Nobody in the UK will be able to miss Halloween this year thanks to Boris and his Brexit deadline. With the words ’October 31’ appearing in news story after news story and countdown calendars appearing on websites, it’s a date that is very much front of mind. And whatever happens Brexit-wise, October 31 aka Halloween typically offers a sales bump for many retailers, and this year as it falls on a Thursday, celebrations may well carry over to the weekend.
According to GlobalData, despite the popularity of dressing up for Halloween, food remains the most shopped category for the occasion, with 75.4% of shoppers buying products for food-related activities such as carving pumpkins and trick or treating. The company’s research also found that ’value for money’ was the top driver of where to shop for Halloween goodies but a store in a convenient location was also important to time-poor consumers which is great news for forecourts.
Confectionery is the biggest category at Halloween, and according to Mondelez, Halloween is now the second biggest season for sugar confectionery after Christmas. The confectionery giant describes the occasion as ’big and growing’, adding that over the past two years sugar has been the biggest driver of sales growth during the season. In 2018, confectionery sales over the Halloween period reached £35m, up 1.3% year-on-year. Within this, sugar was worth £30m, growing 4.7% year-on-year (Nielsen figures).
Mondelez says shoppers are looking to buy products for trick or treaters, or for hosting their own Halloween parties. More than half of consumers say that they buy gifts for trick-or-treaters, while 40% say that they will be hosting some form of party or gathering.
These two opportunities helped drive sales of sharing bags (worth £5.8m in 2018, up 11.8% year-on-year) and ’bag of bags’ products (up 13.2% year-on-year in 2018, with sales of £8.1m Nielsen). Mondelez is cashing in on this growth with the launch of Maynards Bassetts Soft Jellies Safari ’bag of bags’ and Maynards Bassetts Dead Chewy.
"Each year we are seeing more and more people participating in Halloween," says Claire James, trade marketing manager at Haribo. "In fact, in 2018 more than half of UK consumers splashed out on the occasion. So, if a household isn’t preparing to go out trick or treating or to host a party, they are likely planning to cater for those that come knocking at their door.
"This creates a great opportunity for retailers, especially those that get their Halloween confectionery range right by offering variety, volume and value from recognised brands. As category leaders we deliver top sellers at Halloween, so our range is a risk-free, crowd pleaser that delivers reassurance for the retailer and the customer."
James adds that Haribo’s own research found that shoppers were after strong performing brands and those that offered good value for money.
"While catering for trick or treating was crucial, products did not need to be themed. This is why 76% of shoppers surveyed positioned Haribo as the number one brand of confectionery at Halloween."
New to the Haribo range for Halloween 2019 is the Haribo and Maoam Duo Pack, a big value sharing bag which combines the gums, jellies and fruity chews in one bag for the first time.
Says James: "Whether we have families knocking at our door or joining us for a celebration, we want to delight them all, which is why we want to share their favourites. We also know that individually wrapped is important too because this format delivers from a safety, hygiene and convenience perspective."
Mark Roberts, trade marketing manager at Perfetti Van Melle (PVM), says retailers should ensure their Halloween offering caters for a wide range of customers, using it as an opportunity to bring shoppers into the sugar confectionery category and maximise sales.
"Halloween now appeals to a wide demographic, beyond its traditional audience of children 73% of 2018 Halloween sales came from households with no children (Kantar data)," he explains. He says sharing bags are currently an incredibly popular sugar confectionery format, and forecourt stores should ensure they’re maximising basket spend by offering shoppers the opportunity to trade up to bigger pack sizes such as the new Fruittella Favourites XL bag to meet this consumer need.
"At this time of year, clever in-store theatre holds the key to capturing shoppers’ attention. Retailers should consider placing themed displays in areas of high footfall to add excitement in-store. Consumer favourites that have been given a spooky look will add to these displays, ensuring they stand out.
"PVM offers themed shelf-ready packaging to complement our themed Halloween packs. Products from our core range have been given a spooky makeover include Fruittella Duo Stix and Juicy Chews, which last year grew 46% and 20% respectively at Halloween (IRI data) tapping into shoppers’ trust for our leading brands."
While sharing is big business at Halloween, some people like to use the occasion to treat themselves. This is where Cadbury Goo Heads (the Halloween version of the Creme Egg) come in.
Their popularity last Halloween helped the Cadbury novelties range grow by 36%. Goo Heads are available in creepy skeleton, pumpkin, Frankenstein, Dracula and werewolf variants, either individually or in packs of five.
