“Why Retailers Should Display Christmas Merchandise Before Halloween” by Bob Phibbs (The Retail Doctor)

“Why Retailers Should Display Christmas Merchandise Before Halloween” by Bob Phibbs (The Retail Doctor)

Why do retailers put out Christmas merchandise before Halloween? Because customers buy it.

It’s that time of the year …

Time for the leaves to change and drop…

Corn mazes to sprout up…

Pumpkin spice lattes…

and the perennial favorite of writers everywhere…Christmas creep.

“I can’t believe they already have Christmas stuff out and it’s not even Halloween.”


Oh, excuse me, I suppose I should be in the camp that talks about “the good old days” from the movie A Christmas Story when shoppers would admire retailers’ windows during the annual Christmas parade.

Or maybe I should extol Nordstrom again because they won’t put up decorations until Thanksgiving Day.

Sorry, but there is one basic reason all retailers should do this. Wallets.

Most customers have a mental budget of what they will spend for the holidays; for decorations, for gifts for the family, for the teachers/coaches, for the office – the works.

The sooner those customers have spent money earmarked for gift-giving, the less they will spend when it comes to the traditional time to think about buying holiday gifts.

Deloitte forecasts that 2021 holiday retail sales:

  • Will increase between 7% and 9%. 
  • Overall will total $1.28 to 1.30 Trillion. 
  • E-commerce sales will grow by 11% to 15%, year-over-year. 
  • E-commerce holiday sales are expected to reach between $210 billion and $218 billion this holiday season, compared to $189 billion last season.

And Forbes reported that ICSC, the leading shopping center and mall industry organization, predicts that end of year sales will jump by 8.9% over 2020.

And that’s the opportunity for all merchants to put out the Christmas merchandise now.

This isn’t something new but it is something smaller retailers have resisted and I suggest they get on board. Especially with the coronavirus still traveling around the planet.

After all, catalogs with reams of holiday items have been arriving at your mailbox since August. They know something…

No, I’m not saying those items have to be in your display windows or in your prime selling space.

Just like you don’t start playing nonstop holiday music, you can put out more and more holiday items through November and into December. 

There’s a reason last year that Target and Walmart started their holiday layaway plans early – they know millennials. That generation is closer to my grandparents with their thriftiness. They know how to make their money go a long way and budget it accordingly.

With Apple’s new iPhone 13s expected to take a larger amount out of moms’ and dads’ holiday budgets, what will be left over for any store will be smaller.

Smart merchants look at customer behavior when merchandising their stores and making their holiday preparations, not their own preferences of only seeing merchandise in stores after Thanksgiving.

See also, What To Do During Your First Holiday Season As A Retail Manager 

In Sum

Established merchants put out holiday merchandise because they understand having it on the floor beats having it in a distribution center or stockroom.

Whatever sells is a bonus.

With many merchants having less staff due to the pandemic, it can take longer to get the merchandise out onto the floor.

And let’s face it, Halloween doesn’t have the breadth of merchandise across all categories as Christmas does.

So, if you are a retailer, find a way to get your seasonal items out there before a competitor steals your customer and gets them to open their wallet now – leaving you with lower retail holiday sales.

If you’re not a retailer and feel incensed at the realities of holiday retailing, please avoid commenting how awful it is for you. This blog is for merchants, not customers.

To really make the most of your holiday merchandise, I suggest you start using SalesRX my online retail sales training program to increase conversions and profits. You can register for a free trial below. 

You might also find value in these popular posts about How Retailers are Preparing for the Holidays:

We are pleased to mention that the Bob Phibbs the Retail Doctor (who has contributed to BRA with outstanding articles like this one and so many others that we have reposted over the past year) recently contributed to BRA monetarily and is now a Supporting Vendor Partner of BRA. We value his relevant retail insight and encourage you to learn more about his offerings by clicking on the following link to his website:

– Doug Works, Executive Director BRA

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