Enjoy a 15% discount on all purchases until the 31st of March 2023 using the promo code EOFWEB22 at check out!

Retail Channels Our experts provide analysis on the retail industry, featuring insights from a local to global level on where and how consumers will shop across both traditional and emerging retail channels.

Why Big Box Retailers are Really Releasing Black Friday Deals Earlier Each Year

Matt Hudak Profile Picture
Matt Hudak Bio

Plenty of people wonder why retailers have been pushing holiday deals earlier each year, and no, it's not to ruin everyone's fall with pre-emptive Christmas concerns. In an age where everyone is too busy and all our actions are data points to learn from, retailers that release holiday sales information earlier than their competitors increase their exposure to customers and in doing so, gain more time to gather information on how to best prepare for the coming months.

To see if the early bird really does get the worm

It's no shock to anyone that shops for Christmas that Black Friday deals are coming out sooner and sooner. The reason is because it appears to be working. Toys 'R' Us released its "2015 Holiday Hot Toy List" last year on September 9th. That holiday season it saw a same-store sales lift of 2% compared to 2014. This was the first time in four years that the company generated any year-over-year holiday increase at all.  It's impossible to say whether or not this growth was at all due to the timing of the release, but when the cost of releasing this information is zero, it doesn't hurt to try.   It's clear that Walmart thinks that reeling customers in early is the way to go, because it's advertising its holiday layaway plan alongside the top toys, an option that will be available as early as September 2nd. At the very least this strategy appeals to the sort of shopper that just wants to get their Christmas shopping over with as soon as possible.

Because nobody knows what shoppers want better than the shoppers themselves

In 2015, Disney unveiled its product line for Star Wars at retailers on September 4th. Shopper reactions to this unveiling gave retailers early indicators of what to actually stock down the line. Generating demand for the "hottest" toys of the season is both an art and a science, and by releasing this information to the public sooner, retailers and their supplier partners get more data upon which to limit customer frustration from crucial out-of-stocks. This tactic worked out very well and Star Wars products were enormous sellers during the season.

Despite the impending arrival of the Rouge One spin-off, Star Wars is no longer the clear focus of this year's holiday merchandise. The strategy employed last year was clearly a helpful one, especially when you consider applying it to an even broader range of toy types and licensed merchandise. Without a barrel full of fish to shoot, gauging customer demand accurately will be even more important to retailers this year. Every year there are the usual suspects that shoppers are interested in—consumer electronics, video game consoles and toys. This year toys will likely take up more of the gift giving budget. Tablet sales are expected to decline by 12% for the year. Television sales will fall by 1%. Smartphones, the ever popular electronic device of choice, will only grow by 3%. And video game consoles, a direct competitor to toys, are expected to decline by 1.5 %. Traditional toys, the exception, are expected to see sales grow by 5% throughout 2015, making them a prime category to get right when it comes to merchandising this holiday season.

More time means more choices for the shoppers and fewer decisions for the retailers

If we all wanted the exact same things for Christmas, the holiday shopping season would be a lot simpler. Unfortunately, people are more complicated than that. Big data was supposed to solve this but the sample size doesn't matter when there isn't enough time to collect the information that's important. Retailers are solving this issue the old-fashioned way by extending timelines. Whether they like it or not, this gives shoppers more choice surrounding when to shop while helpfully narrowing the decisions needed to enact a successful merchandising strategy for retailers. Everyone wonders if there will ever be a backlash for starting the holiday season too early, but so far it's too important to not start now.

Interested in more insights? Subscribe to our content

Latest Insights

Loyalty and the New Normal

Nadejda Popova 16 March 2023

Four Ways Tech is Transforming Social Media

Rabia Yasmeen 14 March 2023

Euromonitor to speak at Shoptalk Europe 2023

Euromonitor International 13 March 2023

Mastering E-Commerce Growth: How to Win Online Amid Uncertainty

Euromonitor International 09 March 2023

New Retail Summit

Euromonitor International 07 March 2023

Shop Our Reports

New Concepts in Retail

Retailers are pushing the boundaries of innovation. Euromonitor International’s annual New Concepts in Retail report highlights how these efforts are reshaping…

View Report

Global Inflation Tracker: Q1 2023

This report examines inflation levels and drivers globally and in key countries. In 2023, global inflation is expected to ease from its peak in 2022, but…

View Report

Top Five Digital Consumer Trends in 2023

Now in its seventh edition, this report explores the top digital shopper trends that will redefine commerce the most in the year ahead. Some of the trends…

View Report
Passport Our premier global market research database with detailed data and analysis on industries, companies, economies and consumers. Track existing and future opportunities to support critical decision-making across all functions within your organisation Learn More