It’s October and I’m seeing Christmas wreaths hanging outside of storefronts. Reindeer, polar bears, and good ol’ Saint Nick are popping up on pillows, cupcake pans, and sweaters.
There has to be some business motivation as to why Christmas decorations start appearing so early. There’s no way that the only reason that holiday items start appearing in stores is that buyers are feeling the Christmas spirit a little bit early.
I’m working under the assumption that everything in fashion merchandising is cooly calculated. So what’s the rush for Christmas?
It comes down to dollars
Here’s my hypothesis: The National Retail Federation reported last year’s holiday sales at over $600 billion. Like no other cultural phenomenon, Christmas gets people dropping cash.
This year, the average American family will spend $882 on Christmas gifts, according to the American Research Group. With an average monthly income of $4,328.25, this is 20 percent of their entire revenue for the month of December.
There’s no doubt that businesses know these numbers. In fact, they count on them.
Put yourself in the position of a CEO: You know that a family is willing to spend 20 percent of all of their income in the month of December because of the Christmas season. Wouldn’t you try to get that season going as early as possible?
Shoppers love it
Some of the best and most frequent shoppers out there are fashion and lifestyle bloggers. To test my holiday shopping theory, I asked two of my blogger friends how they feel their shopping habits change towards the end of the year.
Tilley Hanson, 25, of tilleysthreads.com, says “I would say that as the seasons change I start thinking about gift giving and even what’s on my wish list.”
Next, I asked whether she believed this was a product of advertisements for holiday shopping or a natural consequence of seasonal change. She said that as temperatures drop, she begins thinking about Christmas which makes her think about gift giving and wish-listing.
“As soon as the temps drop, I immediately start looking for all the cozy sweaters!” says Kylie Mavrakis, 24, of dressinsparkles.com.
With this information, it makes sense that Christmas decor starts appearing as soon as temperatures start to fall. Cooler temperatures makes people think of winter, a season that Christmas monopolizes in almost every American household.
Experts know it
Since shoppers seem to indicate that even the idea of Christmas makes them want to shop, I asked a former advertising professional if this was a phenomenon that retailers tried to take advantage of.
Yan Shan, a Cal Poly advertising professor who has worked at an ad agency, confirmed that retailers definitely attempt to capitalize on Christmas spending.
Many advertising campaigns throughout the year are awareness focused (where businesses try to build brand awareness and brand relevance), yet holiday campaigns are usually promotional. Promotional campaigns offer deals, discounts, and other incentives to shop at a particular store.
When asked why Christmas seems to be coming to the mall so early, Shan cited the increase in e-commerce versus brick-and-mortar stores. Since consumers are beginning to shop more at online outlets, stores are needing to compete for their market share. It’s likely that one way that stores are incentivizing consumers to come to the mall is through in-store holiday promotions.
So there you have it. The mall is feeling a little left out because it’s being overshadowed by its more convenient twin, online shopping. People love Christmas, so I think retailers are hoping that if they begin the holidays they’ll start attracting shoppers.
It seems a little far-fetched to me. But then again, I love the mall regardless of the seasonal decorations.