It seems like holiday promotions have already started for many retailers and the promotion timetables are even earlier than last year. On a recent trip through my local big box retailer I noticed that Christmas decorations are already out, just one aisle down from the Halloween decorations.
In a recent retailer survey, 59 percent of the retailers plan to start their promotions in September or sooner. This seems to be influencing consumer behavior as 29 percent of consumers began their holiday shopping before Halloween last year and that number is expected to rise for the 2015 holiday season.
Does this require us to redefine the holiday season? According to the National Retail Federation (NRF), the online holiday season is defined as sales generated during the months of November and December. It's understandable that retailers want to spread out the holiday shopping seasons to increase sales and ease fulfillment issues, but it does beg the question of how early is too early? When does your marketing message have diminishing return? How will this changing consumer behavior affect the largest sales days such as Black Friday and Cyber Monday?
No matter how early you plan to start your holiday promotions, here at Akamai, we've already started working with many of our retail customers to ensure they have a fast, reliable and secure eCommerce sites in time for the holidays. You can read about my post on how to prepare for the holidays by stress testing your site here. I will update you on the latest retail traffic trends once the season is in full swing, but for now, I encourage you to check that your site is prepared for the rush. Remember, the time to prepare is here, so make sure you do what you can now to avoid troubleshooting on Black Friday.