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The answer to the question is obvious: People buy everything for Christmas. There are certain tried-and-true hot ticket items such as clothing and jewelry, but by and large everyone has different interests and so everything is purchases. You have bookworms, oenophiles, auto lovers, golfer, mechanics, cigar aficionados and more. The real question is: "Why do people buy on Christmas?" Here's the answer:
People make Christmas purchases (as in, gifts for others) first and foremost on what they know the receiver wants. If a man's wife says she wants a particular book, chances are she's going to get that book for Christmas. At this stage in the game, you have to market to the recipient first - let them know your merchandise would make a great holiday gift for them. Price is less of a determining factor in this situation, because the buyer is seeking a specific gift to please the recipient and not necessarily a good deal (though the buyer is likely to take advantage of the best deal if two competing franchises sell the same product).
But what about those people who are impossible to buy for, or those who have to buy for someone they don't know as well? Or how about white elephant gift exchanges, which have increased in popularity in the past few years? What do you buy when you don't even know who the recipient is? As a marketer, this is when your strategy changes. You have to market to the buyer, and so price becomes more important as the perceived value of the gift becomes somewhat less important. If you go into a Wal-Mart the week before Christmas you'll find a display of $15 gifts - hand-held vacuums, books, small home furnishings, beverage glasses and other products. Many are quite nice, and the $15 price tag is actually a bargain; yet Wal-Mart knows that many of these gifts will be purchased because somebody needs a gift and isn't sure what to buy.
Beyond these motivators and perceived value, many people make purchases based on deal and discounts. Everything else being equal, if you want to best the competition you have to have a compelling offer that adds value to your customers' lives. Remember that when customers make a gift purchase, they buy not only to please the other party but also to please themselves with a good purchase. They want to be heralded as a great gift-giver, but don't exactly want to empty their wallets or purses at the cash register.
Last but not least, customers purchase Christmas gifts because they know they're there. If nobody knows about your product or service, how can they possibly buy it? Don't rely on department stores and websites to market your product for you. You must take an active role by printing and distributing your own Christmas catalogs, postcards, banners, flyers, door hangers, posters, and other materials.
So, to answer the question "Why do customers buy on Christmas?," it is fair to say that customers buy something a loved one wants or something a general audience would appreciate at a great price, as long as they know about it. That's where you come in.