New Numerator Halloween Tracker Shows Seasonal Candy Ad Spend Down 19%, Halloween Candy Sales Up 26%

Chicago, IL (September 30, 2020) Numerator, a data and tech company serving the market research space, has launched a Halloween Candy Tracker to help monitor and understand how brands and retailers are adapting in the midst of uncertainty. The Candy Tracker will monitor omnichannel promotions and advertising activity within the Candy category throughout the 2020 Halloween season, and will be published weekly through early November. 

Early season findings on promotions and advertising in the Candy category include:  

  • The count of ads with Halloween messaging is up 17% for month-to-date, from 35 in 2019 to 41 in 2020. However, less is being spent on media behind those ads with September month-to-date ad spend within the Candy category down 19% versus 2019.
  • Overall Candy promotions month-to-date in September 2020 are down 21% versus the same time last year. 
  • Seasonal Candy promotions (a subcategory to Candy which includes Halloween) are down further 38% month-to-date versus 2019. 
  • Private-label brands are playing a less important role this year, accounting for 4.1% of month-to-date candy promotions, a 46% decline from the same period in 2019, when they were 6% of candy promotions.

According to a Numerator consumer sentiment survey of 2,000 verified shoppers about their Halloween intentions, nearly 3 in 4 consumers (73%) expect their Halloween celebrations to be somewhat or significantly different this year. Initial indications are this includes eating more candy:  Numerator’s early read on in-store Halloween candy sales month-to-date through September 20th shows candy sales up 26% versus the prior year. 

“Existing at-home, seasonal traditions are showing an increase in participation this year, consistent with trends we have been tracking through the pandemic, resulting in a significant increase in Halloween candy sales versus year ago. These seasonal celebrations call on a broader portfolio of products in addition to Halloween candy with more seasonal baking and crafts, more backyard gatherings and games and more creative ways to share candy in the community from drive-by trick-or-treating to surprising neighbors with boo baskets,” said Phil Stanley, Global Chief Sales Officer for The Hershey Company.

“Six months into COVID, consumers, brands and retailers are all still adapting in real-time. In the case of Halloween, consumers have acted early,” said Eric Belcher, CEO, Numerator. “Timely insight into what’s happening with consumers and competitors is more important than it’s ever been.”

Additional insights from the survey include:

  • There will be fewer people going door-to-door: Only 1 in 4 consumers plan to participate in trick-or-treating activities this year. 32% were unsure whether they would participate and 43% said they would not be participating.
  • Less candy will be handed out: The number of households planning to purchase Halloween candy & snacks to distribute to trick-or-treaters is down significantly this year (48%) versus last (64%).
  • But more is planned at home: At the same time, those intending to purchase for household or personal consumption are up from 56% in 2019 to 62% in 2020.

While trick-or-treating activities are expected to be down this year, the rise in consumer intent to purchase Halloween candy for their own consumption is a silver-lining for brands and retailers selling those products. Numerator anticipates a shift in Halloween messaging: appeals to family or personal indulgences may be more likely this year than classic trick-or-treater messaging. Additionally, consumers may be willing to spend more to get their own preferred brands this year.

About Numerator

Numerator is a data and tech company serving the market research space. Headquartered in Chicago, IL, Numerator has 1,600 employees worldwide. The company blends proprietary data with advanced technology to create unique insights for the market research industry that has been slow to change. The majority of Fortune 100 companies are Numerator clients.