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Unhappy Halloween ahead with rise of pandemic measures, clown outfit imports

Cons. Discr. - Durables 342 Cons. Discr. - Retailing 309 Coronavirus 428 U.S. 4626

Traditional Halloween festivities will need to take a different format this year as a result of the social restrictions applied during the COVID-19 pandemic. There’s already been signals from retailers of Halloween merchandise of concerns regarding reduced demand, as discussed in Panjiva’s research of Aug. 3 in relation to Jakks Pacific.

The anticipated drop in Halloween entertaining can be seen in the 7.2% year over year drop in U.S. seaborne imports of Halloween related costumes and outfits in the June 1 to September 30 period, Panjiva’s data shows, led by a 9.5% slide in outfits that likely represents fewer people attending parties. Decorations also declined by 6.3% after an 8.0% rise the year before.

Outfit imports down for a second year

Chart segments U.S. seaborne imports of Halloween related merchandise by product category.   Source: Panjiva

The absence of hit movies has removed a major driver for new outfits, with imports of previous hits including Disney’s Pixar ( Toy Story) and Marvel films having declined by 45.6% and 18.7% year over year respectively. Traditional dress such as zombies and vampires have also declined by 42.7% and 20.2%, perhaps representing a sense of taste in the pandemic environment. Similarly imports of medical-themed outfits also declined. 

The fastest, and most distressingly, acceleration has been in imports of clown themed outfits, kicked off by the reboot of the It franchise by importers including Morris Costumes and Scarborough International.

Grim performance from most costume themes

Chart segments U.S. seaborne imports of Halloween related merchandise by keyword.   Source: Panjiva

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