Shoppers to splash out on spooky stock this Halloween


Having overtaken Valentine’s Day as the UK’s third biggest retail event, Brits made more than 2 million searches for “Halloween costume” on the site during September and October last year, according to new research.


According to new data released by, sellers need to prepare for the uplift in spend this Halloween as shoppers stock up on everything from elaborate costumes to high-tech party equipment.

Less black cat, more cat walk

Traditionally associated with children in ghoulish costumes, the holiday has transitioned into a fashion event for the whole family. Halloween costumes for ladies, men, babies, kids and adults all featured amongst the top 20 searches in the fancy dress category on between July and October last year.

And when it comes to crafting their bewitching outfits, Brits aren’t afraid to go the extra mile. Last year, “Halloween contacts”, “Zombie contact lenses” and “Halloween eyelashes” were amongst the most searched for terms in the make-up category between July and October.

For some, the search for the ideal costume is a last-minute consideration, with the third weekend of October last year seeing a peak in searches for “Halloween costume”, registering a 67% increase compared with the first weekend of the month. And during the same period, searches for “pumpkin” and “skeleton” leapt 49% and 110% respectively as party goers hurried to add the finishing touches.

High-tech house parties

Two weeks before Halloween last year, shoppers were in full party preparation mode, with searches for “Halloween decorations” reaching a peak. In a bid to truly transform their homes for the spooktacular event, shoppers made more than 17,000 searches for “fog machine” during October.

And with only one week to go, the male shoppers were coming out in force to ensure theirs was the party to be remembered. Whilst ladies made 187% more searches for Halloween decorations than their male counterparts, men turned their attention instead to the tech and scene-setting scary movies. Male shoppers made 165% more searches than women for “projector”, 87% more searches for “fog machine” and 126% more searches for “Scream”.

Lorna Dunne, Head of Fashion Business Development at eBay, commented, “When it comes to the fancy dress category, Halloween is one of the biggest revenue drivers every year. But it’s also a growing opportunity for retailers across the fashion and beauty – and even consumer electronics – sectors as consumers continue to push the boundaries with their outfit and party efforts.

“For sellers, the key is to ensure they’re catering for all audiences this Halloween – from kids through to grandparents. And of course, make sure inventory is stocked accordingly to support even those searching for their perfect outfit at the eleventh hour.”

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