(CNN Business) – Last year, Halloween included homemade candy slides – pipes that allowed people to give candy to costumed children without getting too close – and prepackaged goody bags left on steps, sidewalks and outside tables.
This year, families in the U.S. are eager to return to the ‘trick or treat’. That’s good news for stores, who are looking forward to a banner year.
The National Federation of Retailers expects spending on Halloween to reach a record $ 10.14 billion, according to a survey it conducts each year through Prosper Insights and Analytics, a company that uses data to track and predict consumer behavior. consumers. This year’s survey was conducted from September 1-8, and about 8,000 consumers participated.
Candy and chocolate sales are already skyrocketing above 2020 levels, according to the National Confectioners Association trade group.
Chocolate and candy retail sales were $ 74 million in the four weeks ending September 5, 2021, 42% more than in the same period in 2020, said Christopher Gindlesperger, spokesman for the National Association of Confectioners, citing data from market research firm IRI.
“People are looking forward to celebrating,” said Marcia Mogelonsky, director of food and beverage supplies at research firm Mintel. “The children have been very stiff.” This year, Mogelonsky hopes the ‘trick or treat’ will be “much closer and more personal.”
More Halloween candy earlier
This year, large retailers are starting the season earlier or stocking up on more candy to tap into shopper enthusiasm.
Kroger is “ordering more candy” because they believe “there will be a higher demand for candy this year compared to last year,” a company spokesman said.
Walmart made the candy available on the shelves a little earlier this year, according to a spokesperson.
The chain is also strategic in its decision of how to display the assortment. When preparing its shelves, Walmart put the sweet corn first in its seasonal produce aisle, the spokesperson said, explaining that they are the best sellers at the beginning of the season. Later, around Halloween, bagged candies are more popular.
Some providers have also noticed that this year is different.
Mars Wrigley, which makes M & Ms, Twix, Skittles and others, said stores were asking for more candy earlier in the season this year.
This is a change from last year, when regulations designed to slow the spread of COVID-19 were still in effect. Due to the uncertainty at the time, some retailers were more “conservative” in their early Mars Wrigley Halloween early orders, said Tim LeBel, president of sales for Mars Wrigley US.
“No one really knew what Halloween was going to be like in 2020,” he said. The company stopped selling its largest package of miscellaneous candy, which includes 455 pieces of 3 Musketeers, Milky Way, Twix and Snickers, because it did not anticipate a great season.
Stores in America have good reason to put Halloween treats on the shelves sooner.
Why this strategy works
For some products, such as laundry detergent, earlier exposure does not translate into higher sales. But in the case of candy, longer seasons tend to mean more shopping, as early shoppers are likely to end up eating the candy long before Halloween and coming back for more.
“Consumers tend to buy when things are presented to them,” says Neil Saunders, Retail Analyst and CEO of GlobalData. “If Halloween candy is put in earlier, consumers will take it,” especially if there are deals or promotions.
This year especially, it makes sense for stores to put up their Halloween shelves earlier because shoppers, mindful of supply chain disruptions, may want to buy the treats in advance, he said.