Sweet Ideas for Candy Brands This Halloween

The question of “What will Halloween look like this year?” has raised more than a few goosebumps for brands and consumers. With large gatherings like costume parties and door-to-door trick-or-treating looking unlikely, many candy CPGs have been left wondering what this means for their brand. On the consumer side, kids have already experienced a lot of change this year—with many children’s school year being cut short and their summer spent in social isolation. So, parents are looking to boost their kids’ spirits by making this Halloween extra special while remaining safe and socially-distant. 

Graphic showing the 158% month-over-month increase in social engagement for "Halloween."
“Halloween” experienced a 158% increase in social engagement month-over-month.

Thankfully, the news isn’t all scary. Quotient’s data shows that “Halloween” has experienced a 158% increase in social engagement month-over-month. With consumers still showing an interest in the holiday, brands have the opportunity to meet the moment with COVID-friendly content.  

Powered by Quotient’s first-party data, the following content ideas can be used to conjure up an omnichannel campaign strategy that hits multiple points along the shopper journey. Check it out to learn more. 

Halloween at Home

To start off with, let’s focus on one area where consumers have been spending a lot of their time during the pandemic: the home. Our data shows that “at-home trick-or-treating” saw a 249% increase in social engagement year-over-year. So, what does this even look like? 

Graphic showing the 249% year-over-year increase in social engagement for "At-Home Trick-or-Treating."
“At-Home Trick-or-Treating” saw a 249% increase in social engagement year-over-year.

Brands can adapt to the times by showing consumers how to decorate different rooms in their homes as multiple stops along an at-home trick-or-treating route. The kitchen can become a mad scientist’s laboratory, the backyard can be a spooky graveyard scene, the living room can be turned into a candy-filled pumpkin patch. Of course, you have to balance the scary with the sweet. Brands can encourage consumers to create mini candy stops in each room to help this content idea feel a little more like a traditional Halloween celebration. Our data shows that “candy bags” experienced a 61% increase in social engagement month-over-month. 

There are many other ways that consumers can celebrate Halloween at home. CNN reports that “more than 55% of Halloween candy is purchased as ‘treats for me’ and for the home and office candy bowls versus explicitly for the purpose of supplying trick-or-treaters.” To amp up the creativity this season, brands can riff off the traditional candy bowl by inspiring consumers to build and decorate haunted gingerbread candy houses, host a series of spooky Halloween movie nights with themed candy treats or create a series of ghoul-icious recipes like a dessert pizza or a candy-decorated cake. 

Share the Scare This Halloween

Another challenge that CPGs are facing this Halloween? The volume of candy sales. With traditional trick-or-treating up in the air, brands are faced with the question of how to drive enough candy sales during a time when consumers are more cautious about going door to door.  

The trick to this treat? Reframe seasonal Halloween rituals in a COVID-friendly light by showing consumers how to celebrate with loved ones in a safe, socially-distant way.  Omnichannel campaigns can help with that. 

One data-inspired content idea revolves around “trick-or-treat bags.” This topic saw a 400% increase in social engagement month-over-month and a 32% increase year-over-year. Consumers can create a variety of candy-filled bags to share with friends, neighbors and even essential workers like their mailman or food delivery drivers. These bags can be left on front porches or delivered to an office lobby for a socially-distant, contact-free way to celebrate the holiday.  

Graphic showing the 400% month-over-month increase and 32% year-over-year increase in social engagement for "Trick-or-Treat Bags."
“Trick-or-Treat Bags experienced a 400% month-over-month and 32% year-over-year increase in social engagement.

How does an omnichannel campaign strategy come into play? CPGs can partner with Quotient’s network of influencers to create highly visual content that puts their brand front and center. This influencer-led creative can then be paired with digital promotions or turned into a series of social media ads, digital out-of-home ads or a shoppable eCommerce page for multiple touchpoints across the shopper journey. For an added boost, influencers can even encourage their followers to interact with this idea on social media using a fun hashtag like #ShareTheScare to show how they’re using this idea in their own homes.  

Trick-or-treat bags aren’t the only way that CPGs can drive sales volume with consumers. Mars Wrigley is launching a virtual trick-or-treating app for the Halloween season, and Pinterest reports that “trick or trunk ideas for cars” (aka trick-or-treating out of your car) have seen a 153% increase in search action. Bonus points if brands can find a way to make their Halloween plans portable. Quotient data shows that “candy to-go” experienced a 36% increase in social engagement month-over-month. 

Don’t Say RIP to Halloween Candy Sales Yet

Consumers are still looking for ways to celebrate Halloween this fall. And interestingly, chocolate has emerged as an affordable luxury that consumers can indulge in during the COVID-19 pandemic. The National Confectioners Association has reported a 4.5% increase in chocolate sales since March compared to a 2.2% increase in sales for 2019 as a whole.  

With a little creativity (and consumer insights backed by Quotient first-party data), candy brands can emerge as a helpful voice during the Halloween season. Contact us at [email protected] to kick off your Halloween campaign plans today. 

*Year-over-year trends are taken from Quotient Muse Data during the time period of July 23, 2020–August 22, 2020, compared to July 23, 2019–August 22, 2019. Month-over-month trends are taken from Quotient Muse Data during the time period of July 23, 2020–August 22, 2020, compared to June 23, 2020–July 22, 2020.