Holiday Biz: Black Santas Level Up At Malls As Retailers Struggle

CBx Vibe: Santa Claus Is Coming To Town” The Jackson 5

By CultureBanx Team

  • Roughly 3% percent of all professional Santa’s in the U.S. are African American
  • Santa’s earn anywhere from $4K – $5K total for store and mall appearances

For decades, Black families have searched for a Santa that reflects them in malls and department store chains, that are increasingly marketing holiday memories to get customers into stores. Despite the fact that St. Nick is a fictional character, Black Santa’s across the country can command nearly $400 or more per hour for their services. As the Christmas holiday rolls around again Black Santa’s remain booked, busy and sometimes hard to find. They could be the key to helping brick and mortar stores bring in more money during the season, thanks to the $1.4 trillion in spending power that African Americans possess.

Why This Matters: Millennial audiences value spending money on experiences more than purchasing consumer goods, and photos with Santa during the holidays is big business. Mall Santa’s and their related seasonal winter wonderlands remain as some of the last few advantages that traditional stores have over e-commerce juggernauts like Amazon (AMZN +0.46%). However, Black Santa’s still remain difficult to come by because roughly 3% percent of all professional Santa’s in the U.S. are African American, according to Tim Connaghan, who runs the RealSantas.com.

Black Santas could be the key to helping brick and mortar stores bring in more money during the season, thanks to the $1.4 trillion dollars in spending power that African Americans possess

A shortage of Black Santa’s could be attributed to the high costs of getting into the business. Most professional Santa’s  provide their own suits, which could cost upwards of $500. Additionally, there could be other qualifications like only having real bearded Santas for jobs, which may require beard bleaching for white whiskers and that can run several hundred dollars.

There’s also the cost of attending Santa school, a place like The Charles W. Howard Santa Claus School, which Cris Cringle’s have dubbed the “Harvard of Santa schools,” is $520. If they are able to check all of these boxes, top Santa’s can make between $4,000 to $5,000 for store and mall appearances, according to CNN.

Many people including entertainers have realized that the business of Black Santa is bigger than just taking memorable holiday pictures at the mall, as rapper 2 Chainz discovered. His ‘Dabbing Santa’ ugly Christmas sweaters, portraying Black Santa’s made $2.1 million in just 30 days when they were originally released.

Situational Awareness: Black Santa’s aren’t always expected or accepted. Some stores like Macy’s (M -2.72%) that have continued with their own “Santaland”, an attraction that started at the company’s national headquarters in 1980 in New York City, actually hides their Black Santa. You have to make a special request in order to take a picture with him. Perhaps a strategy that should be re-thought to draw in more customers and more dollars.

CBx Vibe: Santa Claus Is Coming To Town” The Jackson 5

CONTRIBUTOR

CultureBanx Team

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