Wal-Mart has pulled forward seven big deals it had planned to debut the day after Thanksgiving, when retailers tend to start pushing their big holiday deals. Those retailers then push customers onto their websites to buy online on the first Monday after Thanksgiving – dubbed Cyber Monday.  But this year, that’s all changed, as the world’s largest retailer have allowed its shoppers to purchase these items since Hallowe’en, together with 300 more deals on its website.

Joel Anderson, president and CEO of Wal-Mart.com has described 2013 as “a tough year for the average American family,” and says these offers are Wal-Mart’s way of helping its customers. Anderson also says this is a great way for people to get ahead with their holiday shopping.

More and more Americans are cutting back on their holiday spending, which is bad news for retailers, as spending at this time accounts for around a third of their total annual revenue. Although we’ve seen some recovery in the jobs and housing markets, confidence still isn’t high enough to convince shoppers to part with their dollars – the shutdown didn’t exactly help matters either. For now, consumers are playing it much safer.

So why have Wal-Mart done this? Well, it’s partly in response to their vulnerability to the precarious state of the US economy; Wal-Mart targets the low-earning shoppers. Also, with a shorter period of time (by six days) between Thanksgiving and Christmas, they’ve decided to give themselves some more time before Thanksgiving to make up for it.

Wal-Mart isn’t alone in trying to get ahead of the game on this one. Christmas products are on display in Target, Kmart and Home Depot, and many retailers ran TV ads and holiday layaway programs in September.

But you might like things the way they are already, and happy to start thinking about Christmas just as soon as Thanksgiving has passed. You might not appreciate being forced to consume Christmas every time you walk into Wal-Mart. But then again, maybe being given an extra few weeks to get prepared is just what you need.

According to Amazon spokeswoman Julie Law, consumers “are shopping now.” Are you?

For my part, I’m not, but then again, I’ve always been a last minute sort of person. For those organized types, the bringing forward of Cyber Monday deals could prove pretty useful, and I think the post-Hallowe’en offers are not a one off. I think they’re here to stay.

David Trumper

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