The Halloween Opportunity

There were nearly 115 million places to trick-or-treat in 2014. Make your c-store the place consumers go to stock up for the products they need to avoid any tricks in 2015.
candy corn

The air is crisp. The leaves are dropping. And there’s something spooky in the candy aisle.

Halloween brings with it a scary amount of opportunity for c-stores—to the tune of $6.9 billion, which is how much money consumers are expected to spend on the holiday this year. According to CNN data, Americans will spend an average of $74.34 per person in candy, costumes and decorations. In confections alone, they’ll spend an estimated $2.1 billion.

That’s a lot of candy corn.

If you’re doing it right, you planned for Halloween 2015 way back in November of 2014. But just in case you needed some added seasonal inspiration, Convenience Store Products spoke to someone that knows a thing or two about Halloween—and we’re not talking about the Headless Horseman.

Larry Lupo, vice president of sales for grocery, convenience and drug channels at McLean, Va.-based Mars Chocolate North America, shared some advice on planning for this seasonal opportunity.

Convenience Store Products: What should retailers do to capitalize on this occasion? Do you have any merchandising suggestions?

Lupo: Seasonal items displayed in a specific area of the store will teach shoppers to seek out new items in this space. Stores can merchandise items not only for Halloween and other traditional holidays, but also for themes like football, NASCAR and summer. Carrying seasonal items will increase impulse purchases.

CSProducts: Approximately when should they begin planning for the Halloween occasion? When would they start promoting it in their stores?

Lupo: Retailers should begin planning nine to 12 months in advance of the Halloween season. They should begin setting Halloween items … in early September.

CSProducts: What is the opportunity, dollar-wise?

Lupo: The convenience channel is significantly under-leveraged in seasonal chocolate sales. The channel sells a large percentage of non-seasonally wrapped chocolate, yet it sells only 5% of seasonally wrapped chocolate. There’s a huge opportunity for growth.

According to an iCommunity Halloween Trend study, 61% of consumers treated themselves and purchased chocolate candy for personal snacking during Halloween. These shoppers will be motivated by secondary displays along the path to purchase.

CSProducts: Anything further retailers should know about Halloween?

Lupo: C-stores should maximize exposure at the front end. Every c-store should have a countertop display … by the register. Shoppers are likely to grab a snack when they see it in that area.