Online shopping for Halloween is expected to grow in Canada in 2021 (by share of online vs. offline purchases), thanks in part to the pandemic and more savvy online marketing. However, due to limited socializing and fewer participating in trick-or-treat rituals this year, Halloween sales may drop overall.
The good news is, Canadians are taking enough of a currency exchange hit when ordering from the US to discourage it. Additionally, more and more Canadians are showing a preference for shopping in their own country as they learn about the importance of supporting their local economy. Millennials are most likely to shop locally and they’re big on Halloween festivities too.
Canadian Halloween Statistics
Forty-four percent of Canadians say Halloween is their favourite holiday, according to a 2018 Value Village survey.
“Halloween has quickly become one of the largest shopping seasons of the year, with individuals spending upwards of $60 just on their costumes,” says Jeffrey Schwartz, Executive Director of Consolidated Credit Counseling Services of Canada.
It’s tough to find current, Canadian-specific Halloween data, but we’ve compiled the most recent statistics we could find.
- If your target market is Canadian kids, note that 4,071,114 of them were in their trick-or-treating years (5-14) in 2019, according to Statistics Canada.
- Eight out of ten Canadian parents planned to celebrate Halloween with their children in 2020, according to the Retail Council of Canada.
- RetailMeNot reported 64% of Canadians planned to hand out candy in 2015, compared to only 50% in 2014. That number jumps to 80% on Canada’s East Coast, and falls to 46% in Quebec. Canadians will spend an average of $42 on candy. That varies widely between rural and urban areas, which brings down the average. For example, here in BC I spend well over a hundred dollars on candy. In rural New Brunswick (where I grew up) $25 is plenty.
- In October, 2018, the value of monthly sales of candy, confectionery and snack foods at large retailers was $613.2 million, reported Statistics Canada.
- RetailMeNot anticipated Canadians would spend $43 on decorations, $52 on costumes, and $55 on Alcohol in 2015.
- A 2014 Angus Reid poll revealed Canadians aged 18-34 spend the most, averaging $25 on Halloween costumes and $75 total. Half of Canadians buy a costume, but the majority of British Columbians prefer to make their own. Almost half of those surveyed spend more just to have the best Halloween candy for trick-or-treaters.
- Eighty percent of Canadians would like to spend less than $50 on their Halloween costume in 2018, according to a Value Village survey.
- There were 2,270 businesses engaged in formal wear and costume rental in Canada in June, 2019, according to Statistics Canada.
“Canadians have become so wild about Halloween we now spend more per capita on costumes, candy and décor than our U.S. counterparts do, with holiday-related spending that is second only to Christmas,” reports Hollie Shaw for the Financial Post.
October Halloween Marketing Ideas
The scary thing about Halloween for Canadian online sales, is most people do their shopping for the holiday in October. They really don’t want to start hearing about promotions until then. Even if you start marketing in September, they’re often not ready to buy. Additionally, we have to take away a week+ at the end of October for delivery time of online orders.
All things considered, we need to get the message out there within a very small window of time. Following are proven ways to do that. Some will work even better if you start setting it all up before October, so keep them in mind for next year if you’re reading this too late. Better yet, start it now anyway, but focus on the holiday season. The same strategy will work for any holiday and all the time in between.
- Bloggers can get your message out fast with all kinds of creative marketing, including contests & giveaways, reviews and guest posts. Check out our list of Popular Canadian Blogs to get started.
- Start an Affiliate program! You’ll get traffic through links from hundreds of websites, and that will only grow as we speed towards the holiday season. It’s the most economical, effective form of online marketing and you only pay affiliates when they bring you a sale. If you don’t carry Halloween-specific products, you can join a non-competing affiliate program yourself and create a new revenue stream.
- Get your products into online marketplaces.
- Use your blog to bring in shoppers with fun Halloween content, reviews, checklists, videos and infographics.
- Create special Halloween landing pages and digital sales funnels. It’s easy if you use marketing automation tools that lead you through the process, step-by-step. Thrive Themes Funnels offers lots of funnel functionality for small businesses on a tight budget, and the Systeme suite of tools has a free level. Halloween-theme lead magnets can work especially well, such as 25 Easy Halloween Decorating Ideas or 25 Ways to Bewitch Halloween Shoppers.
- Have a Halloween contest or giveaway featuring your products, or try a “win your purchase” angle to help convince shoppers to buy from you.
- Use social media to share your blog content, hold or promote contests, alert shoppers to truly fantastic deals/coupons, and provide customer support. Keep in mind that many Canadians are searching visual social media (such as Pinterest, Instagram and YouTube) for costume, decoration and treat ideas. Value Village’s 2014 Halloween statistics for Canada, showed almost 60% of those who dress up for Halloween look to social media for costume ideas! Popular tools like Shortstack make it super easy to have social contests and offer coupons via social media.
- Donate a portion of Halloween sales to a charity. Include a branded graphic consumers can share on social media that says they helped. A popular charity at Halloween is Unicef.
- Banner advertising on popular Canadian websites can increase exposure. Use the iconic maple leaf, the Canadian flag, the word “Canada”, Canadian coins or bills, and red and white to catch the Canadian eye.
- Offer free shipping from now until Halloween (or take it on through the Holidays). Learn how to slash Canadian shipping costs with these tips.
- Whether you sell online as an eCommerce merchant or as a blogger, email is still the most effective marketing tool. Bring the best of the above marketing ideas into your email campaigns. Keep email subject lines direct, so subscribers instantly realize there is a Halloween deal or other content they need to see right away. Invest in professional email marketing tools, such as Aweber.
Remember to tap into emotions when marketing any holiday. Halloween may not be the holiday that comes to mind when you think of warm, fuzzy nostalgia, but you can channel some of the best memories most adults have of their childhood.
Are you hoping to scare up some Canadian online sales with Halloween marketing? Please share your plans or questions in the comments below or join us in our Facebook Group.
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Melody McKinnon's formal education is in business management, which she enhanced with more than 60 certifications revolving around business, marketing, health, general sciences and writing. In over 20 years of working online, she has owned or managed both educational and eCommerce websites.
Melody has worked with many businesses & brands in a multitude of capacities. She can often be found on CanadiansInternet.com, CanadianFamily.net and AllNaturalPetCare.com, as well as other quality digital publications. Her content has earned reference links from highly-respected websites, magazines and university textbooks.