Well here it again; Christmas in October. Did anyone notice all the Halloween decorations that were on CLEARANCE before October 31? The racks were right next to the Christmas stuff.
The hangover of the Halloween holiday results in the great push towards the Christmas season. Typically, in years past, at midnight on October 31 the witching hour wound down to a close and sunrise became the mark of the Christmas rush. But in recent times, however, retailers are beginning earlier. Why so early? Because Christmas is about more than good will towards men. It also involves big bucks…and I don’t mean Dasher, Dancer, Prancer or Vixen.
The National Retail Federation (NRF), the world’s largest retail trade association, is projecting 2013 holiday sales to rise 3.9% to $602.1 billion (yep that’s Billion) In 2012, holiday sales increased 3.5% to $579.5 billion. By comparison, 2011’s $560.2 billion was a 5.1% increase over 2010. On average, holiday sales have increased 3.3% for the last 10 years.
For some retailers, the holiday season can represent as much as 40% of annual sales.they have a lot riding on consumers feeling “good will toward men.” In 2012, holiday sales represented 19.3% of total retail industry sales.
NRF’s holiday forecast is based on an economic model using indicators such as housing data, unemployment and previous monthly retail sales reports from the U.S. Department of Commerce. NRF’s holiday surveys, conducted by Prosper Insights & Analytics, provide a snapshot of what consumers say they plan to do for the holiday season.
This year, NRF also estimates that retailers will hire between 720,000 and 780,000 seasonal employees, compared with the actual 720,500 they hired last holiday season. That’s good numbers for the economy.
NRF tallies total retail industry sales from November and December – 61 days – to determine holiday sales. Holidays during this period include Thanksgiving, Christmas, Hanukkah and Kwanzaa. This year there are 26 days in between Thanksgiving and Christmas.
Shop.org projects online holiday sales to increase between 13 and 15% to as much as $82 billion during the months of November and December. The U.S. Commerce Department reported that final Q4 (October – December) e-commerce sales in 2012 increased 15.7%.
Shop.org’s estimates are based on data collected by the U.S. Department of Commerce, the Federal Reserve, the U.S. Census, the Conference Board, and NRF’s own calculations. These estimates include personal income and spending, consumer credit, consumer confidence, and previous monthly retail reports.
Each year, about 40% of consumers begin their holiday shopping before Halloween. While most retailers do not begin holiday advertising until at least October or November, they recognize that many people like shopping early to spread out spending. As a result, many retailers are putting holiday merchandise on the shelves in September – specifically decorations and greeting cards, which many people buy months in advance.
So start making a list and checking it twice – the Christmas retail season is here to stay.