Holiday Advertising: How soon is too soon?

On January 16th I was watching television and there was a commercial for Easter eggs. As a business owner I am all for making customers aware of the products you have to offer through effective marketing. As a consumer and a critical thinker, however, I have to ask the question how soon is too soon?

Christmas Shopping Season: Then and Now

Let us take a look at the biggest shopping season in the Western world: Christmas. Every year it seems that the “shopping season” for Christmas extends itself more and more. Researching this I have discovered that the advertising season for this particular holiday has increased by a solid four weeks since the 1990’s. In Canada, as soon as November 1st comes along it is game time to heavily advertise for the Christmas shopping season. I remember the time in which no one bothered with Christmas shopping or advertising until December 1st—it wasn’t all that long ago. Those were the days, the days in which you didn't walk into a retail store or turn on the radio in November and have to listen to countless “new and improved” Christmas songs. I have to speculate that, while a good holiday for confectioneries and costume makers, Halloween impedes extending heavy Christmas advertising in the Great White North. Darn you Halloween. Why can’t you be on September 31st instead? Ah well, at least in Canada, unlike our unfortunate neighbours to the south, the United States, we don’t have Thanksgiving in the middle of November.

Is Easter the Newest Consumer Holiday?

Let us now look to Easter. This is a religious holiday that we retailers are desperately trying to convert into a consumer holiday. Now I am not that old, but back in the day (2001) I had never heard of Easter presents. Easter egg hunts were popular in school, but no one decorated their homes or bought clothes in the name of Easter. In these modern times things have changed. It was estimated that in 2011 consumer spending for Easter among 18-34 year olds in the United States would increase by 17.19%*. Easter doesn’t start until April 8th this year (2012), yet I still see a push for confectionery items and Easter apparel sales in January. Yes, January. Might I add that as I type the temperature is -30°C.

Other Potential Consumer Holidays

In these uncertain economic times it seems retailers are eager to entice consumers to shop as much as possible and as long as possible hence inviting consumers to shop for holidays 1.5 to 3 months in advance. I have reason to believe that if retailers had their way, every holiday would be a consumer holiday: Canada Day, Heritage Day, Ash Wednesday, Victoria Day. As consumers and retailers we have to ask ourselves how soon is too soon to be advertising for the holidays?

*I used the statistics from and did some rudimentary calculations to determine this number. -Merekɔ


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