Maximising the festive shopping spirit

Christmas Décor, or Don’t Bother?


Does Decorating Make a Difference?

 This is the time of year where most businesses embrace the festivities and decorate for the holiday season, especially retailers in New Zealand. This can mean traditional Christmas themed décor, summer themes, or something else entirely. Some retailers even combine all three of these examples in their stores or digital platforms. There are also businesses out there who believe decorating for the holidays is just not worth it for their business. Well, Retail NZ took a poll of our members, and here is what we found!


While 12% of retailers are choosing to decorate in a winter theme, 16% of retailers are keeping in season with New Zealand and opting for summer décor. An overwhelming 45% of retailers across New Zealand said they would be decorating with a summer/winter medley, or something else entirely. However, more than a quarter of retailers are not bothering to decorate for the holiday season at all. 31% of retailers polled who are opting not to decorate don’t believe decorations will boost sales, and are therefore not worth the effort or expense.  A number of retailers also say decorating for the holiday season is too expensive or not relevant to their customers.


With 73% of retailers throughout New Zealand choosing to decorate their stores, you can conclude that the majority of retailers either see improved sales or find decorating for the festive season necessary in this increasingly competitive retail climate. There is certainly something about holiday decorations that attract customers during this time of year and can potentially influence consumer purchases. Your own efforts will be often supported by local council decorations, and the fact that most cities and towns throughout the country host Christmas festivities, such as a Santa parade. As more people are continuing to move to online shopping, consider investing into updating your website for the holidays, perhaps adding a “Gifting” section, and reduce in-store decorations if necessary.

Are New Zealand retailers too festive too early?

The short answer is absolutely not!

It is often suggested that New Zealand has succumbed to the “Christmas Creep”, and that retailers are preparing by decorating for the holidays much too early. There is a great deal of debate about how early it is acceptable to decorate for the holidays, with many countries starting earlier and earlier. Here at Retail NZ, we put up our Christmas tree on the 25th of September because we know that retailers must think far in advance to prepare for the busiest time of year. Retailers prepare ahead for their busiest months of the year so that they can concentrate on keeping shelves stocked, sales and customer service.


Many Kiwis are strongly battling against the “Christmas Creep”, and believe that December is the appropriate time to begin decorating for Christmas. Now this may be true for consumers as Christmas does take place in December, and is the main driver of retail spend in December. However, this time of year is about so much more than just Christmas. School holidays begin, students graduate from University, the summer season kicks off, tourism begins to boom, many businesses close down and Kiwis all over the country take holidays during this period. What’s more, many people flee the cities to baches in the days leading up to Christmas, meaning they need to have their shopping done in advance. It is likely those who are renting a holiday home this Christmas booked early in the year, even as early as January or February. This means that some Kiwis have been thinking about Christmas for many months. New Zealand begins no sooner to prepare for the festive season with décor than the U.S. or U.K, and typically by mid-November the festivities are in full swing.

When should decorations come down?


 Traditionally, Christmas trees should come down on 6 January, but typically, decorations will be left up till after the New Year, regardless of the theme. This is due to Boxing Day sales that continue after Christmas Day, and the days following are still very busy for most retailers who choose to stay open between Boxing Day and New Year’s Day. Decorations can begin to come down in the week following New Year, and should be completed by mid-January. However, if you’re choosing a summer holiday theme, try keeping some summer décor and removing the notes of Christmas and holiday cheer. This should go for all digital platforms and websites as well.

From all of us at Retail NZ, best of luck during the busy holiday period! And don’t forget, we are here if you need us.

By Emily Duncan – Advisor
0800 472 472

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