Will pushing back against Christmas creep drive sales eBay’s way?

Discussion
Source: eBay - "The Holiday Chill"
Sep 23, 2019
Tom Ryan

Taking a stand against “Christmas Creep,” eBay last week promised to refrain from holiday ads, promotions and specials until November.

“We’re 100 days from Christmas and already starting to see companies make early holiday announcements — with reports of early in-store displays and decorations! What’s the rush?!,” eBay wrote on its blog. “We love the holidays. But we don’t love the stress-inducing creep that comes with it. Each year, holiday prep and promotions start earlier, and grow bigger, louder and shinier throughout the season. Christmas music in stores in October? Holiday sales before Halloween? It’s gone too far.”

EBay also vowed to “call out their competitors for getting ahead of themselves” and released a YouTube video called “The Holiday Chill” that makes fun of the early arrival of holiday decorations and Christmas music. Miserable store associates are shown wearing reindeer horns and customers grimace at a sign reading, “Really Really Really Early Holiday Sale.” The video ends with the message, “Outsmart holiday creep. Get deals every day. Not just the holidays.”

EBay ends its blog entry, “Go ahead, enjoy that Pumpkin Spice Latte and find the perfect Halloween costume. We’ll be ready to holiday when you are.”

In recent years, many consumers have groaned upon hearing about holiday promotions arriving well before Thanksgiving. Etsy last week began running “Here’s to the Givers,” a campaign that highlights different seasonal products available on its platform and the makers that create them. 

Yet, some consumers appreciate the early buying and eBay may be missing out on some marketing opportunities. According to 2018’s holiday shopping survey from the National Retail Federation, 21 percent of respondents planned to start their holiday shopping in October and 18 percent said they began in September or earlier. Spreading out their budgets and avoiding last-minute crowds were the most commonly cited reasons.

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: Will eBay gain fans with its promise to hold off holiday promotions and marketing until November? Will the retailer miss too many opportunities as a result? What do you think of its plan to poke fun at competitors displaying early holiday promotions?

Please practice The RetailWire Golden Rule when submitting your comments.
Braintrust
" It’s true that a lot of shoppers hate Christmas and seasonal creep, but if there was no demand retailers wouldn’t offer the products when they do."
"That is smart because it appeals to the people who want to shop early without seeing the decorations or hearing the music this early."
"EBay’s ad poking fun at the continued creep of the holiday promotions and sales starting earlier and earlier every year is very clever and I like it, a lot!"

Join the Discussion!

17 Comments on "Will pushing back against Christmas creep drive sales eBay’s way?"


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Georganne Bender
BrainTrust

This ship has sailed. When every other store on the planet is pushing holiday early it’s tough to differentiate yourself by being preachy. Some consumers hate Christmas creep, but others think it’s the best thing to happen to shopping. It’s not going anywhere. ebay’s “Really Really Really Early Holiday Sale” cracked me up. I hope someone runs it for real.

Art Suriano
BrainTrust

I love the ad and the concept, and it is true because we all feel that retailers begin the holiday push too early. Frankly, I always question how accurate the surveys and polls are because everyone I speak with often complains about how every year they wait until the last minute to get their shopping done. Moreover, even the article said 21 percent of shoppers “planned” to start their Christmas shopping in October and 18 percent in September, but I wonder how many really do. I like the campaign because it’s smart and different and for many customers, it will let them check out eBay to see just how competitive they are. I see this campaign being successful because eBay can provide significant savings year-round without the hype of a short-term sale or using Christmas as the reason for lower prices.

Cathy Hotka
BrainTrust

Customers don’t want to see “back to school” in May. They don’t want to see Halloween candy on the Fourth of July, and they really don’t want to hear Jingle Bells in September. Come on, people.

Brian Cluster
BrainTrust

EBay’s ad is a refreshing ad that speaks to the majority of consumers that are less than thrilled to see Christmas decorations in stores too soon. The ad and approach is a realistic portrayal of the frustration of many American shoppers who don’t want to see decorations or promotions three months of every year.

EBay will not be missing any opportunities as this ad campaign will bring more awareness to the brand, translating to more traffic and sales.

Its’s a fun, truthful marketing approach that will likely help eBay this holiday season.

Here is an article about holiday burnout.

Bob Phibbs
BrainTrust

While this is great clickbait every year the reality is that shoppers buy Christmas/holiday merchandise throughout the year. I see it as a marketing ploy without legs. I wrote a post a while ago about this:
Why Retailers Should Display Christmas Merchandise Before Halloween. Any dollar a retailer captures before Halloween is one dollar less the customer will spend at competitors.

Georganne Bender
BrainTrust

Totally agree, Bob. Holiday has a short window for retail sales. You’ve gotta go for it.

