Christmas in July Gains Retail Traction

Christmas in July Gains Retail Traction

Stevens, PA—Searching for ways to boost summer sales? According to a recent Unity Marketing report, more retailers—from Sears to Target to QVC—are jumping onto the “Christmas in July” concept as a way to hedge against future uncertainty.

“Encouraging shoppers to start holiday gift shopping early is going to be especially important this year,” says Pam Danziger, president of Unity Marketing and author of the new report, although she warns a “buy one stash one” promotion is much more effective than Christmas trees on Memorial Day, which are sure to put off consumers.

“The retail environment is really dicey this year with shoppers continuing to express uncertainty about spending. Retailers can’t be over-confident: if affluent consumers are feeling uncertain about the future, then we can be sure that middle-income shoppers are equally or more unsure. For these shoppers, it may be more palatable to start nibbling at their holiday gift shopping early rather than waiting for closer to the holidays, when financial conditions may be worse.

Unity Marketing surveyed 1,349 affluent consumers in July 2010 and found they are “holding their own spending steady,” with feelings about future financial health of the country declining. Nearly half of all affluent consumers (46%) expect their spending to remain constant over the next 12 months, with just 30% expecting an increase. These numbers have remained flat for two quarters, indicating that affluent consumers are not growing more confident.

“A large majority have started their Christmas shopping long before the traditional shopping season. We advise marketers to start their promotion of Christmas gifts early—some 22% of shoppers work on their Christmas shopping throughout the year,” Danziger says.

“This doesn’t mean that Christmas trees should show up in stores on Memorial Day; that is off-putting to many and may well drive prospective shoppers from the store. However, fun promotions like ‘Christmas in July’ and ‘Buy One, Stash One’ events will get consumers thinking about Christmas early and shopping all year long,” Danziger concludes.

For more information on Unity Marketing’s 2010 Gifting Report, click here.

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