Millennials spend billions on Halloween for social media fame: survey

By Ed Zwirn

New York Post Oct. 26 2019

Welcome to a boo-tiful new world.

Halloween used to be an occasion to spook your neighbors in person, with costume and candy sales driven by trick-or-treaters and/or those looking to make the scene at parties and clubs.

But even as Halloween continues to generate strong retail revenue, not only is the shopping (and influencing) migrating online, but so are the venues at which costume purchasers intend to strut their stuff — with Instagram and Snapchat taking the place of face-to-face encounters.

Shoppers are expected to spend an average of $86.27 each on Halloween this year, down just slightly from last year’s record $86.79, according to the National Retail Federation. That works out to $8.8 billion in total spending, down from last year’s $9 billion.

According to a survey from CompareCards by LendingTree, 48% of millennials admit to purchasing Halloween items so they can include them in social media posts. A total of 37% of Generation Zers and 30% of Generation Xers said the same, compared to just 5% of baby boomers. For the purposes of the survey, Gen Zers were defined as ages 18 to 22, millennials ages 23 to 38, Gen Xers as 39 to 54 and boomers as 55 to 73.

“Lots of people love Halloween, lots of people really enjoy spending just to get on social media,” said Matt Schulz, who wrote the CompareCards report.

Men surveyed were also found to be far more likely than women to say their spending was driven by social media.

“While it’s not shocking that Halloween is a huge deal on social media and has been for many years, the number of folks who spend on Halloween items just to create social media posts — and what types of people are most likely to do it — took us by surprise,” Schulz said.

This dovetails with NRF statistics that show social media growing both as a source of Halloween inspiration and a platform for exhibitionists.

“Spending hasn’t changed much over the past few years, but we are seeing a noticeable increase in consumers whose Halloween purchases are inspired by their friends, neighbors and even celebrities on social media,” said NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay.

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About Ed Zwirn

Ed Zwirn is a journalist/editorial professional with a focus on financial trends and practices. He lives out in the woods in Bethel, NY, not far from where the Woodstock Music and Arts Festival was held in 1969. As a financial writer, his work has appeared in The Wall Street Journal, The New York Post, CFO Magazine and news services including Dow Jones Newswires and Informa Global Markets. Ed also spent three years in Ukraine, where he ran an English-language news service. He now divides his time between his freelance journalism, song and poetry writing, and barbequing and lawn-mowing on his 2.5 acre property.