Analysis: Are Americans Preparing for a Big Halloween in 2021?

Pattern Data Science

October 11, 2021

October has arrived, and you know what that means: spooky season is officially upon us!

Last year, the COVID-19 pandemic upended one of America’s favorite holidays. With cases on the rise, millions of Americans canceled their Halloween parties, limited trick-or-treating, and some chose to sit out the holiday entirely.

One year later, and there’s still some uncertainty surrounding the holiday. Vaccines are readily available, and things are far more open than this time last year, but rising case rates spurred by the Delta variant may have many feeling cautious again.

Naturally, we decided to dive deep into our data to find answers to questions like: How slow was 2020 for major items like Halloween costumes and candy? How is demand for those items trending in 2021? And has the pandemic made certain costumes more or less popular?

A strong early season for online demand for Halloween supplies in 2021

Let’s start with the broadest available view by examining monthly demand for all things that fall under the “Halloween” category on Amazon. This would include decorations, costumes, supplies, etc.

A year over year view shows that 2020 actually saw online demand for Halloween supplies outpace pre-pandemic levels in September and October. A likely reason for this is a general increase in online shopping last year, as many stores closed their doors and even more people choose to shop from the safety of their own home.

Interestingly, though, online demand in 2021 outpaced both 2019 and 2020 in July and August, and appears to be on track for a particularly strong September and October.

This also may be the result of the proliferation of online shopping, but it’s a strong indicator that we’re in store for a particularly busy Halloween shopping season.

Let’s take a closer look at some specific types of Halloween supplies, starting with costumes.

Online demand for costumes has rebounded to pre-pandemic levels

While the general Halloween category may have done quite well last year, the same is definitely not true for costumes.

Online demand for costumes was down substantially in 2020 compared to 2019. In September 2020, demand was down -37% compared to 2019, while October 2020 was down -30%. Considering the comparatively strong performance of Halloween as a category, it seems that many Americans opted to celebrate the holiday by staying home last year.

Demand for costumes in 2021, meanwhile, appears to have rebounded to pre-pandemic levels during the early months of the Halloween shopping season. It remains to be seen if this trend will continue through September, but the early indication is that there is pent-up demand for big Halloween celebrations this year.

“Sexy” healthcare worker Halloween costumes are more popular than ever

Whether you’re tossing on a labcoat and a stethoscope, going with the classic “sexy nurse” costume, or spicing it up with a “zombie surgeon” getup — the healthcare field has provided countless people with popular Halloween costumes.

Naturally, we were curious to know if the COVID-19 pandemic changed this at all. Are healthcare workers a more or less popular costume option in the face of the past year? Let’s take a look at the data.

2020 saw online demand for items like nurse and doctor costumes dip only slightly below 2019’s figures. Considering the much larger drop in demand for all costumes last year, it seems that people were actually more likely to dress up as someone in the healthcare field than your average costume.

So far this year has seen online demand for healthcare worker costumes return to pre-pandemic levels. This suggests that last year’s enthusiasm may have waned somewhat, but these classic costumes appear to be just as popular as they’ve always been.

But what about a spicier take on healthcare worker costumes? Are people more or less likely to go for the “sexy nurse” or “sexy doctor” costume now than they were before the pandemic?

Again, 2020 saw demand dip compared to 2019. No big surprise considering big Halloween parties were frequently canceled last October.

When we examine the trendline this year, though, we can see that the “sexy” healthcare worker may be an extremely popular option at Halloween parties across the country. Demand has outpaced 2019 and 2020 for every month since Spring, and is trending to be well above both years as the holiday approaches.

This is yet another strong early indicator that Halloween might rebound in a big way in 2021.

Pet costumes

Pet costumes have exploded in popularity over the last decade, and we wanted to see how the pandemic impacted demand for costumes for our furry friends.

People weren’t just holding off on dressing themselves up last year, but their pets, too. Online demand dropped significantly in 2020 compared to 2019, down -32% in September and 26% in October.

This year, meanwhile, demand has returned to practically mirror pre-pandemic levels. It seems that Americans are just as antsy to get their cats and dogs back to a normal Halloween this year as they are themselves.

Online demand for candy has been up all year long

Last, but not least, let’s take a look at the reason for the season: candy.

