Holiday shopping season starts early; Tucson businesses thankful for the boost

Holiday shopping season starts early

TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) -The most wonderful time of the year is here! At least, for businesses.

The holiday shopping season has come early, with more than 40% of people getting a head start. That’s according to the National Retail Federation, which released its consumer report on Monday, Nov. 16.

After a year of hardships, local shops and restaurants are hoping to make up for lost sales.

“We are – and I think a lot of the other businesses on Fourth Avenue are -- really seasonal businesses,” said Melissa Negelspach, a co-owner of Antigone Books. “So, we do the majority of our business during the Christmas season.”

When it comes to preparing for holiday sales, though, the pandemic has made ordering product a guessing game.

“We have 95 local artists and so we have kind of looked at last year and asked our artist to build accordingly, but maybe scale it back,” said Libby Tobey, a co-owner of Pop Cycle. “But we aren’t exactly sure.”

The Fourth Avenue Winter Street Fair cancelation isn’t the only thing taking a bite out of their bottom line this year.

“Also, Tucson is a big tourist town and that’s when we would get all the winter visitors,” Tobey said.

With fewer snowbirds, businesses are relying more on residents.

According to Walley Hub, about one in three people are foregoing holiday gifts this year due to COVID-19, while more than 100 million consumers plan to spend less than last year.

Another trend businesses are seeing is less people shopping in person and more people checking out online.

“We knew our businesses were going to need a little push,” said Barbra Coffee, Tucson’s Economic Initiatives Director.

That’s why the city of Tucson launched “Hownd for the Holidays.” Shoppers can download the “My Hownd” app for free to find Christmas bargains at local shops.

“We have 124 merchants now throughout Tucson,” Coffee said.

The shift to online sales is helping small retailers compete with big box stores.

“The sales on [our] website just skyrocketed [this year],” Negelspach said.

“We might have had 10% online in February, but now, we have 98% of our store online,” Tobey said.

Whether it’s shopping behind a computer screen or in person (even with a smaller budget) the message is: you can make a big impact by buying local.

“That money gets turned around in the community to help us all recover,” Coffee said.

“Thank you to Tucson for continuing to support us,” Negelspach said.

For more information on Hownd for the Holidays, click HERE.

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