Halloween Shopping Foreshadows Holiday Supply Chain Issues

by | Nov 3, 2021


US Consumers were ready to get back to their old habits this Halloween. 

Premise tasked 1,000 parents with children 12 or under across the country to share their 2021 Halloween experience. 

2021 Halloween Season

It turns out they were trick or treating again – 72% of families in urban communities trick or treated this year, compared to 49% in 2020. A minority of consumers planned to shop early for Halloween candy. Even if they did not start early, many were planning on upping their Halloween candy spend from last year.

Halloween Shopping List?

Nearly a third of shoppers found Halloween candy prices higher than they expected, particularly in grocery stores. And 19% of parents had concerns about product availability and price increases, likely because they were aware of supply chain issues across the US.

“Looking at the reality on the ground this Halloween shopping season (through our in-store observations), we saw that shoppers’ fears about price increases and out of stocks were on point, but Halloween was far from a disaster,” said Ken Cassar, Head of Commercial at Premise. “On three key measures of merchandising performance (shelf stock levels, shelf organization, assortment appeal), retailers started very strongly, but performance declined as Halloween drew closer,” he added. 

In short, Halloween 2021 was a bit more expensive, and candy and costumes saw thin availability late in the game.

However, Halloween is a much easier holiday than the winter holidays because candy is generally manufactured in the US. Shipping backlogs aren’t as big of a concern. The winter holidays – long dominated by toys, electronics, and apparel – are far more reliant upon goods manufactured in Asia. Consumers are going to need to fill their kids’ shopping lists much earlier than they have historically. And they cannot expect the heavy discounting that they’ve come to expect.

With retailers and manufacturers gearing up for the 2021 holiday season, Premise aims to help shoppers strategize their 2021 shopping plans, and help businesses meet shoppers’ demands. Through a different survey on our platform, we learned that 60% of Premise shoppers’ holiday shopping will differ from last year. 

Premises’s VP of Commercial, Ken Cassar, warns holiday shoppers that this year will be unlike any other. “Holiday shoppers need to shop early, and they need to have gift contingency plans. If you see the video game console that your kids are dreaming about in the store today, just buy it. Don’t wait. Don’t assume that it will come on sale closer to Christmas. And set the kids’ expectations appropriately. They need to understand that they might not get what they’re really craving, that Santa’s workshop was also affected by COVID.”

Similar to the Halloween findings, 62% of holiday shoppers said their budget will differ from last year, which prompted Premise to ask: What motivated shoppers to purchase gifts? Price was the largest influencing factor, followed by sales & “hot items.” 

About Premise’s Capabilities

Consumer behavior and preferences, as well as in-store activity, are constantly changing. As the retail market continues to grow around the world due to increased income, awareness, accessibility and lifestyle changes, it is important that businesses develop tailored strategies for their markets. Monitoring in-store conditions on a regular basis with crowdsourced retail audits and mystery shopping allow your business to quickly identify the early signs of change and adapt strategies simultaneously. With the sufficient collection of real-time customer data from verified Contributors, big-box retailers can track their out of stock (OOS), planogram compliance, competitive intelligence and more. And even though pandemic fears are decreasing, a retail audit can assess important demographic data – including store conditions, foot traffic, shopper compliance with mask-wearing and social distancing adherence. Thankfully, technological advancements paved the way for valuable resources like crowdsourcing, which provides an accurate and efficient method of retail data collection.

Crowdsourced retail audits leverage a massive network of global Contributors to collect data in real-time. This instantaneous data collection provides the actionable insight necessary to help your brand optimize retail capabilities and scale locally, nationally or globally.

Premise can break down your data by demographics to help understand who is aware of, interested in, and — hopefully — buying your brand. We offer a robust demographic view of our Contributors with over 15 data points on every individual, including gender, age, ethnicity, and religion. We can help fuse that with customer sales and distribution data to develop a holistic view of the consumer landscape, slicing and dicing the data by any of these metrics to get a targeted understanding of the audience that is interested in you. Get visibility into your retail store channel and address issues before they impact your bottom line so you can build a better customer experience and increase sales.