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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.

Introduction

Scope
The purpose of this report
Key findings

Shopping Holidays Overview

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 Shopping Holidays

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)

Retailer-Created Holidays

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 Holidays

Sector-created holidays aim to change shopper behaviour
Hot Sale Profile
Click Frenzy Profile
Small Business Saturday

Takeaways

Successful holiday strategies for retailers
Successful holiday strategies for product manufacturers
Shopping holiday checklist for retailers

Appendix: Local Shopping Holidays

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
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