Thursday, 31 October 2013

Marketing power and potential of Halloween

Dear all,

Have you ever asked yourself a question 'What would be the marketing potential of Halloween?'. Clearly, Halloween represents a powerful brand, and although it only happens once a year, the amount of money people spend on candy, costumes, Halloween decorations, Halloween parties, foods and drinks, mascara, and other related and unrelated stuff, must be enormous.

We decided to sit down and to make some basic calculations for you. Surely, Halloween cannot beat Christmas or Thanksgiving, but its value might be compared to the St. Valentine's Day. According to some accounts, Halloween might be the third most popular holiday (both according to peoples' preferences and according to the amount of money spent) in North America.

Surely, one does not send postcards on Halloween, but the price of trick-or-treat, costumes, music and movie franchises dedicated to Halloween theme, should still be enormous. Take the Halloween franchise for example (see the Table below). The famous horror classics "Halloween" that was released in 1978 made about $47 million in United States and $55 million worldwide, but, most importantly, it started a profitable franchise that continues until nowadays. So, every year, Michael Myers escapes from his mental institution on Halloween's eve and starts his killing spree. Several peoples are typically butchered and millions of horror fans worldwide are delighted.

Box office revenue
United States
Halloween (1978)
Halloween II (1981)
Halloween III: Season of the Witch
Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers
Halloween 5: The Revenge of Michael Myers
Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers
Halloween H20: 20 Years Later
Halloween: Resurrection
Halloween (2007)
Halloween II (2009)

The total value of the ten movies that make up the "Halloween" series released so far is estimated to be around $700,000. And this is not mentioning the merchandise: T-shirts, souvenirs, badges and DVD rentals.

Now, what about Halloween-related music? There is a US heavy metal band called "Halloween" and a German power metal band called "Helloween". The latter used to be a very popular act and a pioneer in its genre selling about 5 million albums worldwide since its creation. According to the most modest estimates, the band generated about $50,000,00, and this is not to mention its live shows, performances and merchandise!

However, there are more things that remain unaccounted here. In her article entitled "Halloween - a really sweet business opportunity" Susan Ward estimates that in 2009 alone U.S. consumers spent about $ 5.8 billion on Halloween and in Canada about $331 million was spent on candy alone. In addition, Canadian shopping survey held in 2011 established that an average adult spent about $300 on Halloween, and that the amount of expenditures was growing about 5-7 per cent each year.

People might not send each other postcards on Halloween, but according to the National Retail Federation's 2010 Halloween Consumer Intentions and Actions Survey, 20.8 percent will visit a haunted house. This presents a clear opportunity for software development companies that might want to get their share of the Halloween market pie. And there are no limits to the creativeness and exploiting the marketing potential of ghosts and Boogie men. For example, iTourMobile based developed self-guided ghost tour smartphone applications for Williamsburg and five other cities. When passing by particular sites on a Global Positioning System-guided tour (e.g. the Peyton Randolph House in Colonial Williamsburg), a user can listen to ghost stories associated with various buildings on her or his smartphone. Users download the app and do not need to press any button to trigger the 25 stories representing about an hour of MP3 audio files. The $2.99 app was released for sale 2 weeks before this Halloween, on October 15, on Apple's App store and has had 25 downloads per week.

According to the smartphone app developers, a basic audio tour experience costs about $10,000 with maintenance fees ranging from $199 to $599 a month depending on its features and attributes.

And the marketing potential of Halloween does not end here. According to the consumer survey mentioned above, there are many other activities people want to do on Halloween (see the Table below):

Activities people want to  do on Halloween
% of the respondents
Don a  costume
Dress up pets in costumes
Throw or attend a Halloween party
Hand out candy
Curve a pumpkin
Take their children trick-or-treating
Decorate their home or yard
Visit a haunted house

Yes, it appears that Halloween is not just for kids anymore! Nowadays, people are prepared to spend considerable amounts of money just to be "in" and to get scared. 
Overall, it seems that Halloween has an enormous marketing potential. There are both traditional and non-traditional (e.g based on the novel web technologies and smartphone apps) opportunities involved and one would be a fool to neglect the slowly but gradually emerging Halloween market of new business potentials.

Hope you have had a great Halloween this year!