Glimpse of the Industry

2017 reader survey shows mixed overall numbers, growing wariness of online competition

By Zeke Jennings |

As you may have noticed, reader surveys have become a bigger part of our content in recent months. They are a great way for us to reach many of our readers at once to find out various things about their business so that we can better provide the information you need to be successful.

While we’ve been asking more questions more often, reader surveys are not new to Party & Halloween Retailer. We’ve been conducting annual reader surveys for three decades.

Our traditional annual survey, which covers a variety of topics, was conducted late last year. Here are the results, led by some insights and takeaways from the numbers.

Adding online

For the fourth straight year, the number of readers who sell products online saw an increase. That includes jumping from 31 percent last year to 43 percent this year. While the number of traditional brick-and-mortar retailers getting into online sales may be rising, nearly half say it accounts for less than 10 percent of their overall sales, at least in our poll.

More readers to adding online services could be directly related to who they view as their primary competition. In our 2015 survey, 20 percent said they felt online retailers were their top competition. That number ballooned to 32 percent last year and then again to 44 percent this year. 

Getting social

Using Instagram for business promotion is on the rise, as it passed Twitter as the second-most utilized social media platform among Party & Halloween Retailer retailers. Instagram usage jumped 11 points to 43 percent. The number of survey takers who say the do not use social media at all for business fell from 20 percent last year to 16 percent.

Cosplay customers?

We asked if Cosplayers were among your customers and nearly half of respondents said they didn’t know if they were or were not. If costumes, accessories, props, fabric or makeup is in your inventory, chances are pretty good you are. If you sell any of those products, it might be worth reaching out to local Facebook pages geared toward the hobby to make a connection.

Originally posted Thursday, Jan. 18, 2018

Tags: inside the industry, surveys