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What Happened on Halloween? A Look at Amazon Search Terms and Share of Voice
November 1, 2021

Halloween is in the rearview mirror, and parents and children alike are sifting through their hoard of candy after a night of trick-or-treating. CommerceIQ data indicates that shoppers were eager to enjoy the festivities and put COVID concerns behind them. After a 2-month surge, the delta variant has peaked; new cases are continuing to decline. Here, we compare top Halloween search terms in relevant categories and see how their overall ranking on Amazon compares to the same day both one year ago and for the prior month.

Candy and Chocolate: Search Term Rankings on Amazon

No Halloween celebration is complete without buckets of candy flowing from the rafters, and this year was no exception. ‘Halloween candy’ was one of the most searched terms on Amazon just as it was one year ago, but key differences emerge once we dig deeper. Compared to 2020, consumers resumed searching for bulk and variety packs of Halloween candy as opposed to smaller packs of individual candy or chocolate types. Shoppers expected to consume and give away more candy this year as party gatherings were larger. This is evidenced by the fact that shoppers aren’t necessarily buying more candy in general than they were one month ago, just Halloween-specific candy. Interestingly, many chocolate products were down while candy items were up vs. last year, suggesting that trick-or-treating returned to its dominant position as a purchase driver.

Costumes: Search Term Rankings on Amazon

This year, Halloween costumes for both men and women topped Amazon in search frequency rank. Costumes, in general, made a strong comeback from last year, but the difference is more pronounced for men’s costumes. “Halloween costumes for women” was still a very strong search term last year though this year it was the most searched term for the entirety of Amazon for the day examined. Squid Game costumes from Netflix’s hit show were the most popular specific costume for 2021, suggesting the show made its cultural impact felt with remarkable speed. 

Decorations and Décor: Search Term Rankings on Amazon

Both outdoor and indoor decorations tended to surge more in interest vs. last year, especially outdoor decorations. Shoppers are likely expecting more friends and family to see and appreciate their decorations and want to put on a good show. In 2021, there appeared to be an earlier shift to Christmas and Thanksgiving interest in October for important search terms vs. 2020. Shoppers might be motivated to start celebrating some of the year’s biggest holidays earlier and with more gusto than before. 

Who’s Winning Share of Voice

Let’s take a look at some of the most relevant Amazon keywords in candy and chocolate on Halloween day. How did top brands perform in the overall brand presence and Share of Voice?

Note: Share of voice is calculated at the brand level, not for the parent company

Mars does exceptionally well followed by Hershey for almost all major keywords. Combined, both brands comprise at least 30% of the total share of voice for most sample keywords and approach 40% when you include their separately listed brands like Skittles, Jolly Ranchers, and Reese’s as a part of the parent company.

Interestingly, Mars held an advantage in a variety pack and bulk-related candy terms that lend themselves well to trick-or-treating, while Hershey performs stronger within more generic terms like “candy” or “chocolate.” Hershey’s win on ‘chocolate’ was significant as the brand pool was diluted by other strong contenders like Lindt, Godiva, and Ferrero in addition to Mars.

Laeta Food was one smaller brand that nevertheless managed to reappear under different keywords and maintain a 2 to 5% Share of Voice where it was relevant. Other options like Assortit, Assorted, and Taboom represent variety and bulk packs of candy that consist of other brands.

What does the surge in consumer excitement for Halloween mean for your business?

  • Align your pricing and offer with the resurgence of holiday social occasions as the delta variant wanes.
  • Media sensations take hold of shoppers’ purchasing habits quickly; ensure you are nimble enough to adapt.
  • Candy is a fragmented category with smaller brands vying for the digital shelf alongside the larger vendors. Small improvements in Share of Voice yield big results. Invest wisely heading into the holidays.
  • Maximizing your Share of Voice is dependent on both your organic search rankings as well as the efficiency of your ad spend. Automating your ad spend to achieve the best result is crucial.