Even Fido Gets Jammies This Christmas as Retailers Cash in on Trend

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Pjs are a family affair at Target.
Pjs are a family affair at Target. Credit: Target

This year, you can outfit your entire family in pajamas -- down to dogs and dolls. As retailers struggle for dollars during the crucial holiday selling season, they're doubling down on fashion trends like holiday jammies, which have been gaining traction in recent years as a hot gifting item. Matching pajamas for men, women, kids, pets and dolls were all on display at merchandise previews for marketers including Kohl's and Target this year.

"People are already buying them and getting ready for holiday photos," said Michelle Gass, chief merchandising and customer officer and CEO-elect at Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin-based Kohl's, at a media event earlier this month. Unlike other products that are gender and age specific, family pajamas, usually discounted for the gifting season and offered in a variety of prints that range across all holidays, are more marketable.

Macy's, which has seen sales declines in recent years and recently debuted a new loyalty program designed to build beyond existing relationships with consumers, has 15 versions of family pajamas available on its website. Most are exclusives for the beleaguered department store chain.

Last year, Target saw double digit-growth in the category compared to the year earlier, according to Mark Tritton, executive VP and chief merchandising officer, speaking at a media event in New York last month. At the event, the family-friendly products were on display, in an expanded version for dogs and dolls, along with other Christmas offerings like ornaments and exclusive toys. This year, Target is selling a green-plaid collection of pajamas from its new Hearth & Hand With Magnolia in-house home line from Chip and Joanna Gaines, along with 21 other styles, on its website. The products are another example of Target's focus on its private-label brands versus external labels as a way to differentiate from the competition and attract typically brand-agnostic millennial shoppers.

The family pj phenomenon has been helping marketers for a while. Last year, JPMorgan Chase ran a digital campaign with the Holderness family, best-known for its viral "Christmas Jammies" holiday e-card in 2013 that went viral.

However, unfortunately for retailers, the trend might have already peaked. According to Criteo, which tracks product searches for retailers including Macy's, Wayfair and Costco, "family pajamas" ranked 937th out of 1,000 searched items in mid-November. But somebody's in luck: "women's pajamas" ranked 59th, exceeding all other sleepwear queries.

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