When does holiday shopping begin?

With many of us still knee-deep in holiday shopping, we at BookNet have found ourselves wondering: how long has this shopping frenzy been going on exactly? While we all know there's a very large spike in sales leading up to Christmas, we wanted to know just how early in the year that notable trend starts for book shopping.

The answer: No matter how you slice it, it's a long climb up to Christmas week, but that climb does seem to vary slightly depending on the genre. 

In the graphs below, we've charted weekly unit sales in the print, English-language trade book market, broken out by Fiction, Non-Fiction, and Juvenile/YA. Christmas week is aligned for all years, but because we're always looking at one-week slices of data, in some years we see a peak in Week 16 while in other years the peak's in Week 17, depending on the specific day Christmas falls. 

For Fiction, the same trend has held relatively steady for the past 10 years. We start to see a very slight increase in sales a few weeks after Thanksgiving, with a more notable increase starting around Week 12, which is approximately five weeks before Christmas.

Click on the graphs to enlarge.

For Non-Fiction, the trend has also held steady for a 10-year period. It varies from Fiction, however, with a longer and slower increase and a notable jump in sales starting around Week 10 or 11, which is about seven weeks before Christmas. 

While we see the greatest amount of fluctuation in sales for the Juvenile/YA market, the trend has also been quite steady over the last 10 years. Sales in this category start as early as Thanksgiving, a full 10 weeks before Christmas. 

While this information won't have much of an impact on your 2017 sales season, hopefully it will help you start planning early for 2018. Anyone for Christmas in July?