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Halloween – Hello (Business) Win?

Spooky season is at its peak, this year actually for two reasons. Not only it is Halloween time, but we are also in the middle of the second corona wave, for some being even worse than the first one and bringing many countries only a step away from their healthcare system collapsing. This creepy situation is definitely giving me chills, but so it does to businesses – for them in positive way. Nowadays, Halloween is not a religious holiday anymore as it was a thousand (or more) years ago, but a huge business, worth billions of dollars.

It is most thriving in the USA, having made $8.8 billion in revenue last year only, according to Statista. The country having approximately 328 million residents, this means that each one of them spent 27$ on average. This year, the value will drop due to the corona global crisis, but not as much as we would have expected and still being estimated at $8 billion. It is expected that Americans will have spent most on costumes and decorations, $2.6 billion for each. These two categories are being tightly followed by candy, for which they will spend altogether around $2.4 billion. The fourth product group they spend the most money on surprised me – it is greeting cards. But, USA is known as an enormous country, a superpower, having the largest economy in the world, so I guess that celebrating Halloween by throwing amazing parties is also such a big deal for their culture that they spend $400 million annually on greeting cards.

The Halloween business is the largest in the US but it is not where the holiday originates from. Although it actually has roots in the British Isles and despite the fact that it began developing there hundreds of years there before coming to America, people from the UK do not spend nearly as much as Americans do. In fact, they spend altogether only $540 million, which is, unbelievably, almost the same amount of money that Americans spend on only greeting cards for their parties. UK’s population is indeed way smaller than the US’, but calculating how much money is spent per person, each average UK resident still spends way less than American, around $7.

Elsewhere across Europe people do not celebrate Halloween as commonly and therefore on average buy even less for the holiday. First reason for that is because many countries already celebrate other holidays on October 31st or November 1st, like Reformation Day in Germany or All Saints Day in Poland – both of these are celebrated in Slovenia as well. In addition, many Europeans believe that Halloween is a strongly commercial holiday, existing only for business purposes rather than to commemorate a historic event. Most of Russians do not want to celebrate the holiday also because it comes from countries whose culture and traditions are too different from theirs. Halloween not being so commonly celebrated in Europe is also shown in the fact that there are not many financial statistics for this part of the world. Still, it is known that Norwegians spend around $30 million annually for the holiday ($6 per capita) and Germans spend approximately $370 million annually ($4 per capita), as German Bild reported.

This dark holiday spread even to the far east to the land of the rising sun, Japan. Although the country is ranked as the third economic superpower in the world, its residents spend only around $1.2 billion on Halloween every year. Sounds a lot, but because Japanese population counts around 127 million residents, it means just 9$ per person. In China, economically even stronger country, Halloween plays a big role in entertainment industry and is not connected with traditions. Chinese celebrate it by organizing themed parties or going out to specially decorated restaurants and bars. They perceive it more as a day to have fun than as a serious holiday, so there are not really any information on how much money they dedicate specifically to Halloween.

With online stores on the rise in accordance with the new internet era, it is surprising that consumers still much rather purchase everything for Halloween from brick-and-mortar shops. I believe the reason for this is that Halloween is a holiday that really lets people be creative. Every year, you can choose what your costume will be like, representing a certain movie character or anything else you can imagine, how you will decorate your home, what will be the shape, size and colour of the pumpkins you will crave, what dishes you will prepare to make it even more spooky… This creativity freedom makes people excited for Halloween shopping and also makes it a fun thing to do, not like a chore or something you would like to do online as quickly as possible without a littlest bit of effort.

Even though the holiday is celebrated differently across the world, one thing is for sure: the Halloween business is growing and is here to stay. In some countries it is more blooming than in others, probably partly because the holiday has not been present for the same time everywhere. The USA know it for at least around 120 years, while it began spreading across Europe (except the British Isles) only 30 years ago. I also believe that what plays a big role in the business is the culture. Halloween has been commercialized everywhere and does not have a religious purpose anymore. It is interesting how Americans, for example, have welcomed it like that without doubt, while Europeans have taken a step back and decided to put their own traditions before business.

Of course, no matter where you come from, celebrate it the way you like it. Get your pumpkins, dress up, and – well, it is not a good idea to throw a party in these times, but otherwise, have fun and happy Halloween!