DOE$ IT $TART IN JULY, AUG, SEPT, OCT, NOV, DEC?
There always seems to be an event that kicks off thoughts of holiday shopping. It may be an early snow fall or the reading of a Xmas Classic or a church sermon or a Xmas catalog or a holiday website or a flick that features a holiday theme or a toy maker that is issuing a new doll or a toy truck or a retailer who has a Xmas savings club or a layaway plan or perhaps the mere onset of Thxgvng or a day or 2 or 3 or 4 later when Blk Fri and/or Cyber Mon occur, etc. This year one of the loudest and earliest Jingle Bells came “from a galaxy far, far away.” Indeed, Star Wars toys have arrived to make thinking about anything else a challenge. It’s ONLY mid-Sept and already children± have that “far far away” look as they do their own online research regarding some of those Star Wars items, many of which are very expensive. Yes, there already is a constant drumbeat and a buzz as The Force Awakens one wk b-4 Xmas Day awakens. (For the interested, Blk Fri Wknd 2014 did $50.9 B which was 12% less than the $57.4 B of 2013 [Biz Insider/NRF]. Cyber Mon hit $2.04 B up 17% from 2013. The full 5 day shopping period [THXGVNG through Cyber Mon] rose 24%. WOW!)
Well, guess what? Walmart got the season started with its Xmas layaway announcement on Aug 28th. (By the way this announcement contemporaneously±collided with a Kmart Xmas ad. But, wait a minute, didn’t Amazon launch its new ‘Prime Day’ promo (meant for Xmas) in July? Of course, Xmas in July!). Wal-Mart’s earlier than ever “layaway” noise was followed by its Force Fri (Sept 4th) which reminded us of how ridiculous any kind of a summer (with 80° weather) holiday starter really is. With 3 wks± left of summer here came the biggest promo campaign that will undoubtedly also be the most popular product of the season! We already know of some serious minded resellers who bought a few SW items and have made an early “killing” on eBay! WOW! We may even argue that we’re LATE this yr in producing our 1st Scope of the holiday season.
OK, enough of the fun stuff, let’s be a little content savvy here by using all available info to predict the size and estimated growth of the 2015 holidays. Since holiday data this time of year (Sept) is somewhat sparse, we shall use the estimations made by eMarketer for the holidays of 2015 of $877 B. These predictions were made in March of 2015. They were just revised upward a few days ago to $886 B (with a growth of 4.2% over ’14). As Aug’s retail showed a reasonable increase over July and our economy is slowly growing, such revision makes sense. The NRF holiday survey will be available in the next 7-17 days. It will likely show a similar increase from 3%± to 5%± over 2014 (which would yield $640 B – $650 B). Whether $650 B or $890 B, the holidays of 2015 should be REWARDING for retailers. There are reasons why this will likely happen beyond our s-l-o-w-l-y growing economy. For example, the Fed did NOT raise interest rates, the aforementioned Star Wars new products, Apple’s iPhones± and then there is the “buy over the net and pick up the item at the store” program initiated by many retailers last holiday season. All of the aforementioned are meant to titillate even the most casual holiday shopper. (As ecommerce has become more integrated into the shopping behavior of both customers and retailers, we find a greater willingness of the latter to advertise “store pickup” services [of Internet orders] and more customers requesting such a pickup service.)
Whether the estimator is eMarketer, the NRF or Deloitte, whether the estimate is $650 B or $900 B and depending on what survey tool used, its respondents, the period of time used to estimate the holiday season (2 or 3 mos or something b/t) and whether the Fed raises interest rates or not b-4 Xmas, the holidays of 2015 have a chance to modestly surpa$$ expectation$. (JUST 4 THE RECORD, a $650 B spend is about the size of the 32nd biggest economy in the world [Columbia] of the 225 GDPs that the CIA World Factbook lists [Top 14%]. On the other hand, $900 B is about the GDP of Argentina, the 27th biggest economy in the world [Top 12% of all economies]).
From Xmas in July in ball parks, on t-shirts and at Amazon to K-Mart’s & Wal-Mart’s very early promos continuing deep into Sept, nobody but nobody is hollering about a problem this year, YET. Bring on those June holiday jelly beans, BRING ‘EM ON! (We choose to say nothing about the Xmas mums in May.)
