Amazon is debuting its second major shopping event of the year called Prime Early Access Sale. Scheduled to run Oct. 11 to 12, the Prime-member exclusive occasion is expected to be similar to its annual Prime Day held in July and is being marketed by Amazon as a way to “kick off the holiday season,” Jamil Ghani, vice president of Amazon Prime, said in the announcement.
Historically, many shoppers have used Black Friday in November to find good gifting deals for the year-end holidays, but the introduction of a new major sale will shift the holiday spend forward into October. Target too, is running a three-day sale called Deal Days from Oct. 6 to 8.
Early holiday shopping or “holiday creep” is a growing trend. Consumers have become wary of supply chain delays. Covid-19 shutdowns and the blockage of the Suez Canal last year led to disruptions that were an all-time high, according to FTI Consulting. Shoppers also see early sales as a way to guard against inflation. A July survey of shoppers by the marketing and intelligence firm Gartner found that nearly half (48%) of consumers will start to shop in October or November this year, with 16% of consumers now shopping year-round for holiday gifts.
Retailers are also encouraging a longer seasonal promotion period in the hopes that it can beef up what is expected to be a slower holiday season this year. Deloitte has forecasted a rise of 4% to 6% in year-over-year sales from November to January, much slower than the 15.1% rise from 2020 to 2021.
Although retail sales are still expected to peak around Black Friday and Cyber Week in November, Kassi Socha, Gartner consumer analyst said “we’ll be climbing to that peak a little bit earlier than we ever have.”
She forecasts that there will be a minor spike right before Hanukkah and Christmas, “but otherwise, I think December will actually be the month where retailers will feel a little bit of softness.”