Santa Needs Fewer Elves This Year: Trends in Retail Employment

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A recent retail employment study by Indeed indicates that although people are still hunting for seasonal jobs this holiday season, the number of job postings has dropped to pre-pandemic levels. Postings are down 3 percent from 2019 and 6 percent year-over-year.

About 39 percent of Americans have side hustles, and many consumers depend on holiday positions to bring in extra income.

Among the companies that are hiring are:

  • Amazon (not surprising!)
  • Costco
  • CVS
  • Dick’s Sporting Goods
  • Macy’s
  • Target
  • USPS
  • UPS

The fact that three of these brands are focused on online shopping and delivery is illustrative of today’s online shopping behaviors.  (You can learn more about the convergence of physical and digital at Place 2023.)

Holiday shopping itself is expected to be flat to last year, with Deloitte predicting an average spend of roughly $1,700 per person.

Industry experts also think people will start their shopping earlier this year. We’ve already seen retailers simultaneously market Halloween and December holiday merchandise.

The Holiday List for Retailers

MULO (multi-location) brands can’t necessarily predict with 100 percent accuracy what shoppers will be seeking this holiday season. But some of the trends that have recently been reported are:

  • Supporting small businesses may be a priority for many shoppers.
  • Buy-now-pay-later options may be more popular as consumers are skittish about the economy.
  • Gift cards will remain high on shoppers’ lists, according to some retail pundits.
  • Technology will abound this year — from in-store self-serve options to hyper-local targeting to AI-powered analytics and creativity.
  • Convenience remains paramount, and retailers need to make sure that their online presence is accurate and up-to-date, especially as shoppers look for specific items, deals, and nearby places to buy last-minute presents.

To All (or Some) a Good Night

Regardless of how the holiday season turns out in 2023, we see a  bright, twinkling light in retail. A recent study by Venture Smarter revealed that the retail industry ranks third in sectors that will benefit from an extra hour of work due to daylight savings time.



Nancy A Shenker, senior editor with Street Fight, is a former big brand (Citibank, Mastercard, Reed Exhibitions) marketing strategist and leader. She has been featured in, the New York Times and Forbes.