Neil Saunders
BrainTrust

Given that holiday products are currently available on eBay’s site, I am not sure this message is all that coherent. It’s true that a lot of shoppers hate Christmas and seasonal creep, but if there was no demand retailers wouldn’t offer the products when they do. As such, I don’t see this as a big win for eBay.

Rich Kizer
BrainTrust

I grinned at this eBay comment – “we don’t love the stress-inducing creep that comes with it.” Well here is a news flash: many customers may say that it’s all starting too early, but their actions speak very differently. EBay, you can’t sarcastically attack those “early early” promotions in hopes that the competition will relent. They won’t! And neither will customers! Welcome to the world of competitive retail.

Cynthia Holcomb
BrainTrust

At this point after years of Christmas coming on the tail of Halloween, most are tone deaf to either point of view. It really doesn’t matter anymore, it’s a non-issue. Sort of akin to decades ago, when retailers were not open on Sundays. Only those who “police” retail will hold eBay accountable. it looks like the eBay “Chill” promotions have already begun even before Halloween. “Chill” is code for Christmas at eBay? Good fun, good idea eBay.

David Naumann
BrainTrust

EBay’s ad poking fun at the continued creep of the holiday promotions and sales starting earlier and earlier every year is very clever and I like it, a lot! Will it make more people delay their holiday shopping? Probably not. Will it reduce sales at eBay.com for early-bird shoppers? Not much. Shoppers that are accustomed to checking for deals on eBay as part of their shopping strategy will continue to do so, even if there isn’t a holiday promotional push on eBay. Deals can always be found on eBay.

That said, the funny video may increase consumers’ emotional connection with the brand. I love the creativity!

Mohamed Amer
BrainTrust

eBay’s Holiday Chill video actually speaks to the value of everyday deals on eBay rather than the consumer reacting to a retailer’s promotion calendar. EBay is responding to your specific needs whenever and whatever they may be. It says the consumer is in charge, not the retail store.

Smart. Very smart!

Ryan Mathews
BrainTrust

This is more a statement of principle than an effective sales strategy and I, for one, salute it. It isn’t going to change buying behavior much, at least until consumers begin boycotting “Christmas in April” sales, but it will make a few folks stop and think about the fact that seasonality used to be a big part of what made Christmas, Thanksgiving, Channukah, Easter, Memorial Day, Labor Day, Halloween, etc., so exciting and special. Will eBay miss opportunities? Unlikely all that many. The Christmas in July folks will — well — keep buying in July on eBay and everywhere else. As to poking fun at the competition, I’m all for it. We’ve turned holiday shopping into a mandatory ordeal for consumers. Look at a mall in December. Those aren’t happy faces you see. Celebrating a holiday should never be a self-imposed and market-reinforced painful obligation. That’s sort of the point eBay is trying to make.

Ralph Jacobson
BrainTrust

It’s tough to buck trends so going against Christmas creep will be a challenge, however I applaud the effort!

Verlin Youd
BrainTrust

“A” for effort. Will be interesting what grade they get for results!

Camille P. Schuster, PhD.
BrainTrust

The early sales are great. The decorations and music this early are not! I like their campaign of great deals every day not just the holidays. That is smart because it appeals to the people who want to shop early without seeing the decorations or hearing the music this early. Since they are providing deals now I don’t think they will lose sales and may even gain some sales from consumers who appreciate the sentiment.

Doug Garnett
BrainTrust

I doubt that this is going to increase sales this year. But it’s a clever anti-strategy. I hope eBay gets something good from it.

That said, while I know retailers believe extending Christmas helps their sales, in the long run the entire industry is diluting the power that the season brings to sales. Black Friday has been lost now that it is no longer a good event but one consumers hate.

Retailers in general run a massive risk of letting short term desperation ruin long term value with how they treat Christmas.

In five to 10 years Christmas will have lost considerable power for short term gains – dropping profits.

Verlin Youd
BrainTrust

Shoppers vote with their dollars and it seems they have been voting regularly in the last few years, even with very very very early holiday sales, both physical and on-line. This announcement makes for good press and awareness — there may be a few who now are reminded that eBay is an option for holiday shopping — however, it will certainly result in eBay missing the very early shoppers.(Unbelievably, I’ve actually heard several people mention they are already 50% done with holiday shopping.) I would have to believe that this is just the first message in a multi-message holiday campaign designed to hold or increase eBay’s share of holiday shopping.

wpDiscuz
Braintrust
" It’s true that a lot of shoppers hate Christmas and seasonal creep, but if there was no demand retailers wouldn’t offer the products when they do."
"That is smart because it appeals to the people who want to shop early without seeing the decorations or hearing the music this early."
"EBay’s ad poking fun at the continued creep of the holiday promotions and sales starting earlier and earlier every year is very clever and I like it, a lot!"

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