Hallothankmas: When Holidays Collide
Although the expediting of the holiday season has been noticed year after year, with Christmas decor hitting the shelves right on the cusp of Halloween, 2021 has taken this to a whole new level. The turducken of all holidays, Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas, are now bundled together in what is being called Hallothanksmas.
Starting in September, as back-to-school merchandise took a back burner, Hallothanksmas started strong and will remain on the shelves through the rest of the year.
While this produces many groans from shoppers, it has many pros and cons that we will unpack below.
Pro: Extended Holiday Shopping Season
The holiday season has long been a retailer’s sweet spot for driving increased revenue. As retailers continue to bounce back from a difficult fiscal year, it only makes sense to want to extend the revenue benefits of the holiday season. With 24% of consumers planning to spend more in 2021 than they did holiday shopping in 2020, it is important retailers are ready for this surge. The holidays are associated with increased dopamine levels, meaning that customers feel an intrinsic sense of happiness when they see the Christmas tree displays being set up in stores. This heightens the likelihood of purchase, even for items that are a few months ahead of their season.
From a consumer standpoint, this also gives the chance to better allocate budget for holiday items, allowing for dispersing purchases across a few pay cycles versus all at once. With many customers being financially cautious, this extension allows for customers to plan accordingly as well as increase the likelihood of a few additional last-minute purchases that otherwise would not have happened during a shorter shopping season.
Con: Difficult to Make Data Assumptions
While this extension is great for retailer’s bottom lines, they do not felt the same sentiment when it comes to data analysis. Due to the beginning of the season shifting further ahead each year and the blurring of the lines between each seasonal display, retailers are unable to effectively use their retail data tools to make predictions for the following year. Without having a similar start point, YoY data becomes far more difficult to use.
While difficult, using this data is still possible. By leveraging real-time marketing data from the POS through the use of digital receipts, retailers can identify which items were purchased at what points in time and what promotions were used, if any. This allows for a better time stamp to reflect on when planning for the following year or determining the success of the sales cycle in previous years.
Pro: Solution for Logistical Backlog
While last year brought its own challenges to the table regarding social distancing and decreased budgets, this year is bringing a tougher challenge to the table, logistics. Due to supply chain bottlenecks, many retailers are facing difficulties in meeting demand, thus increasing shelf prices. This has many customers frustrated with either empty shelves or a far higher price tag than they expected.
By extending the holiday shopping season, and indirectly downplaying Black Friday, retailers can expect to see less of a surge in purchases as customers will have a longer sales cycle to grab the items they need.
Con: Negative Feedback from Customers
Contrary to the dopamine rush mentioned in the first pro, it simply annoys some customers that their favorite childhood holidays now feel rushed. Many have voiced their displeasure with seeing Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas items sharing the shelves instead of allowing the memories from each to have their time.
While the combination may not be everyone’s preference, this can be solved through the merchandising of these items within zones. For example, retailers like Walmart have zoned their Halloween and Thanksgiving merchandise in the front of their stores while keeping Christmas in their Lawn and Garden section, effectively separating the two.
Not Everyone’s Cup of Tea
While all may not welcome Hallothanksmas, its existence aids retailers in equalling out their sales cycle following the difficulties faced a year ago. With retailers expecting to see increases of over 7-9% this year, it appears that this may be one of the most successful shopping seasons retail has seen in over 2 years. Find out more about the retail martech tool aiding stores in processing their valuable customer data here.