Retailer expectations about the start of the holiday spending season appear to have shifted earlier. About half of the retailers surveyed by the National Retail Federation said they anticipated that consumers have already started their holiday spending in October, while 62% of retailers said they expected to have a majority of their merchandise in stock. This appears to be somewhat earlier than in the past, and 52% of survey participants noted that they had started their advertising and promotions.
Retailers’ holiday timeline and expectations
The pulling forward of Amazon Prime days to mid-October may have something to do with the changing expectations around spending, inventories and advertising ahead of the holiday season. Another barometer is Halloween spending. Given that the pandemic will likely constrain social interaction around Halloween, there is a likely parallel between that change in behavior and the almost certain pullback in 2020 experiential holiday spending linked to the pandemic. Should Halloween spending look weak, that would not bode well for the traditional holiday spending season.
For more information on how the coronavirus is affecting midsize businesses, please visit the RSM Coronavirus Resource Center.