Walmart is launching 2015’s holiday layaway today, two weeks earlier than last year. The minimum price for layaway items is $10 — down from $15 last year — and shoppers will have 90 days rather than 60 days to pay. The minimum basket size is $50.00, and items can be picked up as late as December 14th.
Walmart’s efforts to make layaway easier than ever coincide with Toy Week, when Walmart will feature special introductions of this year’s movie-related toys as well as the toys chosen by kids in the annual Walmart focus groups.
Christmas Creep bothers a lot of people, but Walmart is getting started on fourth quarter marketing events before Labor Day, which might be so early that it doesn’t even count as Christmas Creep.
Think with Google reports that 78% of last year’s holiday shoppers did research online for the gifts they bought, compared with only 29% who talked with friends or family in person to get ideas. Google thinks the number of shoppers who go online to shop whether or not they make purchases in a physical store will be higher yet this year.
Google also found out that 25% of last year’s shoppers did some of their shopping before Halloween, and nearly half had finished most of their shopping by Cyber Monday. But nearly half also said they were open to shopping with new retailers, and 41% actually did so. This means that retailers have to gain what shopper loyalty they can early in the season.
For suppliers who expect to make plenty of sales in the run up to Christmas, the holiday season is always a balancing act, trying neither to run out of stock and lose sales, nor to have too much on the shelves and lose money with late-season markdowns. It looks as though that balancing act will start earlier and last longer this year.