As they eagerly put up their Christmas decorations and cue up their stock of Christmas music, it doesn’t appear to matter to them that the big day is still a solid six weeks away. But this year's shopping behavior survey from the National Retail Federation shows that more than 38 % of shoppers actually begin shopping for Holiday gifts before Halloween
EVERYONE SING: ".... Are you all ready, are you ready, get set, are you ready?"
Target began airing it's first Christmas commercial of the season on October 14, with Bullseye, the company's canine mascot, running down the street with a shopping bag full of presents
One YouTube commenter griped: "Hey Target....can I at least finish trick or treating before I get bombarded with Christmas?"
" Do You Hear What I Hear...?"
Entercom's Star 102.5 made the flip to all Holiday Music as of midnight Nov. 9, playing continuous holiday music through Christmas Day. But they aren't the earliest in the nation to do so.
KYXE-FM in Yakima Wash. started making the season bright with Christmas music on Oct. 10. Syracuse's Sunny 102 started doing so- as it has for several years- on Nov. 1, and a station in Grand Rapids Michigan followed suit ( Red suit, white fur trim) on Nov. 8.
While one British online survey found that 95% of consumers prefer shopping with in-store music, nearly 50% said November is too soon to start playing Christmas music in shops.
"Some of those people think we put a rush on it, or they don't want to think about it yet, or it's just not a good time in their lives," says Star 102 Operations Manager Sue O'Neil. "They may be having problems with money, and (the music) may be another reminder of a tough time, and we understand that."
"(But) Week after week, as early as September people ask when we are going to play the music, so we do," O'Neil says
In Canada, Shoppers Drug Mart started playing holiday music in stores on Nov 3.
... But in face of too many Bah-Humbugs... they pulled it the next day...with the following post on Facebook:
" Hi everyone, due to recent complaints around the Christmas music being played in stores we want to advise you that as of midnight EST tonight, all Christmas music will be suspended until further notice. We do take customer feedback to heart, and it does lead to change. Thank you for your patience around this and have a fabulous Friday."
A spokesperson told the Toronto Star that they usually launch directly into Christmas season after Halloween, but they found that many customers felt it should be delayed a couple weeks.
The decision has been fiercely debated online. Nearly 6,000 comments were posted to the company's Facebook page over the weekend, evenly split between Jingle Bell lovers and loathers.
The world's largest retailer is throwing its doors open at 8 p.m. on Thanksgiving Day, two hours earlier than a year ago.
Wal-Mart is also guaranteeing shoppers that it will have three of the most popular items it sells if they line up inside the store during a one-hour event that day.
Consumers hoping for early Christmas sales are likely to be disappointed this year.
While early Christmas discounting for the sake of increasing traffic has been a popular approach in recent years, credit insurance company Atradius predicts retailers will adopt a different Christmas strategy in 2012.
“The retail landscape has changed dramatically in the past 18 months and sales strategy along with it," said Atradius’ senior retail risk underwriter Owen Basset in a prepared statement.
Consumers are unlikely to experience such prolific Christmas discounting as they’ve enjoyed in recent years, " Bassett says
Those who are lined up inside the store between 10 p.m and 11 p.m. on Thanksgiving will be able to purchase the following items: an Apple iPad 2 with Wi-Fi for $399 plus a $74 Wal-Mart gift card; an Emerson 32-inch LCD TV for $148, down from the original $228; and an LG Blu-ray Disc player for $38, about half off the original price.
For those who are inside the store during that one-hour window on Thanksgiving and find the product sold out, Wal-Mart will offer a guarantee card for the item. The item must be paid for by midnight and registered online. The product will then be shipped to the store where it was purchased for the customer to pick up before Dec. 25.
"We know it's frustrating for customers to shop on Black Friday and not get the items they want," said Duncan MacNaughton, chief merchandising and marketing officer at Wal-Mart's U.S. division.
To satisfy customers' demands for coveted items, Wal-Mart "bought very deep" on products that matter to its customers, he said.
MacNaughton declined to offer details but he told reporters Wednesday the discounter is offering sharper discounts and broader, deeper assortments for the kickoff and the rest of the season compared to years past. For example, Wal-Mart doubled the number of tablet computers it's bringing in for the winter holidays.
The stepped-up strategy comes as Wal-Mart, based in Bentonville, Ark., is counting on keeping its momentum going at its U.S. business, which started roaring back late last year after struggling during a more than two-year slump. It's critical for the holiday shopping season, which accounts for as much as 40 percent of a retailer's annual sales.
Wal-Mart's strategy raises the competitive stakes for the start of the holiday season. American retailers have increasingly expanded their hours on Black Friday to get ahead of the competition, but now the kickoff is creeping earlier into Thanksgiving Day.Starting with the 8 p.m. sale on Thanksgiving, Wal-Mart will have two more rounds of sales that will also include a consumer electronics sale two hours later and a sale at 5 a.m. on Friday.