While Halloween is a huge driver for candy sales, it’s far from the only big candy holiday of the year. Online demand for candy surges during Valentine’s Day, Easter, Halloween, and the Holidays.

2020 saw online demand for candy explode compared to 2019. Much of this was likely due to the growth of online shopping during the pandemic, but once again, we see a strong signal that Halloween 2021 is going to see massive online demand for candy.

Recap: costumes hit hardest in 2020, biggest rebound in 2021

Let’s close by quickly comparing each of the categories we analyzed in the previous sections. First, here’s how well (or poorly) each category fared during Halloween last year.

Candy and general Halloween items both saw demand actually increase in October 2020 compared to October 2019, as more Americans found themselves stuck at home for the Holiday.

All costume categories, meanwhile, saw demand drop. Both regular and “sexy” healthcare worker costumes saw demand drop somewhat less compared to both pet costumes and all other costumes, suggesting these were a popular costume choice for those who did choose to dress up last year.

In August 2021, the most recent full month of data we have, shows that pet costumes are on track for a particularly big rebound, with demand up 144% compared to August of last year. Demand for all costumes saw the next biggest bump, with demand up 72% compared to the early Halloween shopping season last year.

All categories were up compared to last year, though, including candy, which had already seen a significant bump in 2020 compared to a pre-pandemic year.

A lesson for brands

Our data suggests that 2021 could be a huge year for Halloween across the country. The pandemic had a major impact on the holiday last year, and it seems like Americans are eager to get out and celebrate in a big way this year.

Understanding the factors that influence consumer behavior can help brands better understand how to forecast demand for their products on online marketplaces, and even inform product design and marketing strategy.

For example, we’re seeing evidence that a lot of people are looking to buy a new costume this year, and that the “sexy nurse” costume may be more popular than ever. And even halloween supplies that had a strong year last year are on track for an even bigger year this year.

Either way, we’ll be keeping a close eye on these trends and more in the coming weeks and months.

To stay up to date on consumer behavior and ecommerce news, info, and trend analyses, be sure to subscribe to Pattern Insights.

And, if you’d like to learn more about how you can best leverage our data to help your brand win online, holiday or not, schedule a demo today.

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Amazon's Sponsored Product ads
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What Are Amazon’s Advertising Products? Sponsored Product, Brand, & Display Ads

What Are Amazon’s Advertising Products? Sponsored Product, Brand, & Display Ads

Utilizing Amazon sponsored ads can be a smart way for a brand to drive greater traffic to a product listing and start increasing sales. While many brands still struggle to manage their advertising strategies, 30% of Amazon brand sellers increased their advertising budgets in 2022. As ecommerce executives (or even on the nose with VPs of ecommerce?)  approve their 2023 advertising budgets, it may be worth it to take a look at Amazon’s advertising products and the benefit they may have on increasing conversions. 

​​Pattern is the premier ecommerce accelerator with all of the expertise, data-driven insights, and technology brands need to gain control on Amazon and maintain their competitive niche. We know the high value of and how to utilize Amazon’s advertising products to drive the most traffic and conversions to benefit and accelerate your brand.

Here are Amazon’s three main advertising products you should know about in order to drive listing traffic to your products and increase conversions: 

For a brand executive who is selling their product on Amazon, you may not already know the differences between campaign type, so we will walk you through the differences and uses for each of these three ad campaigns.

Sponsored Product Ads

Sponsored Products are a mid-funnel advertising strategy that gives visibility to products above the top organic listings (see example below). This strategy uses custom keywords to get products in front of the consumers who are searching for them, however it can be used to capture new audiences as well.These cost-per-click (CPC) ads require no additional copy or images, but usually receive the most interaction of the campaigns and need to be monitored closely.

As you can see, these ads look just like an organic listing, however they say, “Sponsored,” on them. These types of ads can be especially effective forms of advertising because they tend to blend in with the organic results around them. With Sponsored Products, you can get your products in front of qualified customers who are searching for your product in such a way that doesn’t make them feel like they are being served an advertisement.

Sponsored Brand Ads

Sponsored Brand Ads are a top-of-funnel brand awareness tool and function on keywords. This ad format helps show a customer what they may be in need of and where to get it.  Commonly used to promote product lines or best sellers, a Sponsored Brand ad shows up as a banner above the search results (see example below). This type of ad requires that the brand showcase at least three separate products.

