uNDER tHE mIKE- rOSCOPE
Marketing & Advertising's Bends, Trends & Ends
Volume 22, Issue 63
THE XMA$ CREEP!
Here's the song; it's 45 days b-4 H-ween, 67 days b-4 Thxgvng, 68 days b-4 Black Friday, 82 days b-4 St. Nicholas Day and it's, even, 141 days b-4 the SB. More importantly for us, though, its 100 shopping days b-4 Xmas!! We always thought that THE "Xmas Creep" was a noun describing the curmudgeon dressed in red with a reindeer driven sled and sometimes he has even been called a "puckish elf" aka Santa Claus (LE Schmidt, Consumer Rites, 1995).
Anyway, THE "Xmas Creep" aside, how about the idea of creep being a verb that embraces the idea of early holiday activity almost stealthily (at some times) growing and seeping into or on various store shelves, displays or perhaps just occupying any space (whether shelf, mailbox, online, email, as part of a news story, etc.) with calm and quiet b-4 the BOMBA$T of Black Friday (Nov 23rd). The reason we make such a big deal about Xmas retail (including motor vehicle and parts dealers & food service sales) is b/c 4th Q retail may be 26%/27% to 30% of ALL retail. (In 2011 it was 26.6%, see Estimates of Monthly Retail and Food Services, US Dept of Commerce.)
So when does Xmas merchandising and marketing really start? Some cynics would advocate on behalf of Dec 26th when post Xmas $ale$ start; others would claim that, perhaps, it begins with the January white/linen sales; some would lobby that it is when the New York Toy Show (Feb 10-13, 2013) is unveiled; and then how about all those proponents of "Xmas in July"?
No matter when it is, the early bird still appears to get the worm even though, increasingly, it appears these days that it is b/t Independence & Labor Day when we really begin our Xmas squirm. So, here are some creeping (as opposed to creepy) bullet points, to capture various creepings. We collected a few pcs of info about Xmas retailing, likely Xmas items, layaway plans, Xmas predictions, etc. for this early holiday potpourri of published products, promos, prices, etc.
• In greater DC, Xmas holiday ribbons have started to appear at Sam's Club & Cosco (consumerist).
• According to ShopperTrak Nov & Dec 2012 retail revenues will increase 3.3% (below last year's pace of 3.7%, abcnews).
• Store traffic should be +2.8% over last year's 2.2% decline (abcnews).
• Best Buy (R they still in biz?) has taken pre orders for the new Kindle Fire tablets recently launched by Amazon. They range from $160 to $600 (chitribune).
• Toys R Us has established a "Hot Reservations" service regarding any of the top 50 holiday items (on a yet to be announced list) with a 20% down payment through H-Ween. An email notice will, then, be sent to them telling them that their items are ready to be "picked up" by Dec 16. Additionally, TRU believes that its sales of private label toys (which increased by 2% last year) will eventually double or triple. As far as its online and "in line" bizes, TRU is aggressively trying to grow its ecommerce biz (that grew 29% last year) and it will open 200 TEMP stores in the US for the holidays of 2012. WOW!
• ShopperTrak said that b/c of the "calendar shifts" last year the Sat b-4 Xmas (Dec 24th) was NOT one of the busiest shopping days of the year. That honor fell to Sat, Dec 17th as it became the 3rd busiest shopping day of the 2011 Xmas Season. This yr, also, gives shoppers 2 more official shopping days than in 2011, for a total of 32 days, the greatest # possible.
• The looming "fiscal cliff" may make holiday shoppers not jump as far into debt as they may have in previous holiday seasons (Ad Age).
• A "Xmas Creep" abatement usually occurs during election week in the US with their being a decline in pre-season holiday shopping (ShopperTrak) during that time. Perhaps, retailers can grow retail at his time with creative promos and special incentives. How about something like "special election week gift selections" or "presidential promo prized presents" or perhaps states could give election week sales tax holidays?
• From 1 in 3 to 1 in 4 shoppers have actually done some Xmas in July purchasing (abcnews).
• Toys R Us and WalMart are waving upfront service fees for all layaway orders till Oct 31st, then, it will be $5 (blog.al.com & myfox8.com).
• Microsoft & Nokia are trying to generate current buzz and last quarter sales for a new Windows operating system available in Oct (enidnews.com).
• Apple's new iPhone 5 has hit the market place with such anticipation and bravado that even Adam (of Adam & Eve fame) would want a bite fully believing in the "knowledge tree", again, as well as in the "Try it, you'll like it" (1971 Alka –Seltzer comm'l) philosophy. At prices of $200 (16 GB), $300 (32 GB) and $400 (64 GB), it has been estimated by JP Morgan (in Forbes) that the iPhone 5 will increase the US GDP by $3.2 B in the 4th Q or a $12.8 B annual rate, respectively, during the 4th Q. UNBELIEVABLE! AMAZING!! R U KIDDING US!!! WOW-KAPOW-BOW-WOW!!!!
• Lastly, we include the observational fact that "Xmas gift catalogs" and messages are starting to arrive in our email and snail mail boxes.
"IT'$ BEGINNING TO LOOK
A LOT LIKE XMA$!"
- by Meredith Wilson, 1951
Please appropriately attribute. © THX to Tejovathi Inamanamelluri, Yen Ju Lee & Nishita Patel for all your help & THX to our readers for your minds & your time.