The Christmas Creep…
Samantha Noble, Marketing Manager
Red cups can only mean one thing (ok, fine… a college keg party too), Christmas drinks are out at Starbucks! While I often wish I could get a good eggnog latte in April, it is the anticipation for Christmas that excites us as consumers (we know it is not the extra calories). After reading the article, Christmas comes really early at Starbucks I began to question, why do retailers do this to us? Do they really think killing the hype surrounding Christmas is going to lead to increased profits?
According to dnj.com, Retailers Start Christmas Push Early, retail analysts have “cautiously” high hopes for this movement. Retailers feel as though consumers are more inclined to make larger purchases than last year due to the recovering economic state. Black Friday, the epitome of consumerism, is the most shopped day throughout the entire year. However, the article states that as retailers have begun promotional efforts earlier, it has been more difficult to track the beginning and end of Christmas sales. If most of you are like me, we will continue to buy clothes until about a month before Christmas. While increased retailer promotions would be a bonus for us, it makes it more difficult for analysts to track the direct effect of holiday promotions on purchases. Plus, elongated promotions may lead to margin erosion. Consumers are not going to get excited about 15% off; instead we are going to wait for the big deals. Do retailers really want to condition us to think this way, more so than we already do?
As a result of this trend, vendors influence more than consumers, they also affect their suppliers. Like Retail Tech, I would venture a guess that most suppliers see a decline in sales upon the holiday months. It only makes sense. Retailers are interested in purchasing products for their stores when they are not as busy. VP of Marketing and Sales at Retail Tech, Mark Baskfield, has not observed the “Christmas Creep” having dramatically influenced our seasonal sales cycle, yet. I questioned whether or not retailers, grocers, and hospitality chains have begun to purchase POS equipment even sooner in the year, but while Retail Tech has seen other purchasing trends, earlier holiday promotions has not been one of them. Mark said he would not be surprised if this evolves in the upcoming years. Ultimately, retailers affect the entire supply chain in their promotional decisions. In order for suppliers, consumers and retailers alike to forecast correctly, it is important for everyone to be on the same page.
I am an American. I love consumerism, but I LOVE Christmas more. Like most people, I want to enjoy the season rather than feel as though it has been dragged out. We should never feel this way, Christmas is supposed to be the “most wonderful time of the year.” Retailers have the power to decide when we start decorating the house, making Christmas cookies, buying Christmas gifts, and drinking Starbucks eggnog. I think the retailers, suppliers, and consumers need to work together to plan the “perfect holiday season” before Christmas in July is a reality. That is all.