Business / Industries

Online orders for Halloween costumes, regalia surge

By ZHU WENQIAN (China Daily) Updated: 2015-10-30 07:53

Online orders for Halloween costumes, regalia surge

A child tries on a hat for Halloween in a shopping mall in Beijing. Retailers are finding a new gold mine in the niche market for Halloween costumes in China. [Photo/China Daily]

Online retailers are reporting a surge in demand for costumes and other regalia associated with the annual celebration of Halloween, which falls on the night of Oct 31.

The rise in orders actually kicked off 2-3 weeks ago, they said, and for some items, sales are just about as fierce as that for the upcoming Singles' Day shopping splurge on Nov 11, China's biggest annual online shopping day.

"We have been receiving orders for as many as 4,000 children's costumes per day and have just about run out of stock," said Liu Rongchao, the manager of Magik Party, a Guangdong-based online clothing store on Taobao, the popular e-commerce platform of Alibaba Group Holding Ltd.

"Our Halloween-related revenues have already topped 3 million yuan ($472,000).

"Last year, the revenues were 300,000 yuan in total for this kind of product," said Liu, whose store designs and makes Halloween costumes.

"I wish we had been more prepared. Taobao hasn't really been promoting Halloween. I'll know better next year, when I am confident sales will at least double."

The festival is a traditional one, originally for children, started in Western countries to remember the dead, be they good or bad.

But today, Halloween is celebrated by people of all ages, and is generally seen as a good excuse for a fancy-dress party, having fun scaring friends and neighbors, even visiting haunted attractions-and it has become increasingly big business in China.

In recent years, the colors black and orange have dominated designs of everything, from daring costumes to fake spiders and illuminated pumpkin-heads.

Li Hongguang, a 36-year-old white-collar worker in Beijing, said he bought his son a superman costume last year to celebrate Halloween.

"His kindergarten held a party for the kids, and required everyone to wear a costume.

"The teachers taught them the origins and customs of Halloween-but it was really about wearing a fun costume."

Online retailers said kids' costume sales remain the most popular, but more adults are getting in on the act too, particularly in big cities such as Beijing and Shanghai.

Some grown-ups are now prepared to spend huge amounts to get dressed up, said Liu, to enjoy what can end up being lavish and expensive parties.

"We have a huge variety of Halloween products on sale. For many Chinese consumers, the whole idea is a lot more appealing and exciting than Christmas," said Liu, whose store also exports costumes to the United States and Europe.

The props on offer this year are practically endless, with his bestsellers including pumpkin lanterns, masks to cosmetics, hands with clearly broken bones, cut-out brains and hearts, and scar-tattoo stickers.

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