Sunday, November 14, 2010

The Christmas Shoppers Are Back

The Christmas shoppers are back. In the stores, the Christmas season is on. It’s on like Donkey Kong (I had to add that because that’s one of the revamped products people are out shopping for). I know this is true because of the increased weekend vehicular traffic I’ve been seeing in shopping areas. This suggests that retailers can count on another “early” Christmas season, in which Black Friday is the midpoint of the season. Many shoppers will be finishing their Christmas gift shopping on that day — or online on Thanksgiving, a pattern that began to emerge last year — while others will just be getting started at that point.

The early gift shopping defies the usual American commercial thinking. “You’ll miss all the sales!” If this thought is not a deterrent to early shoppers, it may be because:

  • There just isn’t enough time in December, the busiest month of the year, to do a lot of shopping.
  • When you go shopping during a big sale, you might end up spending more rather than less.

Either of these thoughts indicate that consumers are starting to chart their own course, no longer taking their cues from commercial interests.

On the other hand, retailers this year are trying to adapt to the early Christmas shopping by spreading their major one-day sales around the month of November, instead of concentrating them all on Thanksgiving weekend. Any shopping strategy will miss out on something. But it makes sense that retailers have to follow the shoppers, many of whom just don’t have much shopping time in December, and that’s why there are more “Christmas” sales in November this year.