Have you heard the term, Christmas in July? It sounds ridiculous, right? It's actually a thing! We've all seen those neighbors keep their lights up all year round, and lest we forget the Christmas stores selling ornaments all year, but Christmas in July is now a worldwide phenom. Truth is, it isn't all about shopping and discounts. But it leads to the bigger question, should we start thinking earlier about Holiday Shopping? Some of us already do. Learn what it is to become a Super Shopper and why shopping early can cause less stress and ease up the strain on your pocketbook.
My goal this year...to become a Super Shopper.
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Christmas in July Origins
I had to look it up to really understand where the concept of Christmas in July came from. Christmas in July was made popular by a Hollywood movie made in 1940 by the same name. In certain parts of the world, seasons are in reverse to the Northern Hemisphere, so in these areas, some celebrate a Midwinter Christmas. With events that are undertaken in order to have Christmas with a winter feel in common with the northern hemisphere.
The QVC channel was one of the first to hop on board in the retail world with discounts on decorations and early Christmas gift ideas. Back then, sales and deals would only happen on July 25. But as with all things retail, the idea of sales spread. As more retailers started to compete for a piece of the (Christmas in July) pie, then the sale days spread like wildfire. And now, Amazon has Prime day that falls in the middle of July (coincidence, I think not), and retailers have sales going from the beginning of July to mid-August just to compete.
Should we be thinking about Christmas this early?
In the Northern Hemisphere, a Christmas in July celebration, or even thinking of Christmas things, is deliberately ironic because it's the hottest month of the year, and your brain is in a completely opposite state of mind than thinking of Christmas celebrations. BUT...
If you are thinking this far ahead about Christmas, then it isn't too early to educate yourself on ways to make your holidays easier this year with some great advice from consumer insight experts on what to expect this holiday shopping season. If you really think about it, we have a few major holidays (meaning sales galore) left before Christmas, AND time to manage our wish lists AND prepare for getting the most out of the holiday shopping deals or perhaps start to think about getting our shopping done now, instead of waiting until the craziness strikes. With our insights, we will help you to spread out the spending over the course of months, hopefully saving you some major cash and stress in the process.
The key? Knowing what to expect and planning ahead. We've also made a super-duper prep list that you can download to help with the process; with great tips on where to go to buy gifts, how to plan for the holiday frenzy and help on how to figure out what to get who. You can find it here: Bestowe Holiday Gift Guide.
So, maybe starting to think of Christmas in July isn't such a bad idea.
Different Kinds of shoppers
What kind of shopper are you? Do you like to look throughout the year for items for holiday gifting, or do you wait until the week before Christmas to take care of everything? Let me walk you through the different kinds of shoppers I've seen out there. It's kind of fascinating.
The Evergreen Shopper
The Evergreen Shopper shops all year round for the perfect gifts. The advantages? Get the shopping done early and spread out the bulk of the money spending that would normally take place during the crunch time of Christmas. The National Retail Federation, last year, said that the United States increased spending during the months of November and December from $717.45 billion to $720.89 billion. The forecast compares with an average annual increase of 3.9 percent over the past five years. Think of all the stress that puts on your pocketbook. Or the stress it puts on your body trying to buy everything last minute?
When you purchase gifts extremely far in advance, you avoid spending an outrageous amount of money all at once, and you avoid the claustrophobic, shopper-filled stores. In turn, the holidays become much more enjoyable.
The Deal Seeker
This type of shopper sounds exactly as it is. They are always looking for a deal. They spend days researching whose sales will happen when what will be on sale and maybe even be the one that stakes a spot in front of their electronic store to be the first one to get something free 12 hours later. These shoppers are more apt to wait until the big holidays (like Cyber Monday and Black Friday) to find what they want. Statistics from Think with Google Consumer Insights show that last year, in 2018, said that 62% of shoppers were the Deal Seekers.
The Last-Minute Shopper
These types of shoppers, in my opinion, might be in some sort of denial, or maybe they may have just forgotten that aunt Susie was their secret Santa until they came into town and realized they were a part of the family gifting chain. Honestly, it stresses me out every time I still have loose ends coming into the last couple weeks before Christmas. Think of all the stress they are causing their body. Sure, there may be some advantages: they may get some really good deals. Disadvantage: they might not always get what they want because it's been picked over. I remember one year I waited until after Christmas to buy my family Christmas presents! But that was only because I knew exactly what I wanted and we were celebrating the week after the actual day. What types of people tend to be last-minute shoppers? Gen-Xers and Boomers. With Millenials and Parents tending to be the shoppers who by early or evergreen.
