Not very long ago, it was unimaginable to think of shopping on Thanksgiving Day, but this year had more stores open on Turkey Day than ever, making us all wonder… What can we expect as the next trend in the retail industry? Stores opening on Christmas Day?” Well, if you believe Dennis Armbruster, managing partner of LoyaltyOne consulting company the answer is “yes!” and this next customer trend is coming soon.
“It’s inevitable,” said Armbruster, who also says that we can expect that retailers will start opening on Christmas Day within three years. “What Christmas means to some is just changing, and a lot of families don’t necessarily celebrate on Christmas Day because of extended family dynamics. Consumers are also highly used to getting what they want, when they want it.”
So far, while retail consumer trends have not seen any major retailers open on Christmas Day, they have seen a slight shift as some grocery and convenience stores are opening, at least for limited hours. That slight change, along with the fact that Black Friday sales are now routinely starting on Thanksgiving Day, could make more consumers much more receptive to the idea. A recent survey conducted by LoyaltyOne found that about eighteen percent of consumers said that they would shop on Christmas Day if retailers were open at 6:00 p.m. Not much of a surprise for anyone, Millennials were more accepting of he idea of shopping on the holiday, noting that almost a third of young adults between the ages of 18 and 24 say they would finish their hot cocoa and shop if stores were open.
According to Armbruster, there have been discussions being had by major retailers. These discussions have been around “whether it’s appropriate and ‘is nothing sacred anymore?’” It’s clear that no one wants to be viewed as “The Grinch Who Stole Christmas.” However bottom line profits, as well as the increasing transition to online buying, may change all of that. Surely, opening on the holiday would allow shoppers to get a head start on post holiday sales and returns as well. “With growing pressure to make sales and make annual numbers, that might be enough to motivate stores to open on the holiday,” Armbruster added.
The study also found that a Scrooge-like downside risk exists for the United States retail industry contemplating opening on this holiday, in that fifty-eight percent of those who took the survey said not only would they not shop on the holiday… in the future, they would be less likely to ever shop in a store that would be open on Christmas Day. Even with the evolution of the retail industry, “Retailers would risk potentially alienating the general population if they opened on Christmas at this point,” Armbruster added. “There is a cautionary note to retailers that there are some consumers that are interested, but be careful.”