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The Reasons for This Earlier Holiday Season

The Reasons for This Earlier Holiday Season

By Angie Ash, EVP I’m the kind of gal who likes to enjoy seasons and holidays as they come. You know, take a nice hike in a park to breathe in that fresh fall air, hear the crunchy leaves under my boots, and sip some hot cider, possibly with a little something *extra* in it. So when Starbucks starts in on their pumpkin spice latte when the fireworks have barely been set off to celebrate the 4th of July, I get a little cranky. This year, with stores already pushing holiday gifts, I wonder if people will even slow down to enjoy some turkey come Thanksgiving or just jump right to the gingerbread. Much as I despise seeing Christmas advertisements and displays when I’m still just trying to follow the World Series, it turns out there is a method to this year’s holiday shopping madness. Here’s what you should know as a retail jeweler, and some tips.
  1. 'Holiday creep' is a thing, and if you’re not familiar, it’s when retail stores start setting up for Christmas. Every year it seems to start earlier and earlier. This year, Amazon pushed new Prime day sales on October 11 and 12 and Walmart and Target began a full week earlier. According to Charles Lindsey, an associate professor of marketing at the University of Buffalo, shoppers respond to emotional and behavioral cues from stores, and starting holiday themes early can tee consumers up to start buying gifts. Retail jewelers can take a cue from this insight by getting their stores decorated for the holidays soon after Halloween this year, as well as getting a playlist or two ready. If you’re a retail jeweler that doesn’t really do much in the way of festive decorating, this may be the year to rethink it. “Christmas music and aesthetics and scenery affects their purchase behavior. It might give consumers an opportunity to indulge a little bit more and spend,” Lindsey says in a CNN article.
  2. Higher prices are factoring into purchasing decisions this year. While it’s true that there are always the last minute holiday shoppers, (my husband included), many others, like me, start researching and planning in mid-October. Because a fine jewelry purchase is a higher ticket item, retail jewelers should start promoting holiday purchases in early to mid November at the latest this year. This allows the consumer time to consider and purchase jewelry as a gift before they’re completely inundated with other ideas…and decide to spend their larger dollars elsewhere.
  3. Last year, the overall holiday shopping message was to buy early due to low inventory and shipping delays. That is still somewhat of an issue this year. However, many of the major retailers this year misjudged and brought in too much inventory, thus ushering in a longer holiday shopping season and bigger discounts. However, consumers no longer believe “it’s the biggest sale of the season” every two weeks. They know they can count on some of the same “deals” to still be available up to those final days before Christmas. Retail jewelers can get a leg up by providing special pricing or a rarely seen discount as a holiday gift to preferred customers. And an email reminder or two that your store gift cards are always appreciated.
  4. Inflation and its effects on customer spending are real. 58% of consumers are projected to cut back on non-food spending during the holidays, according to an article by Forbes. That's a big number! And it’s yet another reason holiday shopping started even earlier. With the exception of your top-tier customers, most are likely planning to spread their holiday spending out over several months. That doesn’t mean you, as a retail jeweler, can’t remain optimistic about your holiday sales. You should! It does, however, mean you need to be realistic in your expectations. The client who used to spend $5,000 every year may want to spend $2,500 instead. You also need to be prepared to provide top-notch customer service at every touchpoint. Remember, most jewelry purchases are made in the store and not online. Your human touch, smile, and listening skills, can provide what no online experience can.
Want to be prepared for whatever economic twist and turn 2023 brings? Contact today.
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