Thanksgiving lands on Nov. 28, which is six days later than last year. That means retailers have a whole week less to sell during the holidays.
The holiday shopping season is important for retailers, and many rely on the revenue to make or break the year. The holiday shopping season can make up as much as 40 percent of a retailer’s annual sales.
The last time the holiday shopping season was shorter was in 2013, and there was a dash to make sure people got their packages in time for Christmas.
This year, many retailers are trying to compete with Amazon, who introduced a one-day free shipping option on more than 10 million products.
“It’s a very compressed holiday season … every day counts,” said Brian Cornell, CEO of Target Corp.
Target has started a new program called “Drive Up,” which will allow customers to order items on the retailer’s app, and then have those items brought out to their car. The service is available in all 50 states, Target said, and most orders are ready in an hour and brought out in under two minutes.
Target also offers free shipping with no minimums, an option to pick up for online purchases and promised same-day delivery.
“A shorter holiday season puts more importance on each shopping day,” said Steve Sadove, senior adviser for Mastercard.
Mastercard keeps track of spending by consumers through all payment types, and it expects retail sales to grow 3.1 percent.
Retailers started advertising holiday deals in October to counteract the shorter season, and discounts on items that typically go on sale closer to Thanksgiving can already be seen. Wayfair, a popular shopping site, has some items 70 percent off. Other retailers, like Target and Amazon, already started black Friday deals.
“Retailers will need to plant a sense of urgency early-on, then reinforce it after Thanksgiving, when the rubber meets the road,” said Carol Spieckerman, president at Spieckerman Retail.