For an economist, Christmas spending can be represented on a line graph. The graph is jagged, like a Christmas tree, but always has a steep peak, which, as expected, occurs around December. While the holiday season is a time of celebration, it is also accompanied with a spike in consumer spending.
There is no standard date for when the holiday season begins in North America: some start celebrating Christmas mid-November while others, in early December. For retailers though, the season begins as early as possible.
According to the Macmillan English dictionary, “Christmas creep” is a term which was first used in the 1980s and refers to the tendency for holiday-related products to emerge earlier each year. In Canada, wrapping paper and Christmas ornaments begin to occupy retail real-estate next to Halloween decorations in department stores towards the end of October. A 2018 report by Field Agent Canada found that 44 per cent of consumers will start their Christmas shopping around Black Friday. The report also said that while online shopping is increasing, the majority of holiday-shopping will be done at malls rather than online. “People like being in the mall at Christmas time,” Jeff Doucette, general manager of Field Agent Canada, told Retail-Insider. The allure is in the showrooms: the crowded corridors of Yorkdale, the frenzy of Square One, and the mob of frantic shoppers at Sherway Gardens are all sadistically comforting.
Accounting firm PricewaterhouseCoopers Canada forecasts Canadians to spend $1,593 per person on average during the 2019 holiday season. 59 per cent of the individuals surveyed were not worried about possible credit card debt and 24 per cent of consumers are planning to spend more this year as compared to 2018. Spending includes money spent on travel, gifts, and entertainment.
The true price of Christmas is $38,993.59 USD according to the Christmas Price Index. The Christmas Price Index was created in 1984 by PNC Wealth Management, an American bank. For thirty-six years, the bank has tracked the price of the items in the classic Christmas carol, The Twelve Days of Christmas. The index has been tracking the price of the items mentioned in the carol to provide consumers with an idea of price increases. In 1984, the same items would have cost $1,949.69 altogether meaning the prices of the tested items have increased by a whopping 95 per cent.
On November 14, 2019 the Eaton Centre erected its annual Christmas tree—a 33-metre-tall tree decorated with 200,000 bright red lights and 1,730 branches. The mall also announced that it would be hosting a weekly re-lighting of the tree every Thursday from 4 p.m.-7 p.m. until December 19, 2019. Simply because it can, and ultimately, to attract more customers to their shopping mall.