Marketing to Women: “Christmas Creep” is Here

September 19, 2012 § Leave a comment

Have you had your first Christmas sighting yet?  We know retailers are already busy and shippers are coming out in the stores.  Consumers are already planning their ho-ho-holidays.  My Pinterest friends are busy posting Halloween and Christmas ideas at the same time.  So “Christmas Creep” is here.  “Christmas Creep” is the term for retailers who begin promoting Christmas earlier every year.

And here is the proof:  Fifteen percent of top online retailers have already started the holidays in their email campaigns as of September 6, according to the 2012 Retail Email Guide to the Holiday season study released by Responsys. That’s up from 11 percent at this same time in the past two years.

What about consumers?  A survey done in late October by YouGov BrandIndex found that nearly one-third of shoppers had already started shopping for holiday gifts. Nearly half expected to start before Thanksgiving, according to the survey.

Layaway is the first letter to Santa.  In 2011, Walmart reintroduced layaway for the holidays, after getting rid of layaway five years earlier. While last year’s layaway program began on October 17, this year’s layaway will start with electronics and toy purchases of at least $50 starting September 16, 2012.

Christmas merchandise is arriving in the stores now.  Retailers have a schedule of special promotions in the “preseason” before Halloween, then again with “early Black Friday” sales in November, and finally with Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and what’s traditionally been peak holiday shopping season.   Some started as early as July with Black Friday in July and Cyber Mondays in July.

For those of you who don’t have your plan in place, here are some trends for the 2012 Holiday Season.

1.  Thanksgiving has replaced Black Friday as the kick-off of the season.  More stores will open on Thanksgiving Day this year, along with special online sales. Last year, 75% of major retailers sent at least one promotional email campaign to their subscribers on Thanksgiving Day, up from 60% in 2010 and only 45% in 2009.

2.  Express shipping and Free shipping are expected– all up to December 21 which is affectionately called “Last Sleigh Day”.  Fifty-five percent of major online retailers offered free shipping last holiday season.

3.  Santa’s helpers are mobile.  The days they are most likely to be away from home are as follows:

— The day before Thanksgiving, which is the busiest travel day of the year

—  Thanksgiving Day, when most consumers are with family with a smartphone in their purse or on the couch watching TV with a tablet on their laps, or out shopping with their smartphone in hand

—  Black Friday, when many consumers are out shopping at brick-and-mortar stores

—  Christmas Day, when consumers are flush with gift card cash and shop online because stores are closed

—  Weekends during the height of the holiday season in December, when weekend email volume is about 50% higher than at other times of the year.

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