This year they are joined by Cadbury Goo Head Minis, which include a selection of individually wrapped, mini skeleton, pumpkin, Frankenstein, Dracula and werewolf heads filled with gooey fondant ideal for sharing.
Consumers need something to wash all those sugary treats down which is where soft drinks come in. Nielsen data reveals that sales of soft drinks for Halloween reached nearly £36m last year, up 6.2% on 2017. Fanta was one of the key brands behind this growth, seeing a 17% increase in value sales versus 2017.
Amy Burgess, senior trade communications manager at Coca-Cola European Partners (CCEP), says: "Fanta is to Halloween what Coca-Cola is to Christmas and this year’s Halloween is set to be bigger and better than ever. Supported by a multi-million marketing campaign spanning digital and outdoor advertising, social media and our Twisted Carnival activities, the brand is a must-stock for the Halloween season."
Burgess says last year was Fanta’s best-performing Halloween to date and delivered record sales of £15.8m over the four-week sales period.
"We achieved this by engaging with our core audience of young adults by offering them great taste, interactive experiences, excitement and novelty."
She says that for this Halloween, CCEP is unveiling its biggest Halloween innovation to date: Fanta Dark Orange.
"It has a great-tasting blood orange flavour with a dark twist," explains Burgess.
"The new variant’s disruptive dark colour and wolf on-pack graphics will catch shoppers’ attention and drive purchases at Halloween as people look to stock up for Halloween-themed celebrations."
Fanta Dark Orange will be available in 500ml plain and price-marked packs from later this month. In addition, the Fanta range will once again receive a Halloween-themed makeover with the return of Noma Bar’s ghoulish on-pack graphics.
"We know that consumers want special packaging and half of consumers look for special products relating to the Halloween occasion when making purchasing decisions," says Burgess.
Adrian Troy, marketing director at Barr Soft Drinks, says the Halloween occasion represents a significant opportunity for retailers to grow sales during what is now a key period in the UK retail calendar.
"Soft drinks and confectionery are the biggest profit drivers, with shoppers stocking up on take-home packs of soft drinks for parties and smaller packs to hand out to trick or treaters."
He adds that one in three shoppers buy soft drinks at Halloween, so this is a key category focus for retailers."
New Maynards Bassetts Dead Chewy is a 162g bag containing individually wrapped chews, in a variety of fruity flavours. Mondelez says they tap into the trend for chews at Halloween sales of which grew 26.8% in 2018.
The limited-edition Otis Halloween Muffin is a rich, chocolate muffin with a smooth vanilla cream, topped with a fun pumpkin-shaped decoration. Supplied frozen for thaw and serve, it is wrapped in a colourful Halloween-themed case. Rrp is £1.49.
New Maynards Bassetts Soft Jellies Scary Safari is a ’bag of bags’ containing 17 x 16.7g mini bags. Each bag contains a variety of soft jelly sweets in fun animal shapes, in a variety of fruity flavours. The Maynards Bassetts Soft Jellies range is currently worth £2.6m and Mondelez says these new bags tap into the growing trend for permissibility with each mini bag containing 54 calories.
New Cadbury Oreoooo is a 256g bag of Oreo Mini Filled Eggs, with spooky Halloween branding. It is available in cases of 12.
The new Chupa Chups Sour Infernals range of ’scarily’ sour lollies, jellies, gums and chews is an all-year-round range which brand owner Perfetti van Melle expects to be particularly popular at Halloween.
Spark extra match sales
Republic Technologies (UK) Ltd says Halloween, Bonfire Night, Diwali and the run-up to Christmas provide a big opportunity for forecourt retailers to spark extra sales from the UK’s £20m-plus matches market.
"Virtually every household in the country has a requirement for matches or lighters at this time of year as families enjoy these key celebrations, providing a major opportunity for sales uplift," says Gavin Anderson, general sales manager at the firm.
"With reports estimating that more than £400m was spent on celebrating Halloween last year, almost double what it was just six years ago, and millions of people carving out pumpkins and placing candles inside, matches are a must-stock item and a vital household accessory," he adds.
"Bonfire Night and Diwali are two other occasions when matches come into their own, not forgetting that every pack of fireworks sold is a chance to offer a box of matches. This really is the optimum time to stock a range meeting different user occasions. For example, Cook’s are targeted at kitchen usage whereas Bryant and May Extra Long are ideally-suited for lighting candles and fireworks."