Three Industries Affected by the Holiday Season

The holiday season sees an increase in business activity and consumer spending, but which industries see the most effect?

By: Lauren Cron

Companies are already in the midst of executing their holiday season strategies. For some companies, having a successful holiday season can make or break their business. Most companies see peaks of seasonality, whether that be through events or changes in temperature, but who sees the most changes during the holiday season?


The industry that is most impacted by the holidays is retail. Since the Great Recession, retail sales numbers have continued to climb with holiday retail sales totaling $691.9 billion in 2017, according to the National Retail Federation. Retailers big and small may plan months or even years ahead for their holiday strategies. Everyone in the retail supply chain, including producers and wholesalers, take into account this large spike in the industry. Retailers also have to think beyond having enough merchandise on their shelves or in their warehouses. Holiday planning means considering logistics for orders, extra staff to run brick-and-mortar locations, and extended operating hours, among other factors.


Another industry that sees a lift in activity is the travel industry – everything from airlines to hotels, and even pet-sitting all see large spikes in consumer demand during the holiday season. The demand for travel is high during the holidays so hotels and airlines start their prices high because they know travelers have little flexibility in terms of destinations and dates. The holidays also overlap with weather changes, which can have a large effect on the industry. Travel industry leaders must also take into consideration operating costs and having enough staff during this time of year to keep up with demand. It is a busy time for the industry, but is also often the most profitable time of the year.


The holidays are an important time for non-profits due to the huge lift in donations and volunteers they receive. The season invokes a feeling of community and generosity for most, making the holidays the single most lucrative time of year for non-profits. In order to ensure a successful holiday season, charities must carefully plan donation campaigns and the organization of employees and volunteer to carry out the campaigns. One consideration charities and non-profits need to make is whether a disaster happened earlier in the year, because consumers’ donations may be affected as a result. For example, analysts were concerned that the 2017 holiday season would see less donations due to large disasters like Hurricane Harvey and Hurricane Irma. Many organizations launch their campaigns or events during the holiday season in hopes of getting the funds and items they need to succeed for the rest of the year.


The only way to survive and thrive during the holidays is through thoughtful preparation. Without preparing an adequate staff and a game plan, the holiday season can be a disaster. Companies compete not only with their products and services during the holiday season, but also with finding temporary seasonal workers, but preparing to ensure success in the holiday season is worth it. A successful holiday season can make up for down times throughout the past year and kickstart the new year.