The rushed last-minute holiday shopping scramble may just be another annual tradition lost to the coronavirus pandemic. Across New York and the country, retailers are getting a head start on the holiday season.
While most shoppers don’t usually appreciate the holiday “creep,” this year there are several good reasons for getting an early go on gifts and cheer.
First, stores are looking to reduce in-store crowding. Typical doorbuster sales are not being offered, with many companies driving shoppers to websites to avoid crowds, curb the need for social-distancing enforcement, and minimize chaos.
Another good reason for the early holiday season is the goal of minimizing shipping holdups that are typical in November and December. Many chains were overwhelmed by the lock-down induced online shopping surge, so they are looking to learn from that experience and motivate shoppers to buy early.
The economic fallout of the pandemic has many New York stores rebranding their holiday gift ideas. Many people are unemployed, looking to save where they can, and not expecting to travel to large family get togethers where numerous presents would be necessary. Instead, merchandise is being geared toward “homey activities” that keep people active, offer entertainment for kids, and even introduce new hobbies. Similarly, more stores are offering on-line shopping with curbside pick-up. 2020 has certainly been a different kind of year. The early holiday retail is one good way of ushering in cheer and joy when we need it most.