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Marketers Remain Wary of 'Holiday Creep' Backlash

Most promotions are spread across the entire holiday season

Consumers seem to have the impression that marketers are constantly expanding the holiday shopping season. But is that notion actually accurate? According to a survey of chief marketing officers (CMOs) in the US conducted in October 2013 by BDO USA, only 13% of respondents planned to begin holiday promotions in 2013 earlier than they had the previous year. The hesitancy of marketers to expand the holiday shopping season may be due to concerns about a backlash against “holiday creep.”

Respondents indicated that they did not suffer from Black Friday and Cyber Monday tunnel vision in planning their promotions. Half of those polled said they would spread most of their promotions across the holiday shopping season, while only 13% said they would focus the majority of them on Black Friday and the following weekend.

Marketers are also well aware of the effect that the promise of good deals can have on driving foot traffic to physical store locations, and they’re planning on taking full advantage of that fact. Forty-seven percent of respondents said they would focus their holiday-related discounting and promotion efforts on brick-and-mortar locations, compared with 13% who planned on zeroing in on online channels.

Strategies for online promotions were significantly different, with 38% of marketers saying that free shipping was the most effective tactic. That was followed by email promotions (20%), social media efforts (20%) search engine marketing (15%) and online product exclusives (6%).

The poll found that social media promotions, in particular, had grown substantially, increasing by 43% over the previous year. Marketers also noted that the efficacy of email appeared to be on the decline, at least in part due to Gmail’s new tabbed inbox feature, which uses algorithms to weed out promotional messages.

eMarketer projects that retail ecommerce holiday season sales will total $61.8 billion this year, accounting for 23.5% of the full year of retail ecommerce sales.

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