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Does the Holiday Shopping Creep Help or Hurt Consumerism?
By: Dwayne W. Waite Jr.
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Ah, yes; the holiday creep.

The minute Halloween is over, sales start and people start clamoring for Christmas music and holiday cheer. In Charlotte, there has been much noise about one of its major malls changing up its holiday decorations — replacing its big Christmas tree with a glacier display — and, needless to say, people got upset. After the outrage ensued, the mall executives quickly backtracked and restored the tree.

Indeed, it is not just consumers getting antsy. Brands are too.

As Turkey Day gets closer, brands are gearing up for one of the busiest times of the year. Toys“R”Us announced that it will open Thanksgiving Day at 5 p.m. and will stay open for 30 straight hours. Target announced that it will open at 6 p.m. on Thanksgiving Day. Target will also start Black Friday deals the second week of November.

As marketers and advertisers, we are the ones announcing this information to the consuming public. The question is, does this kind of holiday shopping creep — meaning sales start earlier in the holiday season — hurt or help consumerism?

We must first make the assumption that consumerism is a good thing; our economy relies on the exchange of goods and services for cash. 

In that case, if sales drive people to buy, then the shopping creep should help our economy and consumerism would reign supreme. But if the seasonal creep creates shopping fatigue, it could have the opposite effect from what brands want. People would shop early, but the expansion of the shopping season would cause people to buy less since the sales last for so long.

This extension could actually decrease the need to buy during the shopping season.

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About the Author
Dwayne W. Waite Jr. is partner and principal at JDW: The Charlotte Agency, a marketing and advertising shop in Charlotte, NC. He enjoys consumer behavior, economics, and football.
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