Updated Oct 10, 2022 - Economy

Say goodbye to the traditional holiday shopping season

Illustration of a hand cursor holding a present.

Illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios

The traditional holiday shopping season is dead, with retailers no longer waiting to clear out the Halloween leftovers before rolling out Black Friday-like deals.

Why it matters: The season had been creeping earlier and earlier, and COVID pushed it over the edge by moving more deals online.

Zoom out: Inflation and excess inventory are new factors in this year’s earlier push.

  • 44% of consumers say it's better to buy gifts and seasonal items now because they believe prices will go up before the end of the year because of inflation, a National Retail Federation survey found.
  • Households earning over $75,000 a year are twice as likely to report they are having difficulty paying their usual expenses than they were a year ago, the survey found.

Be smart: Amazon has played a huge role in getting other retailers, including Walmart, Target and Best Buy, to start their own competing sales earlier in the year.

  • Amazon launched Prime Day in 2015 to reward Prime members. Prime Day was held in July every year before the pandemic.
  • Prime Day 2020 was delayed until October and was considered the start of the holiday shopping wars.

By the numbers: Nearly a third of Americans will shop this Prime sale, Numerator found in a survey.

  • A survey from Klaviyo found 78% of consumers were planning to purchase holiday gifts during the Prime sale instead of waiting for Black Friday.
  • Meanwhile, 68% of consumers anticipate holiday spending to increase their stress levels this year, according to Beyond Finance’s 2022 Holiday Financial Stress Survey.

Yes, but: Adobe Analytics’ holiday forecast showed discounts could be as high as 32% online during Cyber Week (Thanksgiving through Cyber Monday) for computers, 27% for electronics, 22% for toys and 19% for apparel and televisions.

Amazon Prime Day 2: Early Access Sale

In a sale that looks similar to the Prime Day held in July, Amazon's Prime Early Access Sale starts at midnight PDT on Tuesday.

  • The 48-hour sale runs through Wednesday, Oct. 12 for Prime members in 15 countries, including the U.S., Canada and China.

Walmart “Rollbacks and more” sale

Walmart made it easier for consumers to shop early when it extended its return period starting Oct. 1, a month earlier than past years.

  • Now a day before Amazon’s sale, Walmart adds a rollback sale kicking off 5am ET Monday and runs through Thursday, Oct. 13.

Target Black Friday deals, deal of day

Target announced Monday that it is extending the season with seven weeks of Black Friday deals, three weeks more than last year, and discounts up to 50% and more on toys, games, electronics and kitchen appliances.

What's happening: Target's first weeklong Black Friday deals are now available through Oct. 15 with new discounts debuting each Sunday through Thanksgiving week.

  • Deal of the day specials are also back through Dec. 24.
  • The weeklong and daily deals are available in-store and online through Target's website and app with some offers only online.

Best Buy Thanksgiving closings, Black Friday plans

Best Buy will keep stores closed Thanksgiving for the third year in a row and is starting weekly specials for Totaltech and My Best Buy members.

State of play: Best Buy starts the season with a 48-hour flash sale starting Tuesday, which also is when Amazon also launches its Prime Early Access Sale.

Editor's note: This story has been updated with new details throughout.

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