In many European countries, Halloween is now the third biggest retail event of the year behind Christmas and Easter. The growing popularity of this spooky seasonal celebration provides monster opportunities for retailers in many countries. However, in some European countries, All Saints Day has a bigger impact on shopper behaviour.
So, which countries tend to generate the biggest traffic spikes?
Our data confirms that Halloween is now a well-established retail highpoint, with shoppers attracted by stores brimming with gruesome decorations, Halloween-themed food, and of course freaky masks and costumes for both children and adults. However it should be noted that traffic spikes in late October can’t solely be attributed to Halloween, as the religious observance of All Saints Day (November 1st) also has an impact. All Saints Day is a national holiday in Poland, Spain, France and parts of Germany, for instance, when most shops are shut, so people may be stocking up before this celebration.
Poland leads the pack
Polish shoppers generate the biggest pre-Halloween/All Saints Day traffic uplift, according to ShopperTrak data analytics, with shopper traffic expected to be up +45% on the Saturday before Halloween 2018, and up +30% on Halloween itself – which falls on a Wednesday this year.
Following Poland will be Ireland, then Italy, the UK, France, Spain and lastly Germany, ShopperTrak data from recent years reveals.
Country by country – Halloween in the spotlight
Poland – All Souls and All Saints
In Poland, Halloween traffic has been up against the average every year for the past four years. The uplift peaked in 2016 when Halloween fell on a Monday (+74%), with the smallest uplift being seen in 2014 (+6.73% – fell on a Friday).
On average, traffic tends to be up by +40% on Halloween in Poland. This could be due to All Saints Day the following day however, with people taking the time to go shopping ahead of the public holiday.
If Halloween/All Saints Day falls on a weekday, traffic on the Saturday prior tends to be higher. This was seen in 2016 and 2017, when the Saturday prior to Halloween saw traffic increase by +49% and +56% respectively. In 2015, when Halloween actually fell on the Saturday, average traffic increased by +45%.
In 2016 and 2017 the Saturday was up by +49.39% and +56.01% respectively, while the Sunday was up +22.26% and +24.88% respectively.
• Halloween up +30%
• Saturday prior to Halloween up +45% and Sunday up +20%
Ireland – Halloween half term bonanza
Ireland sees uplifts in Halloween traffic every year (average +12%), especially if it falls on a weekday. When it fell on a Saturday (in 2015) the uplift was only +3%.
Halloween week often coincides with half term in Ireland, and there is also a bank holiday on the last Monday of October – these factors could also contribute to the uplift in traffic.
For the past four years the weekend prior to Halloween has experienced an uplift in traffic on both Saturday and Sunday. The Saturday uplift is less than +10% (average +6% for the past four years), while the Sunday sees a larger uplift (average +19%).
• +10% uplift on Halloween
• +2% uplift for prior Saturday, +15% uplift for prior Sunday.
Italy – Mixed results in recent years
Results are very mixed in Italy, with some years seeing an increase, and others a downturn.
Our data shows that ‘day of week’ doesn’t show any particular pattern – traffic was down on Halloween in both 2015 (-2.55%) and 2017(-6.36%), when the day fell on Saturday and Tuesday respectively. Traffic was up in 2014 (+22.9%) and 2016 (+39.31%), when Halloween fell on Friday and Monday.
All Saints Day is also celebrated in Italy the day after Halloween – there is generally a large uplift in traffic against the average (with the exception of 2015 when it fell on a Sunday).
Year-on-year traffic saw a large uplift in 2015 (when Halloween fell on a Saturday) of +71.53%, but the following two years saw YOY traffic fall: -22.24% in 2016 and -37.39% in 2017.
• Halloween up +10%,
• Prior Saturday down -2%, prior Sunday down -5%
UK – Week day Halloween is a treat
If Halloween falls on a weekday, traffic tends to be up against the average. If it falls on a weekend, traffic tends to be down – as seen in 2015 when Halloween fell on a Saturday and traffic was down -3.52%.
During the years 2014, 2016 and 2017 (when Halloween fell on a weekday), Halloween traffic was up by +4.65% on average.
For the past four years, the weekend prior to Halloween has seen a downturn in traffic against the average, but there has been an uplift on weekdays. This week coincides with autumn half term however, which is most likely the reason for the increase in site visitor numbers.
• +4% increase in traffic against the average on Halloween
• -3% decline in traffic on the weekend prior to Halloween
France – Public holiday adds traffic magic
Halloween results are quite mixed in France. While traffic has been up against the average every year since 2014, the uplift was far less in 2016 (+6.65%) and 2017 (+2.3%) than it was in 2014 and 2015 (+37.34% and 56.08% respectively).
However, during 2014 and 2015, Halloween fell on a Friday and Saturday respectively, when traffic is naturally higher. All Saints Day is the day after Halloween – it’s likely that the uplift in traffic is attributed to people shopping ahead of the public holiday.
• Halloween traffic up +3%
• Prior Saturday (27th) traffic up +50%, Sunday (28th) down -90%
Spain – All Saints Day dominates
Traffic is rarely up on Halloween in Spain – over the past four years, only 2017 saw Halloween coincide with an increase in site visitor numbers (+23%). This could be because the focus is on the All Saints Day observance the following day, when people honour the dead and celebrate the continuity of life.
Otherwise, traffic tends to be down by -39% on average. While the downturn in traffic has improved in recent years (2014 -47%, 2015 -34% and 2016 -35%), it is difficult to predict whether 2018 will see an uplift in traffic or not.
In regards to the weekend prior to Halloween, traffic has been down on both days for all four years analysed, with the exception of the prior Sunday in 2016, for which traffic increased by +9.14%.
• Halloween traffic down -10%
• Previous Saturday down -30%, previous Sunday down -5%
Germany – Veil drawn over Halloween
In Germany, traffic usually declines on Halloween, with 2016 being the only year out of the past four years to see an uplift in traffic (+43%). Otherwise, traffic has been down by an average of -50%.
In Germany, Halloween happens to coincide with Reformation Day. While this is not usually celebrated across the whole of Germany, it will have contributed to the downturns in traffic. This can be seen especially in 2017 when it was celebrated cross the whole of the country in celebration of its 500th anniversary – traffic was down by -86% (compared to -33% in 2014 and -29% in 2015).
Year-on-year traffic was down in 2017 and 2016 (by -84.20% and -7.67% respectively), although it was up +17.68% in 2015 due to it falling on a Saturday.
• Halloween traffic down by -30%
• Prior Saturday (27th) down -25%, Sunday (28th) down -80%
Halloween tricks and treats in store – are you ready?
It’s clear that not every corner of retail in Europe will be focused on Halloween merchandise and store promotions this October 31st. However in countries such as Poland, Ireland, Italy and the UK it’s well worth planning meticulously for this important sales conversion and up-selling opportunity.
Thanks to historic traffic data, individual stores can benefit from having a personalised roadmap to achieving peak trading success. Pinpoint last year’s power hours, and ensure that this Halloween, shoppers are totally bewitched by your in-store offer, with sales assistants on hand to deliver that all-important conversion magic.
ShopperTrak helps retailers plan for known trading peaks, using traffic data to identify trends and maximise opportunities in the retail space.
Find out more here.