Can consumer businesses take advantage of Millennial Halloween customers?

It’s Halloween! The most terrifying holiday of 2014 is here, and it’s a time of year that provides many different marketing and innovation opportunities for consumer firms. Recent research from Mintel showed that retail sales this year are expected to top £240m, a £10m increase on the previous year. What is interesting is that although 43% of people in the UK are expected to spend money on Halloween products, the figure rises to 58% for the valuable 16-24 age group. The growth of Halloween as a marketable festival originated hundreds of years ago, but opportunities to engage young consumers have never been greater. So how are retailers and other brands capitalising this time around?

One reason Halloween is so valuable for businesses of all kinds is that it allows for a great deal of NPD and innovation. FMCG brands big and small all customise their packaging and alter their products to attract consumers looking for goods that fit Halloween’s scary theme. Mondelez is a company that always gets its marketing right, and this year is no different, with the limited-edition Cadbury Screme Egg just one example of its tailored product ranges. Companies have more marketing avenues than ever, too, with social media providing a potential boost in exposure with younger demographics.

Of course, Halloween is best celebrated after dark, which is an asset to brands exploiting their connections with late nights. Tequila brand Jose Cuervo has linked with the Mexican Embassy to promote a Day of the Dead Festival, which will be held at London’s Oxo Tower. Alongside artworks and film screenings, Jose Cuervo will put on tequila masterclasses that are sure to draw in Halloween revellers. Nightclubs rarely miss a chance to engage Halloween clubbers, either. Novus Leisure’s Tiger Tiger fascia, for example, is hosting a special Nightmare on Haymarket party in central London. For leisure and entertainment brands, it must be a bonus that this year Halloween falls on a Friday night!

MBS has written before about the importance of the millennial customer to brands today. More and more, younger consumers are getting creative and celebrating events in their own way. Halloween is tailor-made for this kind of experimentation; its emphasis on costuming and a particular kind of Gothic counterculture makes it a great source of inspiration for people looking to share their looks and activities on social networks.

The demographic also boasts considerable spending power. Online publication The m/ Age says that the average Halloween participant will spend around US$75 on their costume this year, for instance. Millennials conventionally have a strong independent spirit, and not all will look to deliberately interact with brands this Halloween. However, for the companies that get their seasonal marketing right, it can be a valuable chance to get attention and boost credibility with a powerful new target market.

The opportunities Halloween presents to engage Millennial consumers should not be underestimated. But we shouldn’t forget that it is still a family festival too! How will you be spending your Halloween? Let me know at, and have a spooky weekend!