Why Retailers Should Display Christmas Merchandise Before Halloween

Santa eating candy corn

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Updated for relevance September 25, 2023

Why do retailers put out Christmas merchandise before Halloween? Because customers buy it.

It's that time of the year ...

It's time for the leaves to change and drop...

Corn mazes to sprout up...

Pumpkin spice lattes...

and the perennial favorite of writers everywhere...Christmas creep.

"I can't believe they already have Christmas stuff out and it's not even Halloween."


Oh, excuse me, I suppose I should be in the camp that talks about "the good old days" from the movie A Christmas Story when shoppers would admire retailers' windows during the annual Christmas parade.

Or maybe I should extol Nordstrom again because they won't decorate until Thanksgiving Day.

Sorry, but there is one basic reason all retailers should do this. Wallets.

Most customers have a mental budget for the holidays: decorations, gifts for the family, teachers/coaches, and the office - the works.

The sooner those customers have spent money earmarked for gift-giving, the less they will spend at the traditional time to think about buying holiday gifts.

Deloitte forecasts that 2023 holiday retail sales:
  • Will increase between 3.5% and 4.6%. 
  • E-commerce sales will grow by 10.3% to 12.8%, year-over-year. 

And the National Retail Federation issued its annual forecast, anticipating retail sales to grow between 4 percent and 6 percent in 2023

While the economy may be cooling, you still have much room to get your share. But that means getting out there now

And that's the opportunity for all merchants to put out the Christmas merchandise now.

This isn't something new, but smaller retailers have resisted. I suggest they get on board, especially with potential coronavirus variants still causing various stages of havoc around the planet.

After all, catalogs with reams of holiday items have arrived at your mailbox since August. They know something...

No, I'm not saying those items must be in your display windows or prime selling space.

Just like you don’t start playing nonstop holiday music, you can put out more and more holiday items through November and into December. 

With Apple's new iPhone expected to take a larger amount out of moms' and dads' holiday budgets, what will be left over for any store will be smaller.

Smart merchants look at customer behavior when merchandising their stores and making their holiday preparations, not their own preferences of only seeing merchandise in stores after Thanksgiving.

Also read: 12 Secrets of a Successful Holiday Season for Retail Managers 

In Sum

Established merchants put out holiday merchandise because they understand having it on the floor beats having it in a distribution center or stockroom.

Whatever sells is a bonus.

When merchants have less staff or there's a shortage of seasonal workers, it can take longer to get the merchandise out onto the floor.

And let's face it, Halloween doesn't have the breadth of merchandise across all categories as Christmas does.

So, if you are a retailer, find a way to get your seasonal items out there before a competitor steals your customers and gets them to open their wallets now - leaving you with lower retail holiday sales.

If you're not a retailer and feel incensed at the realities of holiday retailing, please avoid commenting on how awful it is for you. This blog is for merchants, not customers.

To make the most of your holiday merchandise, I suggest you use SalesRX, my online retail sales training program, to increase conversions and profits. You can register for a free trial below.