This time last year

Last year, Halloween celebrations, like everything at the time, were heavily dictated by social distancing and gathering restrictions. This led to a major flip in buying behaviours around key Halloween categories, when it came to the traditional go-to channels of Supermarkets and Convenience.

Judged on a year-on-year basis, sales of key Halloween lines in the Supermarkets saw a decline of -10%. This contrasts with a positive increase of +12% for Convenience.

Trick or treat for Convenience?

With most of the key Coronavirus restrictions removed on July 19, we would now expect Supermarkets to claw back most of what was lost in the last year with the Convenience channel seeing a decline on what was posted in 2020. Or, you could say, everything will be getting back to the ‘old normal’.

Having said that, we don’t believe fears of the pandemic will be completely behind us by the end of October this year. For that reason, we anticipate that neither Convenience nor Supermarket sales will fully recover to the same levels we saw before the disruption of Covid.

Fears still remain

We expect large sections of the public to remain very wary about social mixing, hosting parties and welcoming strangers to their front door. Supporting this view, a recent poll by YouGov makes a marked reference to the hesitancy to fully return to normal among some parts of the population.

Purchase timing should also revert back to pre-pandemic trends with the week before Halloween expected to attract the majority of sales. In 2020, the immediate few days before the event saw notable sales uplifts as plans were made at the last minute or had to be adjusted in light of the ongoing restrictions.

Ongoing jitters are good news for portion bags

From a category perspective, flagship areas like Chocolate and Sweets will continue to assert their dominance in terms of sales share. But don’t be surprised to see a slight rise in sales for SKUs where individual portion bags – as opposed to loose products – may attract attention given the perceived hygiene benefits that these will bring.

Halloween is always a big day in the calendar for children. And, as we’re all kids at heart, here’s hoping you have a great evening and that, afterwards, the sales results will be anything but scary.

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