How Holiday Themed Stores Make Year-Round Profits


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It’s not hard to get into the holiday spirit in December. The snow begins to fall, twinkling lights hang from trees and storefronts, menorahs are unwrapped, and grocery stores play “Jingle Bells” on a loop.

As soon as the last bite of Thanksgiving leftovers is swallowed, many people rush to buy Christmas trees and decorate them while sipping on hot chocolate. Others adorn their homes with kente cloth or fresh fruit to celebrate Kwanzaa or play a game of dreidel on shared latkes for Chanukah.

Around November, shops that look like a winter wonderland pop up across the United States.

But how do stores that sell Christmas all year round make a profit? And are pop-up vacation-themed shops successful?

Sell ​​Christmas all year round

Believe it or not, about two in five Americans start their Christmas shopping as early as October, and there are over 181,000 seasonal decorating companies in the United States.

According to a Chicago Tribune poll, 40% of consumers start shopping for the holidays before Halloween, and that number has remained stable for more than a decade. For more than 20 years, major retailers like Hobby Lobby and Home Depot have been offering Christmas items as early as July and have enjoyed continued commercial success.

While a majority of people shop for the holiday season in November and December, there is still a market for consumers all year round. However, stores that are primarily vacation-related, like A Christmas Store ‘N’ More in Big Bear Lake, Calif., Need to get a little creative with what they sell during the off-season months. .

Shannon Roberts, owner of A Christmas Store ‘N’ More, said she sells every party merchandise and other items that are not “strictly related to Christmas or the holidays.”

“That’s why I named it A Christmas Store ‘N’ More. I focus a lot on most things, ”said Roberts.

How Holiday Themed Stores Work

Kalinda Ukanwa, assistant professor of marketing at USC Marshall School of Business, explained three strategies Christmas shops often implement throughout the year to stay in business and make a profit:

  1. Christmas-themed stores may advertise how their items can be used for other events, such as fairy lights for the prom or a work-related party.

  2. Some stores are strategically planning to streamline operations during the off season.

  3. Other stores are promoting themselves as a destination, so whatever the season, people are planning a visit.

Planning ahead and adjusting marketing strategies is extremely important to keep these stores in business, but so is building a community. For year-round holiday-themed stores, building a loyal following promises customers all year round.

Christmas is also the most popular holiday in the United States, with around 85% of people celebrating it in one way or another. The magic of the holiday season really helps keep Christmas shops alive all year round and allows holiday pop-up shops to thrive in the final months of the year.

Holiday Giants

Unlike Halloween-themed pop-up stores like Spirit Halloween and Halloween City, some Christmas-themed stores are open year round.

The world’s largest Christmas store, Bronner’s CHRISTmas Wonderland in Frankenmuth, Michigan, receives more than two million visitors a year. Owner Wally Bronner took a different approach from Roberts and designed the store as a year-round destination.

Bronner’s opened in 1945 and is larger than a football field and a half. The store receives the most visitors after Thanksgiving – with around 50,000 people stopping by.

Another permanent holiday giant is the Incredible Christmas Place, billed as the South’s largest Christmas store. Based in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee, the store hosts an annual Christmas celebration with singers, tree lighting, and free prizes. The store generates more than $ 13 million in sales per year.

Other Christmas-themed stores, like City Lights Collectibles in San Diego, Calif., And The Christmas Sleigh in Middleburg, Va., Also operate year round and generate around $ 9 million and $ 5 million, respectively. in annual sales by continuously advertising their business.

Pop-up holiday shops

Retailers who have opened pop-up stores are seeing improved market viability, increased sales, greater social media engagement, and increased website traffic, according to Business Insider. Overall, a Storefront survey found that 80% of global retail companies that have opened a pop-up store rated it as a success. Big companies like Amazon and Macy’s are opening pop-up stores every year to drive sales in person and online.

Pop-up shops or any temporary retail event work a little differently than permanent vacation spots. According to Shopify, holiday pop-ups often focus on brand recognition, testing new markets, and increasing sales.

Similar to Halloween stores like Spirit Halloween or Halloween City, these pop-up stores appear in malls and vacant storefronts. However, they differ slightly as they also sometimes appear in other retail stores or in occupied spaces.

For example, events like the Christkindlemarket in Chicago – which attracts over a million visitors a year – host small pop-up stores from mid-November to the end of December. These pop-ups set up shop at Daley Plaza and sell candied popcorn, Christmas decorations, and other holiday-themed items for just over a month.

While Chanukah can often get lost in the holiday retail rush, pop-up shops have sprung up in Seattle and New York City that sell party supplies like dreidels and candles. A Chicago tavern also opened the first pop-up Hanukkah bar after realizing the city was missing the important party.

Similar pop-ups occur every year for Kwanzaa to celebrate African American culture. From December 26 to January 1, friends and families attend events and visit pop-up shop vendors in places like Jackson, Michigan to participate in ceremonies, listen to African drums and enjoy great food.

Supply chain issues

As December approaches, it’s also common to start spotting outdoor sites selling Christmas trees. But due to supply chain disruptions this year, there is a shortage of Christmas trees and buyers could have to pay 25% more this holiday season.

Christmas trees aren’t the only commodities facing a shortage – greeting cards, twinkling lights, and turkeys are also harder to find this year.

Fun Facts About Holidays “By The Numbers”

  • In 2020, nearly 33 million real Christmas trees were sold.

  • Americans spend about $ 123 on their spouse for Christmas.

  • 66% of shoppers will spend more on sustainable gifts and decoration this year.

  • 50% of people will buy new holiday decorations this year and also use old decorations.

  • Over 60% of people in the United States buy gifts online.

  • About 92% of people plan to celebrate winter holidays this year.

  • The most popular Christmas dish in the United States is roasted potatoes, followed by mashed potatoes.

  • 20% of first-time buyers plan to spend more on Chanukah this year than last year, compared to 17% for Kwanzaa.

  • Over 37% of people are not traveling for vacation this year.

Image Credit: BearFotos / Shutterstock.com

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