As retailers plan for the all-important holiday shopping season, they must take note of a phenomenon known as “Thanksgivukkah,” the rare occurrence of the first day of Hanukkah and Thanksgiving falling on the same day, November 28th this year. It will be another 70,000 years before this mash-up occurs again, according to MarketWatch. With the modern-day tradition of giving gifts on each of the eight nights of Hanukkah, retailers may see consumers buying presents well in advance of Black Friday and Cyber Monday this year. Whether this will result in weaker overall holiday sales at a time when retailers are hoping for their strongest season since the Great Recession, or be a boon in disguise since it will give stores reason to extend the season earlier than ever, remains to be seen.
Opportunities for early promotions
Some retail experts are inclined to see Thanksgivukkah as a positive. Given that Thanksgiving already falls late this year, resulting in a 27-day time frame until Christmas, this may be an opportunity for merchants to jump start the shopping calendar in an effort to boost the bottom line. MarketWatch reports that ScanMyPhotos.com, an Irvine, Calif., company that specializes in photo transfer services, has decided to make October 21 its “Hanukkah-friendly” Cyber Monday. The firm reportedly said it would hate to shut the virtual door on Jewish shoppers who cannot wait until the formal Cyber Monday of December 2. Asher Weintraub, a nine-year-old Jewish New Yorker, is also taking advantage of the union of Thanksgiving and Hanukkah. Weintraub recently launched a $25,000 Kickstarter campaign to fund his “Menurkey” concept, a menorah shaped like a turkey. To date, he reportedly has raised more than $35,000. Contributors who pledge at least $36 get their own Menurkey. Another example is ModernTribe, an online retailer that bills itself as a “hip Jewish gift shop.” The merchant has come out with a line of Thanksgivukkah T-shirts. As the company says on its website, “Don’t miss this once-in-an-eon opportunity to celebrate all that is Jewish and American: Thanksgivukkah!”
On the other hand, some experts say any attempts to push things too early, especially into October, could backfire because it could result in shopping season fatigue. Merchants also run the risk of trivializing Hanukkah in an effort to generate sales. The best retailers may be those that do not overly commercialize Hanukkah. Some experts say all that an expanded, Hanukkah-friendly shopping season may accomplish is a spreading out of the shopping frenzy, not an actual increase in dollars spent, MarketWatch states. For retailers, it could result in lower profit margins, since more shopping days also can translate into greater promotional expenses.
For tips on how to prepare for holiday shopping, click here.