Unlike other campaigns used on the Amazon platform, Sponsored Brand ads require ad copy and a unique logo. These ads also can take customers to a custom landing page, or a page on the brand store, that way they get a clear and overall picture about who your brand is, what other products you sell, and why they can trust your brand

Sponsored Display Ads

Sponsored Display ads can be a tactic for top, middle, or bottom of the advertising funnel due to its varying targeting abilities. Although most commonly found under the bullet points of a detail page, these ads can also show in emails, newsletters, and even more locations off platform.

Unlike the previous ad campaigns discussed, sponsored display ads can target shopping behaviors, like repeat purchasers, similar product purchasers, and even people who viewed the detail page but did not buy. Sponsored Display ads help customers discover your brand, drive awareness, and create loyalty. 

The example above shows just one of the many placements Sponsored Display has.

Accelerate Your Sponsored Products With Pattern 

Rather than competing with each other, each of the three sponsored ad products focus on a different section of the sales funnel, allowing you to target your customers and hit your sales numbers, all while edging out possible competitors. When brands use these advertising campaigns, they can better optimize their ad budget to improve ROAS and build revenue. 

At Pattern, we have all the resources to help your brand build successful advertising and digital marketing campaigns on Amazon so you can increase traffic and conversions, which will in turn increase your revenue

Global Ecommerce Weekly News: 27th September 2022
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Global Ecommerce Weekly News: 27th September 2022

Get up to date with this week's ecommerce headlines from around the globe. --- Amazon News --- Amazon drives renewable energy push with 71 new projects Amazon is planning to add 2.7 gigawatts of clean energy capacity through a couple of new projects as the company attempts to use 100% renewable energy by 2025. The ecommerce business will soon have a total of 329 renewable energy projects, generating 50,000 gigawatt hours of clean energy, which is equivalent to powering 4.6 million US homes every year. [Read more on Reuters](https://www.reuters.com/business/sustainable-business/amazon-drives-renewable-energy-push-with-71-new-projects-2022-09-21/) Amazon launches Prime Early Access Sale Amazon is launching a new 2-day shopping event for its Prime members only, beginning on the 11th of October. Across 15 countries, Prime customers will have access to the shopping event, with thousands of deals on offer globall, ranging from fashion to electronics to essentials. The event has the purpose of giving Prime users the chance to spread the cost of items over the winter months, 6 weeks ahead of Black Friday. [Read more on Charged Retail](https://www.chargedretail.co.uk/2022/09/26/prime-early-access-sale/) --- Other Marketplace News --- Shopify unveils new localisation tool Shopify is launching a new localisation tool, called Translate & Adapt, which works with Shopify Markets to offer localisation for sellers who are looking to expand into new markets. The tool translates a user’s online store into different languages, including product pages and information pages. Merchants are also able to create different shipping terms for each market using the new tool, which allows international expansion and offers a more localised consumer experience, unveiling new potential. [Read more on Ecommerce News](https://ecommercenews.eu/shopify-launches-new-localisation-tool/) Etsy is set to invest hundreds of millions into its marketing platform Etsy CEO claims that the company is on route to spend more than $570 million USD on marketing this year. Even during a time of macroeconomic pressure, inflation and rising interest rates, the company is preparing itself and its sellers for the upcoming holiday season and is focused on retaining interest from buyers. [Read more on Yahoo News](https://uk.news.yahoo.com/etsy-600-million-on-marketing-ceo-154054219.html) --- Other Ecommerce News --- Meta looks to cut costs by 10% in the coming months Meta employees are facing job redundancies as the company plans to cut its costs by 10% over the next few months. Meta reported a 22% YoY increase in costs and expenses, totalling over $20 billion USD. The cuts are expected to come in the form of job redundancies as a result of department reorganisations rather than formal layoffs. [Read more on Charged Retail](https://www.chargedretail.co.uk/2022/09/22/meta-to-slash-costs-by-10-over-coming-months/) DHL teams up with Quadient to offer smart locker deliveries in the UK DHL and tech company, Quadient, have partnered to offer smart lockers parcel pick-up throughout the UK. The new contactless, secure locker stations will give recipients more choice and flexibility to receive their parcels at a time and location best suited to them. The partnership plans to install 500 locker stations across the country by the end of 2022. [Read more on Charged Retail](https://www.chargedretail.co.uk/2022/09/21/dhl-partners-with-quadient-to-offer-smart-locker-delivery/) The online fashion market is set to be worth nearly $170 billion USD in 2025 The European online fashion retail market is set to grow 50% by 2025, with an online turnover of $170 billion USD, which is 33% of the retail branch’s total. Cross-border marketplaces prove to be the largest drivers of this growth, with online websites and apps like Vinted largely pushing the market’s online growth. Zalando recently became the largest cross-border fashion retailer/marketplace, responsible for 11.7% of the online market’s share. [Read more on Ecommerce News](https://ecommercenews.eu/online-fashion-market-worth-e175-billion-in-2025/)

