The leaves have yet to turn and we are barely a full day into the fall season, but retailers have already turned on the holiday marketing spigot. On Thursday, both Target and Walmart made sweeping holiday announcements, touting their low-priced merchandise and convenient shopping options for cost-conscious customers.
Target’s “Deal Days,” the Minneapolis-based retailer’s three days of discounts and promotions, begin Oct. 6, four days earlier than last year. Similarly, Walmart noted that more than half of its customers “will start their holiday shopping research in October and Walmart is prepared to meet their needs.”
The Christmas creep is certainly earlier than ever, and it’s arriving ahead of a holiday season that retail experts expect to be like no other. Brands are promoting their products against a backdrop of rising prices and consumer fears of a recession. Many stores avoided discounting last year because of supply chain issues; now, excess inventory this year could lead to deeper sales. In addition, plenty of consumers are still making up for lost time due to the pandemic and spending on travel and dining experiences—potentially at the expense of apparel and other items.
“This year you’ll see deeper discounts,” said Katie Thomas, lead at the Kearney Consumer Institute, the think tank at consulting firm Kearney. “Last year, companies reeled it in—because of supply chain issues, they could get away with discounting less.”