Brands, meanwhile, are also preparing. The Hershey Company, which views Halloween as a 10-week season, will have more retail displays this year, according to a blog post from Clark Boyer, senior brand manager, as company research indicates 54% of consumers intend to purchase more candy this year than last year. In addition to investing in more point-of-sale displays, the company is also increasing display spending by 10%.
Two-thirds of parents with a child under 18 plan to do more for Halloween this year vs. previous years, according to an Aug. 5-9 Harris Poll conducted on behalf of Hershey, as do two-thirds of consumers ages 18-34. Hershey recorded its largest Halloween ever last year.
As with other holidays, retailers are looking to Halloween as a trip driver and want to meet consumer demand to extend the season. “We found that with increased mobility at holidays like Easter, Memorial Day, etc., candy sales grew in both in-store and online, which was different than in 2020 when online was the largest growth driver,” Wyatt said. “Therefore, retailers are hoping for a similar outcome with Halloween and will maximize their efforts in-store with displays and online with reminders.”
Sweet But Shaky?
Both retailers and suppliers are navigating the pandemic-prompted supply chain issues that have challenged them for the last year and half, most recently exacerbated by the Delta variant. Leah Logan, VP media products at digital commerce solution provider Inmar Intelligence, said retailers continue to experience out of stocks, with a recent survey finding that 74.7% of consumers reported still seeing shortages in stores.
For her part, Wyatt said IRI wasn’t aware of any major outages specifically across the confections or baking industry. Even with the Delta variant, consumers have become clever about adapting to new ways of celebrating, she noted, adding that while shortages may not actually be likely, consumer fears about them nonetheless may prompt some to purchase their stashes early instead of waiting until the last minute.
Such consumer behavior could indeed be more good news for both brands and retailers, as Hershey reported that early-season shoppers spend almost twice as much throughout the Halloween season on candy vs. their late-season shopping counterparts.
While Halloween shortages may not occur, the supply chain nonetheless remains stretched as a result of demand outpacing supply, Jon Gold, NRF VP of supply chain and customs policy, told RIS News, stressed by manufacturing challenges, port congestion, rail backups and capacity issues. The Delta variant, meanwhile, is having an impact in Asia, with company shutdowns reverberating throughout the supply chain.