How an Amazon SEO Agency Should Be Serving Your Brand
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How an Amazon SEO Agency Should Be Serving Your Brand

If you’re in the global ecommerce space, you are most likely aware of Amazon, and probably selling your products on the marketplace. With over $470 billion in sales in 2021 alone, Amazon stands as the third largest company in the world based on revenue. The ecommerce giant is a household name in the U.S. and working hard to grow its market share across five continents worldwide.

Having your products available on Amazon and being competitive there, though, are definitely two different things. If you want to really succeed on Amazon, you’ll need specialized insight into how Amazon works and how to make it work for you. So, for many brands, it’s a great idea to work with an Amazon Search Engine Optimization (SEO) agency.

At Pattern, Amazon SEO optimization service is one of our key competencies. We understand that technology, data-driven insights and expertise  are the most important tools brands can leverage to win top listing spots on digital marketplaces. With expert teams and years of experience, we help brands conquer the Profitability Death Spiral as they compete with other products and sellers online. We offer Amazon SEO agency services as a core solution to brands that need more resources to get ahead. 

What is an Amazon SEO Agency?

An Amazon SEO agency serves brands by improving their products’ rank and listing performance on Amazon. They make strategic decisions about ad spending and placement that lead to higher traffic, conversions, and revenue for ecommerce brands.

A great Amazon SEO Agency partner will:

Prioritize Your Success

Unfortunately, many Amazon SEO agencies profit in unfair ways from your brands’ perceived success based on the ROAS numbers they provide. This is done through including branded search terms in ROAS reports, which naturally skew listing performance

Let’s say, for instance, your brand is called “Annie’s” and you sell lollipops. Your brand has a very high likelihood of winning the top listing spots on Amazon for lollipop search terms that are paired with “Annie’s,” your brand name. So, SEO agencies will spend your ad money on those terms and report a very high ROAS. 

To avoid scenarios like these, it’s best to look for an agency that either calculates their profits on metrics other than your ROAS scores or weighs branded search terms differently in the performance metrics reports. Regardless of your Amazon SEO agency’s cost structure, you should align onbranded search terms before committing to a scope of work.

Provide Detailed Competitive Insight

A great indicator of a high-quality Amazon SEO agency is the level of insight they can provide into your competitors’ listing positioning and how it compares to yours. Data fanaticism is so important at Pattern that we’ve developed proprietary technology to display this exact information with precise detail for every brand we work with. In fact, you can find our free version here to see how you compare to some of your top competitors based on ASIN.

It’s certainly possible to improve your Amazon search performance with blind spending strategies. But a truly great solution will help you to know where your dollars are at their most powerful and competitive.

Reduce Your Ad Spend Over Time

Amazon’s A10 algorithm prioritizes customer satisfaction—it wants to show consumers the best products that align with their search intent to improve conversions and sales. So, the best way to gain momentum on Amazon is to work on incremental wins. 

Improving your performance on more obscure search terms that align with your customers’ search intent is a great way to increase ROAS for the long term. A10 will reward your success with better rankings on higher-volume search terms and the virtuous cycle can help you conquer your most-coveted listing spots. And the best part? This process of gaining momentum, if done right, will naturally decrease your ad spend over time as Amazon recognizes your value and works with you to keep your products at the top of consumers’ search results.

Amazon SEO Optimization and More

As an Amazon SEO specialist, Pattern knows how to help your brand win better success for long-term profitability on Amazon. With our data-driven tools and brilliant teams of ecommerce experts, we help brands with listing management, content optimization, Amazon ad strategies, and more.

Contact us to learn more about our SEO optimization services.