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Business owners: The holiday shopping season is upon us

Last week my mom and I headed out of Austin for one of our favorite mother-daughter rituals: an afternoon of iced coffees and quirky Texas country store browsing. After being in the first store for approximately two minutes, Jane (as I lovingly call her) picked up three items, looked at me and said, “it’s never too early to start Christmas shopping.” She followed up with a sassy smirk, and then went back to her browsing.

August is by no means an out-of-ordinary time to start shopping for the holidays, but the real truth is that this woman actually started shopping for Christmas 2014 in January of 1996. She’s a serial holiday planner, and in all of the ways I feel “ahead of the game” in marketing, branding, and business, this woman is the kind of consumer who is always reminding me that I need to pick up the pace.

So business owners, I say with great seriousness, “the holiday shopping season is upon us.” While the Jane Belyea’s of the holiday shopping world have been planning this year’s gift giving for decades, FEAR NOT. Roughly 30% of holiday shoppers are just starting to think about holiday shopping this month. The meat of the holiday shopping season is approximately 21 days, the time between Black Friday and exactly two weeks before Christmas, when most people stop ordering online.  As under-prepared as most store owners feel, there is still enough time to get your act together. But you need to start now. The website needs to be up (or cleaned up), the holiday promotions hung with care, and…well, you get the picture.

Here are some statistics you need to know about the 2014 holiday shopping season:

  • From this moment, there are 81 days until Black Friday, 82 days until Small Business Saturday, 84 days until Cyber Monday, and approximately 96 days until online shoppers will stop ordering their holiday gifts completely.
  • In 2013, consumers spent an average of $132.71 in November and $122.46 in December. Forrester research projects a compound annual growth rate of nearly 10% through 2018 bringing those numbers up even more.

If each one of your prospective customers is projected to spend roughly $150 per month in November and December, than can you really afford to not have your online store up and running in time for the holidays?

I know you’ll make the right decision. (WINK)


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