, it is becoming increasingly evident that the winners are the brands and Amazon retailers who see Halloween merely as another option to present their own products in a new light. The "customisers" who add special colour variants or even new product categories especially for one week fall short. In contrast to bricks-and-mortar retailing, the desired impulse purchases usually do not come true. So there is neither a positive effect via shopping basket value, nor in the increasingly important customer satisfaction.

Conclusion:

Halloween can be worthwhile. Within the framework of a holistic shop strategy. In line with product images and theme weeks in social media, the autumn season is a nice opportunity to create new hashtags and image campaigns for branding. Especially in DIY it can, if managed correctly, re-emphasise one's own portfolio. However, here it is always important to focus on your own product world and the overall strategy of the brand. Why invest in orange candles if the product ends up invisible in a pumpkin? Doesn't it make more sense to think about the entire autumn season and offer candles in sets through better bundles? How do candles that I don't sell also bring potential sales in the Christmas business?

In any case, the overriding goal (just as in the Christmas business) should be not to chase after every trend and rather think about how certain actions serve annual goals and how the own brand should be built/developed.

If you incorporate these tips and stay cool in the face of many jubilant e-commerce reports around Halloween trade (don't forget that the media usually loves the extraordinary), you can, without much effort, achieve positive synergy effects with a skilful product optimisation directed towards "overall Q4".

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