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Seasonality and Shopping Holidays: A Global Overview

September 2019

Holidays and shopping seasons have long been an important tool for retailers to drive traffic and sales and work to increase market share. Most retailers use holidays to drive sales; the best retailers use holidays to advance their strategic agenda. New holiday types, such as retailer-created holidays such as Prime Day and 11.11 Global Shopping Festival, have emerged in recent years, presenting new questions about how to use holidays to retailers’ advantage.

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Key findings

Retail is holiday-driven

Holidays and shopping seasons have long been an important tool for retailers to drive traffic and sales and work to increase market share. A successful holiday campaign requires all functions of a retailer to work together, and often to executive partnerships with suppliers.

Holidays are for more than short-term gains

Because consumers are accustomed to shopping holidays and many, such as the “back to school” shopping season, correspond to times when consumers plan to make purchases, holidays are an occasion for retailers to take advantage of greater shopper attention to showcase their value proposition. Most retailers use holidays to drive sales; the best retailers use holidays to advance their strategic agenda.

New types of holidays emerge

Shopping holidays with a tie-in to a broader cultural or religious occasion are well established. Over the last decade, however, new types of shopping holidays have become prominent. Examples include a growing number of retailer-created holidays, such as 11.11 Global Shopping Festival and Prime Day, as well as sector-created holidays, such as the Hot Sale in Mexico and Click Frenzy in Australia.

Care required to prevent shopper fatigue

As the number of holidays increases in many markets, retailers will need to take care to prevent their most important occasions from losing value in the eyes of consumers. Retailers that participate in many holidays may find the discounts must be diluted to maintain margins overall, frustrating consumers. Consumers who are exposed to too many holidays may also build a habit of postponing purchases until a future holiday. Many retailers may find it is most effective to participate in fewer holiday discounts but provide steeper discounts on those occasions.

Scope
The purpose of this report
Key findings
Retail and seasonality
Why does holiday shopping matter?
Holidays also matter for product manufacturers
Each holiday requires differentiated strategies and tactics
The Dubai Mall makes big play for “back to school” season
Everlane’s Black Friday Fund highlights the brand’s core values
Aldi, Lidl leverage holidays to boost competitive profile
Local holidays overview
Diwali (India)
Valentine’s Day (Japan)
Ramadan (Indonesia)
Dubai Shopping Festival (UAE)
9.9 and 12.12. shopping festivals (Southeast Asia)
Golden Week (China)
Overview of retailer-created holidays
Prime Day overview
Prime Day objectives: Drive Prime memberships, device purchases
11.11 Global Shopping Festival overview
11.11 Global Shopping Festival objectives: showcase “New Retail”
6.18 Shopping Festival overview
6.18 objective: showcase tech capabilities to support future sales
Does every retailer need their own holiday?
Sephora Beauty Insider Sale
Nordstrom Anniversary Sale
Competing on someone else’s day
Sector-created holidays aim to change shopper behaviour
Hot Sale Profile
Click Frenzy Profile
Small Business Saturday
Successful holiday strategies for retailers
Successful holiday strategies for product manufacturers
Shopping holiday checklist for retailers
List of multinational shopping holidays
List of local shopping holidays: North America
List of local shopping holidays: Latin America
List of local shopping holidays: Western Europe
List of local shopping holidays: Eastern Europe
List of local shopping holidays: Middle East and Africa
List of local shopping holidays: Australasia
List of local shopping holidays: Asia Pacific (1)
List of local shopping holidays: Asia Pacific (2)
List of selected retailer holidays and sales (1)
List of selected retailer holidays and sales (2)
List of selected retail sector-created holidays

Retailing

Sales of new and used goods to the general public for personal or household consumption. Excludes specialist retailers of motor vehicles, motorcycles, vehicle parts, fuel. Also excludes foodservice, rental and hire and wholesale industries (Cash and Carry). Sales value excluding or including VAT/Sales Tax. Retailing is the aggregation of Store-based retailing and Non-store retailing. Retailing excludes the informal retail sector. Informal retailing is retail trade which is not declared to the tax authorities. Informal retailing encompasses (a) sales generated by unregistered and unlicensed retailers, ie retailers operating illegally, and (b) any proportion of sales generated by a registered and licensed retailer which is not declared to the tax authorities. Unregistered and unlicensed retailers operate predominantly (although not exclusively) as street hawkers or operate open market stalls, as these channels are harder for the authorities to monitor than permanent outlets. Activities in the illegal market, which is usually understood to refer to trade in illegal, counterfeit or stolen merchandise, are included within our definition of informal retailing. Activities in the “grey market”, which is usually understood to refer to trade in legal merchandise that is sold through unauthorized channels – for example cigarettes bought legally in another country, legally imported, but sold at lower prices than in authorized channels – will be included as informal retailing if no tax is paid on sale by the retailer. However if the retailer pays tax – for example on cigarettes bought legally in another country but sold at a lower price than standard – the sale is included within formal retailing. In relation to click and collect purchases (i.e. where purchases are made over the internet but picked up at store) where the sales data is attributed depends on where the payment is made: If payment is made in store, then the sale is included in store-based sales. If payment is made over the internet, then the sale is included in internet retailing.

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