Thanksgiving is late this year, which means the 2013 consumer spending trends will be affected.
The 2013 holiday shopping season is getting an unusually early start, as marketers try to take advantage of consumer spending trends through the final three months of the year.
An unusual calendar for 2013, which pushes Thanksgiving back to late November and sees an early Hanukkah celebration, ties with continued uncertainty over the economy, politics and healthcare costs to create a shopping mood to buy early. Marketers plan to entice early shopping to make up for the unusual calendar dates in December.
The International Council of Shopping Centers predicts a 3.4 percent increase in consumer spending this holiday season, and said chain store sales will increase 2 percent over 2012.
“We’re going to see a more subdued spending mood from consumers, but what counts is that we are on track to have a better holiday sales season than last year,’’ ICSC chief economist Michael Niemira told Bloomberg News.
More than one-third of retailers planned to start marketing for the holidays before Oct. 1, according to Baynote.com, a website designed to promote marketing plans across multiple channels for retailers. Experian Marketing Services surveyed major American retailers and found 49 percent said they will launch their holiday campaigns before Oct. 31.
“Retailers have been extending the shopping seasons with promotions, post-recession, so it’s not surprising to see that nearly half of all marketers stated they would launch a holiday campaign before Halloween,” said Experian general manager of global research Bill Tancer.
There are events specific to 2013 that makes retailers anticipate an early shopping season. Among them are:
No elections – There is no presidential election, and very few state and congressional elections to take shoppers’ minds off of their holiday shopping needs. Retailers blamed the Barack Obama-Mitt Romney battle in 2012 for keeping shoppers out of stores until the first of November. Also, ad time was more expensive last year as broadcast channels raised their rates for political purposes, and negatively affected consumer spending trends.
A late Thanksgiving – Thanksgiving is Nov. 28 this year, the latest possible date for the holiday (which comes on the fourth Thursday of the month), which means Black Friday is Nov. 29, and that is less than one month from Christmas. It’s a calendar anomaly that will definitely affect sales and marketing, as many stores simply won’t want to wait until Nov. 29 to get some sales numbers posted.
Combine that Gregorian calendar anomaly with:
A very early Hanukkah – Using a shorter calendar that adds a month every two or three years, the Jewish holiday for 2013 begins the night before Thanksgiving, which means the first gifts are going to be handed out Nov. 27, two days before Black Friday. IF Cyber Monday is again on the Monday after Black Friday, this year that is Dec. 1, and the Jewish gift-giving season will be more than half over. This will affect marketers, and consumer spending trends, in heavily Jewish areas of the country.
One marketing approach that is expected to see increased use is lay-away promotions, which by definition need to start early to allow shoppers to pay for gifts over a period of time. K-Mart, Wal-Mart and Toys R Us have announced layaway plans, as the shop-and-save program popular in the 1970s makes new headway aimed at low-income shoppers.
Another new promotion that is gaining steam is “Buy On-Line, Pick Up in Store”. Toys R Us has promoted the idea, which allows consumers the ease of buying on-line, the prospect of being able to pick up the item within hours of purchase, and it still gets consumers into the brick-and-mortar establishments. Target reportedly is planning to take advantage of the same consumer spending trend between Black Friday and Christmas.
Kent McDill is a staff writer for Millionaire Corner. McDill spent 30 years as a sports writer, working for United Press International and the Daily Herald of Arlington Heights, Ill. From 1988-1999, he covered the Chicago Bulls for the Daily Herald, traveling with them every day through the nine-month season. He also covered the Bulls for UPI from 1985-88, and currently covers the team for www.nba.com. He has written two books on the Bulls, including the new title “100 Things Bulls Fans Should Know And Do Before They Die’, published by Triumph Books. In August 2013, his new book “100 Things Bears Fans Should Know And Do Before They Die” gets published.
In 2008, he resigned from the Herald and became a freelance writer. The Herald hired him to write business features and speeches for the Daily Herald Business Conferences and Awards presentations.
McDill also writes a monthly parenting column for the Herald’s Suburban Parent magazine.
McDill is the father of four children, and an active fan of soccer, Jimmy Buffett and all things Disney.