A Jungle Scout research briefing
Top Halloween Trends of 2023: ’90s Nostalgia & Blockbuster Buzz
Explore spooky season’s biggest trends in this Jungle Scout analysis of consumer spending and Amazon product data. This Halloween, Millennials are expected to lead spending as the ’90s return from the dead.
This Halloween, Millennials are doing more shopping than any other age group, and 41% of them expect to spend more than they did last year.
Consumers of all age groups — and younger shoppers, especially — turn to Amazon first when searching for Halloween products online. A third of Gen Z consumers expect to do most of their costume shopping from Amazon.
Amazon searches for popular Halloween items started accelerating earlier in 2023 than they did in 2022 — keyword searches for costumes, decorations, and candy were more than 100% higher in August compared to a year ago.
Halloween 2023’s Biggest Ecommerce Trends
Another October is upon us, bringing pumpkin-spiced promises of cooler, longer nights and — for many — the unofficial start of spooky season.
This year, as screens illuminate our lives more than candles in carved pumpkins, the bewitching extends to online shopping carts as consumers prepare for Halloween celebrations, costume parties, and trick-or-treating. At Jungle Scout, we’ve been dying to see which costumes, decorations, and treats will be the most coveted, and have just the trick to find out. Read on as we delve into our data crypt — using Jungle Scout’s Amazon product and keyword research tools and our most recent consumer trends survey — to uncover the biggest Halloween trends of 2023.
Millennials expected to lead spending
While a significant 45% of consumers expect to curtail their Halloween spending compared to last year, Millennials are a notable exception. Just over 40% of Millennial shoppers plan to spend more on Halloween-related purchases this year, standing in stark contrast to the more conservative Gen X and Baby Boomer generations, where 52% and 50%, respectively, anticipate spending less.
Perhaps the simplest explanation for this trend is that Millennials, the eldest of which are in their early 40s, are nearly twice as likely to have children under the age of 18 than any other generation, according to data from our Q3 2023 Consumer Trends Report. This means their Halloween-related spending is more likely to include costumes and other related items for their children in comparison to other generations.
Boomers appear to be the most consistent with their past habits; 43% expect to spend about the same on Halloween this year as they did in 2022. Gen Z’s spending most closely mirrors overall consumer sentiment: 47% of them plan to spend less.
In 2022, average Halloween spending per person was around $100, according to a National Retail Foundation survey.
Projected Halloween spending by generation
What consumers plan to buy online
Gen Z and Millennials lead the migration from in-person to online shopping with about 29% of each group expecting to make most of their Halloween purchases online. The drift towards online shopping starts to wane with older generations; Gen X’s average inclination towards online platforms is at 16%, while Boomers show a modest average of around 5%.
Halloween products consumers buy online
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Top Halloween shopping haunts
Amazon is the most popular destination for consumers shopping online for Halloween-related items — 44% said they typically shop there first. Its stronghold is particularly pronounced among Gen Z and Millennials, with 56% and 58%, respectively, turning to Amazon first when shopping online for Halloween.
And while Halloween specialty retailers like Spirit Halloween and Party City may be popular in-person destinations, just 10% of consumers turn to their websites first when searching for Halloween products online.
Among social media platforms, which continue to grow in popularity as ecommerce destinations, Facebook and Instagram emerge as leaders. This is especially true among younger demographics, with Instagram captivating 30% of Gen Z shoppers.
Where consumers start when Halloween shopping online
*Totals do not equal to 100% as respondents could select more than one option.
Trending Halloween products on Amazon
Sales of Halloween-related items on Amazon typically peak in mid-October, according to data available in Jungle Scout’s product and keyword research tools. That said, Halloween keyword and product data available through August 2023 — reflective of consumers getting an early start on their shopping — is already pointing to some clear trends.
Keyword Scout, Jungle Scout’s keyword research tool, shows the number of keyword searches for “Halloween costumes” on Amazon rose nearly 180% between the first and last day of August. “Halloween costumes for adults” saw an even more remarkable jump — 395% — during the same time period. Search volume for both of these terms were also notably higher compared to the same period last year.
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Just as many of 2023’s broader pop culture trends have leaned hard into ’90s nostalgia, so, too, are a number of the top-selling costumes on Amazon as we head into October. Through September, Category Trends data from Jungle Scout revealed one big theme: Many of the top selling costumes are inspired by the year’s biggest movies — think Barbie, The Super Mario Bros. Movie and The Little Mermaid.
Top-selling costume for women
Barbie-inspired cowgirl: The iconic pink cowgirl outfit from The Barbie Movie is the hands-down top seller in women’s costumes, with a variety of different listings dominating the top 10 rankings throughout August and September.
Top-selling costume for men
Super Mario Bros. movie-inspired Bowser: In men’s costumes, Bowser — the fiery villain of The Mario Bros. franchise — has been trending the highest in recent weeks. Honorable mention: Pirate-inspired shirts and pants have also been top sellers.
Top-selling decorations and candy
When it comes to decorations, this year’s top products are a mix of playful and terrifying, with the number one seller — a giant spider web — representing both. Daily sales for this popular outdoor decoration increased more than 2,100% between August and September.
As for candy, according to the top-selling Amazon products, trick-or-treaters can expect a wide variety of chocolate-based goodies — Halloween-themed variety packs of Hershey chocolates were trending in the first week of September, along with a Trick or Treat variety pack of Nerds, whose unit sales for the week of Sept. 4, 2023, were more than 6,700.
- Giant spider web
- Floating candles
- Spooky ghosts
- Inflatable dinosaur pumpkins
- Ghost curtain
- Hershey’s (assorted flavor miniatures variety package)
- Nerds (Trick or Treat package)
- Butterfinger, Crunch, Baby Ruth (assorted fun-size package)
- Mars “Ghoulish Green” M&Ms, Snickers, Twix (variety package)
- Skittles and Starburst (assorted fun-size package)
We’ll continue to track these and more Halloween trends throughout the month of October on our blog, so check back in to see which costumes make the final top 10 as Halloween night approaches.