It’s Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas – In October

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas…even though we’re still a month away from Halloween.

Walk through some larger retail stores in the next few days and there’s a good chance you’ll see holiday ornaments and a few shelves filled with decorations that you wouldn’t normally display in and around your own home until at least late November or early December. It’s become the norm in recent years, and although many shoppers roll their eyes at the sight of Christmas lights a few aisles away from Halloween costumes, when it comes to marketing for the holidays, waiting until the actual holiday season may be too late.

What most consumers don’t realize is that many marketers actually begin preparing holiday campaigns much earlier thant the autumn months. In fact, while most people are planning summer barbecues and beach trips, the professionals behind the scenes are already making decisions about which products and services to feature in holiday ad campaigns. For marketers, the push begins early and the competition can be intense as manufacturers clamor to secure their spots in gift guides and on store shelves.

According to an article in Bulldog Reporter, a recent survey by Experian Marketing Services shows that “the majority of marketers began planning their holiday campaigns in the summer months. The month of June earned the title as the top holiday planning month as 18 percent of the marketers surveyed stated they would start then. At Child’s Play, marketing communications are well underway by that month to meet the holiday deadlines of many national publications. Overall, 69 percent of the marketers stated they started planning holiday campaigns by August.” In addition, the article points out that about 49 percent of the first holiday campaigns are actually launched before Halloween, while the rest begin to take shape in the first 15 days of November.

Still not buying into the idea of deciding on Christmas stockings while you’re wearing shorts and flip-flops in 80-degree weather? That’s understandable. But before you allow the thought of #ChristmasInOctober to get under your skin, consider these facts: according to the Washington, D.C.-based National Retail Federation, about 40 percent of shoppers actually begin their holiday shopping before Halloween. The NRF has indicated that many consumers will actually purchase ornaments and Halloween candy at the same time.

When you consider those numbers, it’s not too difficult to understand why retailers will begin offering early holiday promotions such as discounts and free shipping to online customers. It makes sense from a marketing standpoint. It’s never too early to attract the attention of the early-bird shoppers who may begin checking off their holiday lists right after Labor Day.