Amazon announced that the dates for its Prime Day(s) will be Oct. 13 and 14. Following the announcement, Target and Walmart swiftly responded by announcing dates for their massive yearly sales campaigns. Target’s Deal Days will be held during the same time period as Prime Day, and Walmart’s Big Save program will be from Oct. 11 until Oct. 15.
Usually held in July, the COVID-19 pandemic forced Amazon to delay Prime Day this year. That looks like a good move because it appears the traditional holiday shopping season will look much different this year. Many retailers are closing on Thanksgiving Day, the traditional start of shopping, and/or starting their sales earlier in the season and holding them longer. Customers are expected to avoid the crowded stores associated with Black Friday, and most plan to do at least some of their shopping online. Almost half, 43%, said the will do their holiday shopping exclusively online.
"Retailers are prepared for an early start to the shopping season, offering discounts earlier to ensure consumers can find the gifts they want, in stock at the price they want to pay, delivered at the time they want to receive them," National Retail Federation CEO Matthew Shay said. “Retailers are ready with inventory and sales, and there’s no reason to wait until Thanksgiving weekend to kick off your gift shopping.”
By holding their Prime Day three months later than usual, Amazon is now more closely associated with this year’s expected holiday shopping season. And, by announcing sales dates that overlap with Prime Day, Target and Walmart are effectively piggybacking on the online giant’s marketing efforts.
Target and Walmart don’t need to get people excited about another shopping event when they can just be part of what Amazon is doing. If people are already shopping and ready to spend their money online because of Prime Day, they’ll most likely be just as willing to buy at Walmart and Target. The two retail giants also have an advantage over their online counterpart. You don’t need a $119 Prime membership to participate in their sales.
“This year, in a holiday season unlike any other, we know it’s more important than ever for our guests to get great deals in a convenient and safe shopping environment,” says Christina Hennington, executive vice president and chief merchandising officer at Target. “By kicking off our holiday deals earlier than ever, offering Black Friday pricing throughout the full month of November, and extending our Price Match Guarantee, we’re letting guests know they don’t need to wait or face the crowds to get the best deals, all with no membership fees required.”
There is little doubt that this year’s holiday shopping season will be different than in previous years. Customers say they are expecting to spend $100 less than last year. They also say that they want retailers to be closed on Thanksgiving, and they will prioritize businesses that are committed to safety, hygiene, and health. Almost 40% said they are not looking forward to the holiday season because of the pandemic.