The holidays continue to be huge times of the year for many businesses and industries. Many companies, especially retailers, live and die by their holiday sales numbers. The following is an exploration of just how influential the holiday shopping season is to the economy.
Sales Are Huge
Retailers do the vast majority of their business during the holiday season. They keep track of what products sell well during the holidays and then use that information to make decisions about future offerings. It's estimated that one-fifth of all retail sales occur in November and December alone each year.
Americans spend an average of $215 per person on Christmas decorations each year. This includes lights, prelit Christmas trees, yard decorations, greenery and more. Many people take pride in how their lights and yard decorations look around the holidays and some even enter into decorating contests, spurring spending further. Christmas cards are also sold en masse and only at this specific time of year.
When people don't know what to get someone else or are unsure what items that person already has, they tend to purchase gift cards so the recipient can choose a gift for themselves. Gift cards may not be very personal most of the time, but they are a solid gift-giving option that many people opt for each holiday shopping season. They can also be a quite personal gift if the gift card is for a place the recipient truly loves.
Impact On Jobs
Thousands of workers are hired on as temporary seasonal employees during the holidays, providing jobs for countless people. Some companies that hire extra workers include Christmas specialty stores as well as major retailers, including big box stores and department stores. Shipping companies and online retailers also need to hire more workers around the holidays to fulfill orders and deliver packages. Finally, more customer service representatives are also often needed to handle the volume of customers who need to make returns or have problems with their orders.
Regular workers, but also retail and delivery workers, usually put in extra hours over the holidays. This allows them to bring home bigger paychecks that they then frequently use to buy Christmas gifts for others, feeding the economy further. Christmas bonuses are also common from employers and as tips from appreciative customers. These bonuses also typically go towards Christmas gifts.
The Movie Business
The holiday season is big at the box office as well. Christmas releases are unusual, though, in that they usually post smaller weekend openings but then have longer legs, making decent profits over time. This is different from the entire rest of the year, where films usually make most of their money right after opening. People like to go to the movies with their families during vacation time from Christmas to New Years, making some of the biggest contributions to the movie industry outside the lucrative summer season.
Shipping services tend to do quite well around the holidays. This has always been true, but their business has grown as more and more people shop online. This is the case for shipping companies such as UPS and FedEx as well as online retailers such as Amazon, eBay and others that rely entirely on shipping services to do business. As more people want to avoid the lines at physical stores and shop online during an increasing number of online holiday sales, shipping companies will continue to have more packages to deliver around the holidays.
Influences Next Year Financial Decisions
The amount of holiday sales impacts business financial decisions going into the new year. Companies adjust the products they offer, their projections and even their employee numbers depending on how well they do during the holiday season. Some companies even file for bankruptcy and/or shut down following a series of disappointing holiday seasons because they know they cannot recover.
The holidays are undeniably big business. Many industries revolve entirely around their holiday sales figures. The holiday shopping season contributes greatly to the overall economy each year in many different ways.