Shorter Holiday Selling Season Sends Retailers Scrambling
Time is precious during the holiday selling season for retailers and the fact they’ll have a little less of it between Thanksgiving and Christmas this year is not exactly spreading much holiday cheer.
Thanksgiving always falls on the last Thursday in November every year, but this year that comes at the end of the month, Nov. 28, creating the compressed shopping season. The 2019 holiday shopping season is actually the shortest one since 2013 and U.S. retailers are desperately trying to figure out creative ways to get into the minds of shoppers sooner.
Target Corp. claims the chain will spend approximately $50 million more on payroll during the fourth quarter than it did a year ago in an effort to have more workers on hand to help shoppers that will undoubtedly be hustling to get their shopping done in a shorter amount of time.
“This is going to be a very compressed holiday season,” Target’s CEO Brian Cornell was quoted as saying during last week’s holiday preview in New York. “We lose one full weekend during the holiday. Every single day counts between Black Friday and Christmas Eve.”
Walmart started offering holiday deals online a week before Halloween for items such as toys, TVs and mini trampolines. Steve Bratspie, who oversees Walmart’s merchandise in the U.S., along with many other retail executives, feels shoppers will likely not realize there are fewer shopping days this year until it’s too late. Thus, many retailers are taking the initiative and, in essence, doing some of the planning for consumers.
Salesforce recently released their latest insights and predictions for the 2019 online holiday shopping season. The company is forecasting sustained and solid U.S. digital commerce revenue growth this holiday season, despite the shorter shopping season, at 13 percent year over year (YOY), with total sales predicted to reach a record $136 billion in the U.S. and $768 billion globally.
“With six fewer days between Thanksgiving and Christmas, retailers will feel the pressure to create and fulfill demand before and after Cyber Week,” said Rob Garf, vice president of Strategy and Insights for Retail and Consumer Goods, Salesforce. “That said, our data indicates a very strong digital season is ahead. Retailers that provide more personalized experiences, click-and-collect offerings, and of course, unbeatable prices, will be the ones that succeed this holiday season.”
However, according to recent research from Adobe Analytics, lost revenue due to the shortened selling season is expected to be over $1 billion.