This year, I'm all about inner peace, so I'm setting out to be the Super Shopper.
If you watch statistics, there are more and more people looking for quality, local and unique gifts (hey that's me). Moreover, they are taking time to make their decisions based on research and quality. A Super Shopper is basically an evergreen shopper, but with the tech-savviness (using mobile for push notifications and Instagram to stay in the loop on sales, deals, and updates that are personalized to them) that helps them research and observe market trends and sales.
How to Be a Super Shopper
Super Shoppers are the new norm. They are those people who keep their finger on the pulse, their mobile close at all times, and are ready to purchase throughout the year. They are on the lookout for quality and not simply a sale. Last holiday, mobile searches related to "best gift" grew 70% year over year while mobile searches related to cheap or inexpensive gifts didn't.
But super shoppers don't only want the best; they want personalized, unique, cool gifts.
When to Shop
According to Emily Eberhard consumer Insights at Omnichannel, by the Black Friday-Cyber Monday period, shoppers have already completed 42% of their holiday shopping.
Do you know what this means? That no matter what we have been led to believe there are more Supershoppers and evergreen shoppers out there getting their deals early and thus avoiding the crowds. But more importantly, more and more people are taking advantage of early shopping period.
Are Black Friday and Cyber Monday as amazing as we are meant to believe?
Black Friday and Cyber Monday are nightmare holidays we wait for year-round to provide us with what we think are the best deals on things we think we need. But is it worth holding off on buying your Christmas presents to see what's on sale? My take: no, definitely not.
Usually, the best deals you'll find on Black Friday and Cyber Monday are not nearly as good as you think they are, and because of the massive price cuts, we end up buying things just because they're cheap and not because they're good. Here's what Black Friday and Cyber Monday are good for, appliances and electronics (but even then, you know they don't give us the best).
Director of Content Marketing for Dealnews Lindsay Sakraida told CNBC that you're actually more likely to find good deals on Thanksgiving rather than Black Friday — and there are even great deals to be found the Monday prior to Thanksgiving. But is that worth it?
Other Holiday Shopping Sales
Here's the deal, there are deals all year if you plan ahead. You can plan ahead and get great deals on Memorial Day or Labor Day and not waste your holiday/Thanksgiving weekend meant to enjoy family, standing in line or waiting by your computer for a sale that probably won't be that good anyway.
You have time to give a decent amount of consideration as to what your loved ones actually want and need. And because you're picking these items out early, it's less likely that you have to worry about other people purchasing them the same gift.
How to Prepare and Become a Super Shopper
1. Start Your List After Christmas: If you truly think about it. After Christmas sales are the perfect time to buy gifts. First, you've now figured out what people REALLY wanted for Christmas, because they didn't get it this Christmas. Take advantage of the Christmas sales to make purchases for next year.
2. Buy on Trips: I always use my trips or excursions as moments to be looking around and seeking gifts for others. My mother in law is such an art lover. Whenever we go to street fairs or out of town I'm always on the lookout for something unique she would like. She is die-hard for the story behind the gift and the artisan that made it.
3. Explore all holiday sales. Memorial Day, Labor Day and even Easter are great holidays to get deals. Start early. When the nutri-bulllet was hot a few years ago, and I just loved mine, I waited until Memorial day and just bought 5 of them for my closest family and friends. If they got one in the meantime, I knew there would be someone else I could gift it to.
4. Check out your Local Markets, Etsy, Pinterest, Local Stores. In my guide on top markets all over the US (download here), you can find some ideas on how to access local shopping. These markets are where I end up picking up unique items that I know people will like. And while you're supporting the local artists, you're also probably getting a deal. Most of the time, if you go to a fair the shops are offering up to 50% off some of their items. This is a great deal for something unique and thoughtful.
5. Sign up for newsletters and push notifications. Sure, we can get bombarded by email, but I find that if I choose a few key places to follow and I sign up, I can take advantage of personal promotions before a big sale.
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