In an effort to cope with a holiday shopping season largely shaped by the pandemic, retailers are beginning their holiday sales earlier than ever – in some cases, as early as October. With so many purchases moving online, shipping delays are already a problem. An earlier start date to holiday shopping could spread out the spending and reduce pressure on shippers. Of course, here, too, the coronavirus casts a pall: retailers are trying to figure out how to keep shelves stocked for the holidays without knowing just how willing consumers will be to spend. A false step could lead to a pileup of unsold merchandise, or else a great many frustrated shoppers. Even the plan to begin holiday promotions early isn't free of risk.
By starting promotions early - in some cases before Halloween - retailers risk giving shoppers holiday fatigue. But analysts and investors say the idea could help draw shoppers back.