Make Your Halloween Go with a Scream!

Make Your Halloween Go with a Scream!

With Christmas looming on the horizon, it’s easy to forget that the run-up to the festive season includes a couple of additional key seasonal sales opportunities that can significantly improve your bottom line – particularly if your business sells a variety of lower-cost, impulse-purchase items.

Halloween and Bonfire Night – or Guy Fawkes Night if you prefer – are less than a week apart but both represent a hugely profitable time for smaller businesses. While Halloween was once the poor relation to Bonfire Night in the UK, in recent years the UK has taken to the spooktacular celebration in a big way. Halloween is now the UK’s third biggest retail event in the UK, behind Christmas and Easter.

According to research by GlobalData, just over 50% of Brits splashed the cash on Halloween-related activities in 2017. However, this figure rose to 85% for parents with children under 5. Among the biggest spenders were “young millennials”, of which 77% embraced Halloween and spent accordingly. In fact, research by Statista earlier this year revealed that UK consumer spending on Halloween has almost doubled since 2013, with around £491 million being spent in 2018.

What do people spend money on at Halloween?

Most of the spending goes on, you guessed it, costumes, decorations, chocolate and other treats, with 75% of Halloween shoppers buying Halloween food products – much of the latter, incidentally, being Halloween branded, with an associated healthy mark up on price.

The biggest source of spending was on treats to eat, with the average spend reaching £10 per person. Perhaps surprisingly, however, less than one-in-five people spent their money on pumpkins, traditionally regarded as the mainstay of Halloween.

A haunting we will go!

One of the biggest earners is spooky costumes, particularly for kids. According to the GlobalData research, the most popular Halloween outfits were:


  1. Witch
  2. Vampire
  3. Superhero


  1. Princess
  2. Superhero
  3. Spiderman

Emily Salter, Retail Analyst for GlobalData, who conducted the research, said: “More consumers bought clothing and costumes, driven by 16-34 year olds participating in Halloween events where dressing up is encouraged. Additionally, clothing retailers including ASOS and Topshop launched Halloween discounts across their websites on the day of the event, using the occasion as an excuse to drive sales across the board.”

So with all this creepy cash dropping into tills up and down the UK, what does it mean for retailers looking to boost their sales?

Nothing creepy about card payment machines

One of the biggest things to consider is that much Halloween related spending is often unplanned and quite spontaneous. The pumpkin carving kit by the veg, the spooky chocolates by the till, the last-minute ghoulish get-up for the children’s Halloween party.

Convenience is therefore key. Not only in terms of product placement – make sure you put your Halloween products on high profile, high traffic areas where buyers can easily reach them – but also in terms of payment.

An unplanned purchase means that shoppers are less likely to have cash to hand to spend on ghostly goodies, so it’s vital that you make is as easy as possible to pay by other means – like debit or credit cards.

Nowadays people increasingly expect to be able to pay by card. Over the last few years, the introduction of contactless payments (whether through a credit or debit card, smartphone or smart watch) has also boosted the popularity of non-cash transactions.

Without the need to rummage through their purses or wallets for that elusive last 10p, customers paying by card are likely to spend more – particularly when it comes to impulse buys. Plus of course, paying via a card payment machine is hugely convenient for them, rather than having to trudge off and find a cash machine, with their interest in your products waning with each step.

Howling all the way to the bank

For small business owners, the rise of non-cash shoppers poses an increasingly significant risk. If more and more people are conducting their everyday lives without carrying cash, businesses who cannot cater for them – especially at busy times like Halloween – are certain to miss out on potential sales.

And that’s where we can help. United Merchant Services helps independent retailers increase sales through our range of contactless card payment terminals. With both counter top and portable machines available, you’re sure to find what you need.

Contact us today to ensure you have a happy Halloween this year!