The Consumer

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The retailing industry has changed dramatically over the past 35 years-discounters, retail consolidation, online-but the portion of annual sales that comes during the holiday period-November, December-and the share of holiday sales that occurs during December have shown little movement.

Source: American Demographics analysis of Census Bureau data

December Rules

The catchall retail category of "GAFO"1 stores has seen holiday sales (November plus December) shrink as a percentage of those stores' annual sales. December's share of GAFO holiday sales has had a small drop.


Retailers pump 25% of ad spending into the final two months. December and November rank as the top two months for retail advertising; a back-to-school month-either August or September-usually ranks third.

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