Christmas shopping: is it too soon?
Both Bunnings Warehouses on the North Shore have had Dasher and Dancer in between the gas cylinders and the lawn mowers since mid-September. An inflatable Santa counts the days till Christmas: 100, 99, 98 ....
In a poll on Neighbourly, 114 out of 138 respondents said it was too early for decorations and merchandise. Sandy Cook said the unspoken rule for decorations was to avoid them until at least November.
‘‘Already advent calendars at stores. It’s ridiculous. It should only be advertised in any way from November,’’ Cook wrote.
Linda Kimpton from Hauraki disagreed.
‘‘If a store has enough sales to justify putting Christmas merchandise out all-year-round then good on them,’’ Kimpton wrote.
‘‘There is a difference between a store selling (and simply displaying) items early, and actually celebrating early by putting up instore decorations.’’
Retail management expert Professor Jonathan Elms said the phenomenon of ‘‘Christmas Creep’’ meant this time of year was common and this time of year could be critical for retailers to build interest.
‘‘Where Halloween isn’t as celebrated, is too early for Christmas Creep appears to happen much earlier,’’ Elms said. ’’From a retailer’s point of view it can be make or break for sales. The majority of sales happen around the Christmas period.’’
But, he said, there had to be a balance between putting things up too early and too late.
‘‘The interesting thing is what are consumers reactions to it, and generally most consumers are a bit wary of the Christmas period starting psychologically early,’’ Elms said. ‘‘Particularly for older consumers, it seems like the year’s going far too quickly. For others Christmas is a period of family and nostalgia. Promoting it can be offputting.’’
The public could expect to see retailers adding ‘‘Christmas elements’’ throughout October.
The Christmas Heirloom Company sets up pop-up stores from late September. The Takapuna store opened on September 22. Shelley Bishop, from the head office said customers expect stores to be open from September.
‘‘With 14 stores to open nationwide, these need to begin early to ensure all our stores are set-up and open with plenty of time for Christmas shopping.’’
Business professor Jonathan Elms said Christmas elements would slowly reach the shelves.