As for ecommerce itself, Monestate reports that the US ecommerce sites have been increasing quarter after quarter and yr over yr. Monestate data showed that shoppers who ecommerced spent about $108¾ per order AFTER CLICKING FROM VARIOUS SOCIAL MEDIA (Twitter, Facebook and Instagram). This relationship b/t social media and online purchasing is undeniable and an invaluable linkage for the holidays. If there ever was “Pull-Push Marketing” this is it. As for ecommerce itself, it is expected to increase by well over 10% to $79 B according to emarketer. If the relationship b/t social media & ecommerce were hockey game stats, ecomm would get the GOAL and social media would get the ASSIST!
ABOUT EARLY BIRD$, WORM$, & OTHER XMA$ CREEP-ING$
A recent poll (creditcards.com) said that 32M Americans had already started their holiday shopping over Labor Day Wknd b-4 most kids had even started school. 15% of Americans planned to start shopping earlier this year. As for those prized Millennials, almost ¼ of them said they were going to shop earlier this year. On the other hand 4.6M (2%) of Xmas buyers said they were fini! 7% of those 65 & older also said they were fini. Almost 1/5 of those who incomed $75,000 or more a yr expected to fini b4 12/1/15. Our humble view is that Xmas shopping continues to be up the WAZOO as we claim to start earlier & to finish earlier WANNABET!
According to USA2Day about $3 B in Star Wars stuff will be cash registered this yr. (JUST 4 THE RECORD, that’s about how many ad$$ that will be spent on the prez campaign of 2016) We prefer the galaxy of the former vs the latter. Perhaps, we can merge the galaxies with Darth Donald vs The Queen of Mean?
While the % of those who have finished Xmas Shopping is impressive, so is the 1/3 of Americans who have started it (BizWireInfo)! Early estimates are that Xmas Shoppers will spend over $1000 on per shopper. (Almost ½ of US parents said they will spend more in 2015 than 2014.) More than ½ of US/UK/Canada Xmasers will spend about $300 M ontech or mobile devices this holiday season. Relatedly, about ¼ of holidayers will use smart phones to shop. Yes, mobile tech is increasingly used to buy mobile tech. WELCOME TO 2015!
Given the coming holiday season, Wal-Mart’s app is the most popular of ALL retailers (and #3 behind ecommerce hvywts Amazon & ebay, comScore/qz.com). Using 22 M users and more than a 400% growth rate over 2014, it will surpass ebay, soon. With the apps’ price comparison tool, Wal-Mart customers will get an eGift card for the diff b/t a competitor’s price and Wal-Mart. (What an invaluable app/helper for the holiday season!)
|WHAT ABOUT $MALL BIZ $AT?
While Small Biz Sat has NOT been part of our discussion, it should be. It occurs b/t Blk Fri & Cyber Mon. It is Nov 28th. For small biz owners to be successful during the 2015 holidays & Small Biz Saturday (SBS) they (1) MUST know their customers, stay in contact with them and smartly and continuously promote to them during the Holiday Season. (2) MUST make sure their online, in store and social media programs are well integrated. (3) They MUST have a web design that is response ready for the increasing tide of mobile sales. (4) And, they MUST establish a favorable return policy for Post Xmas Sales since that will be their 2nd busiest selling time of the yr. (See Valpak.com for more info) According to Forbes, 88 M participated in SBS last yr (an increase of 14.9% over 2013. $14.3 B was spent in small bizes and restaurants (an increase of 2.1%)!
Our last early holiday hoopla honors Santa Janet. Low interest rates have helped the auto industry grow to a remarkable 17M± rolling mo avg for yearly auto sales this year. Will the Fed’s forbearance continue to Xmas Goose auto sales? Will American consumers view this slowness to act by the Fed in raising interest rates as one more opportunity to purchase holiday gifts early and perhaps “load up” now knowing darn well that they also will be buying last minute gifts as well? STAY TUNED! STAY TUNED!! STAY TUNED!!!
|OTHER EARLY XMA$ DATE$, EVENT$ & GIFT$