Trick or Treat- The Retail Winners and Losers
I don’t often dress up for Halloween. It’s not that I’m completely uncreative as a person. It’s just that I don’t channel my creativity through personal appearance. Anyone who knows me can attest to this. But I am a contrarian. The internet loves costumes with creativity and celebrates them with attention and upvotes on Reddit. Costumes are retail gold too, and data from Jumpshot’s panel of 100 million devices shows that that buying, like much of U.S. consumer behavior, is increasingly moving online.
We looked at data for sites specializing in costumes and Amazon costume sales, as well as data for online fabric retailers to try to see where things have been heading since September and October 2018.
Craft and Party Store eTail
In September and October, the site for craft store Michaels saw a substantial uptick in transactions, driving more than 300k this September, substantially higher than their 2018 numbers. October sales were up too, but it’s competitor Joann.com has instead seen declines, YoY, driving less than half the volumes as michaels.com.
The party supply store Party City sees a much bigger online uptick in October than joann.com or michaels.com. It increased the number of conversions on its site by nearly 2x this year.
October is the biggest month of the year for partycity.com, though micahels.com and joann.com both show stronger numbers in November and December as the holiday decoration seasons ramp up.
Costume Sites Proper
Costume sites like buycostume.com also rely on October primarily for their sales. Buycostime.com transactions in October were 5X higher in October than September, though volumes were low, around 8,000 purchases.
Adult-focused lingerie and costume site yandy.com drove much higher volumes, but it’s October boost is more modest, just 40% higher than September.
Amazon Dominance Is Actually Scary
These modest volumes, it shouldn’t surprise you to know, are dwarfed by costume sales on Amazon. The retailer drives nearly 4M purchases in the costume category in September and October—more sales than the other domains we considered combined.
It also nearly triples conversions in October. And this year, though total sales fell slightly, Amazon increased its efficiency in gaining those sales. 5.4% of product views resulted in a conversion this October, up from 4.8 last year.
Leading Costumes and Brands
On Amazon, costume brands you’ve likely never heard of cleaned up. One brand, Rubie’s, drove almost 16% of all Amazon conversions in October.
A huge part of that was the ubiquitous, stupid and hilarious Jurassic World inflatable dinosaur costume. It was the third most popular costume on the site in October and was popularized as much on YouTube as from the movies.
But the leading costume on the site was something far more surprising to me. It was this steampunk-adjacent plague doctor bird beak mask. Bafflingly popular, it reminds me of nothing so much as a dream I had in the seventh grade after learning about the Black Plague in middle school. I’m not a fan.
For more insights into Halloween, be sure to check out our Halloween infographic, Spooky Alert: Candy, Treats, and Costumes.