The Race for Christmas: Are Retailers Turning Consumers Off?

December 3, 2014
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By: Jamie Smith 

It was a couple of weeks before school started and my Instagram feed was filled with photos of store displays such as school supplies, electronics geared to students and of course, back-to-school clothes. Oh, and Christmas decorations.

Wait, what? Christmas decorations?!? Yes, it wasn’t even Labor Day yet and retailers were already displaying Christmas items.

It seems like the race to Christmas starts sooner every year. Are retailers risking the loss of loyal customers by decking the proverbial halls as early as late summer?

I checked in with Social Fabric members from all over the United States to see what my fellow bloggers think about this phenomenon…does it bug them? Do they get the reason for it? What do they recommend for brands?

Of the more than a dozen people who responded, only one said she truly enjoyed the Christmas decorations coming out so early because she enjoys the holiday that much. The rest of the responses ranged from mild annoyance to almost anger, even though several bloggers said they understand the conundrum.

“The presence of Christmas and Winter merchandise only diminishes those holidays if you let it. I won’t fault a brand or store for putting things out early to make money,” said Amy Fulcher. “As a professional blogger I work months ahead of the holidays to have my product (my blog posts) in my reader’s minds when they need it. I wouldn’t expect less from a store or product.”

Debbie Johnson reminds us that many consumers have economic reasons for needing to get into the Christmas spirit earlier. “I think, depending on where you are, budgeting might get the better of you. The reality for us, to have Christmas with all the trimmings (I get paid on the 15th of the month), is that I need to buy gifts from September onwards,” she said.

Amber Edwards brought up the need to purchase craft supplies well before the holiday. “For those making Christmas gifts, we need supplies early, sometimes as early as September,” she said. “I totally get that and don’t fault that.”

Amber continued: “I think to me it’s the lack of acknowledgement of the other holidays that still need to be celebrated and acknowledged that bugs me so much. I don’t think I’d be bothered as much if they actually supplied a quality section of merchandise and decorations for Halloween and Thanksgiving.”

In this age of constant motion, constant connection there seems to be a growing desire to live more in the moment.

“Life passes by quickly. We should enjoy each holiday and season without the next one being forced on us,” said Emily Stephens. “Brands need to encourage people to be “in the moment” instead of rushing through everything in life. We’re a busy, mobile society; and everyone needs to slow down.”

Carissa Shaw added that she thinks stores would score popularity points if they posted signs saying they would not be displaying Christmas items until after Thanksgiving. “Consumers will love it,” she said.

So what say you? Are you annoyed by early Christmas decorations in stores or do you understand why brands do it? Would stores having ample Halloween and Thanksgiving decorations make the Christmas decorations easier to tolerate? What advice do you have for retailers?

 

About the Author: Jamie Smith is an avid content creator both for her personal blog Jamie’s Thots and for clients through her writing business Jamie’s Notebook. A newspaper journalist by training, Jamie has loved the written word since elementary school (if not before). She started her personal blog in 2005, but had never considered that writing style as a means of making a living. She still writes some magazine and newspaper articles, but the majority of her work is now in professional blogging and website writing. She is especially excited about learning the “whys” of the social media writing world, including the thought process throughout the industry’s evolution. Happily married to husband John, Jamie works in a home office and loves sharing about her four-legged “children.” She’s active in several Northwest Arkansas nonprofits including Dress for Success Northwest Arkansas and Polina’s Promise. Tweet her at @JamiesThots.

 

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