You’re not imagining it when you walk down the aisles at the retail store. You’re witnessing the Christmas Creep.
No, not a person or a dance but rather a process – to encourage consumers in a tough economy to start buying now for Christmas --by filling the stores with holiday merchandise in the summer.
According to published reports on the internet a survey by Harris Interactive suggests that 13 percent of US adults have already made one purchase and approximately 20 percent are nearly done with their holiday shopping. Tax-free opportunities and least expensive shipping methods via internet shopping all help with the acceleration process – but I still have to admit that it is pretty odd to see ornaments on the shelf and thinking of gift giving while we are trying to beat 90 degree heat outside.
Some articles suggest that there will be a quick skip over Halloween and Thanksgiving and that it’s right to the lights and decorations of Yule – where some retailers rely on the season to make anywhere between 25-40 percent of their annual sales, according to the National Retail Federation.
But in my opinion, part of the emphasis and ease in early shopping is brought on by phenomenon such as the definitive requests that kids make for holiday early on and the emphasis – particularly in lean years – of buying and having holiday especially for children. That’s not to say that parents have to cave to the pressure, or adults without children aren’t participating customers, but now everyone can get ahead, plan their expenses and their purchases as soon as retailers offer up products during the fall season.
In short, the previous marketing story was about Black Friday (shopping day after Thanksgiving) and Cyber Monday (busiest online shopping day of the year on the Monday after Thanksgiving). But we have witnessed consumers now going out on Thanksgiving evening to shop a few hours earlier than Black Friday -- suggesting a “sooner rather than later” mentality.
Sure there are those that wait till the last minute, and in recent years those who deliberately wait till Dec. 26 to get the best deals. But with retailers limiting their inventory and getting product to the sales floor earlier than ever before – the thought of finding the right gift now (while you have some cash vs. the credit card) and hiding it until December isn’t so unusual anymore.