Gone are the days when the holiday season started with Halloween and jack-o-lanterns, where customers waited for Black Friday to rush to their favorite stores to grab the discounted items on their wishlists.
With global ecommerce growing exponentially and customers increasingly shopping across borders, your visitors can now be reaching you from anywhere in the world, looking to buy your products.
We know the basics of the holiday season: prepare for Black Friday with campaigns around your most discounted products, create some Santa images for Christmas and an animated glass of champagne for New Year, with some fireworks shining in the distance. Does this sound outdated and pointless? To us too, and that’s the first step to create your perfect holiday marketing calendar.
What's changing in consumer's behaviour?
With the huge growth ecommerce has seen in the past years, it’s time to start looking at how it has been shaping which holidays are transcending borders.
The idea that certain holidays like China’s Singles’ Day or Thanksgiving are merely local is obsolete and doesn’t take into account the ecommerce growth and globalization that allows customers to shop globally, many times taking advantage of holidays that they usually weren’t aware of.
This is an ideal time to start localizing your website with multilingual SEO in mind, ensuring that customers can find you from anywhere you’re trying to reach them.
Understand the holiday season
It’s worth considering that in 2022 your customers might be celebrating holidays you may not have thought of. The world is each and every day becoming more varied in cultures and customs, so let’s take a look into what we should cover
According to the Adobe Digital Economy Index sales will rise to 910 Billion USD this holiday season, so we want to help you not miss out on this increase!
It’s important to understand what holidays are relevant to you and your business, which ones you should focus your efforts on to plan the most effective strategy. So, what holidays will your strategy include?
Back to school
While not being a holiday, back to school season is, for most of the world, when the holiday season starts. It’s almost like a chance at a new year, without all the rewriting the last digit on the date for two months.
For the past two years customers have been hit with too many “Out of stock” and “This order will be delivered on the 27th of December”. The solution? Starting holiday shopping earlier, so this should be the time your holiday calendar starts. Of course, we don’t mean a banner with the countdown for Black Friday or a Santa pop-up asking if you’ve been naughty or nice.
Get ready to start your sales, schedule all the holidays and events you want to be part of, as your customers are already browsing. Show them what you offer, present them with all the features you’re delivering and advertise your services, as quality is one of the biggest factors when picking a service or product. Don’t forget: influencer marketing can be a powerful tool during the holiday season, as customers often like to see how other people use a product or service.
October 24 – Diwali
Diwali is one of India’s biggest festivals, otherwise known as the Festival of Lights and is celebrated each fall in recognition of the victory of good over evil and light over dark. In the weeks leading up to the special day, Indian families living around the world decorate their homes but also shop for new clothes, accessories and gifts.
Last year, India’s festive season amassed around 9 billion USD in ecommerce sales, with 60% of sales being made through Flipkart Group, leaving 30% of sales to Amazon India.
While this seem like it may leave a small slice of market to compete for, don’t give up just yet! Ensure you start planning your strategy ahead of time, make sure it’s personable and focus on your target audience.
October 31 – Halloween
Halloween is the spookiest day of the season, but you don't need to be scared of it! This holiday doesn't need to be exclusive to costume sellers.
Research how you can integrate Halloween into your calendar. Maybe you have tricks and treats that are more valuable than you think, so start preparing for it. We'll give you all the best Halloween content strategy tips here!
November 11 – Singles’ Day
Singles’ Day first started as a major holiday in China, but it has since spread to the rest of the world, with companies everywhere taking part.
Last year, two of China’s biggest retailers, Alibaba and JD.com reportedly hit their biggest sales record for 11.11, with 139 Billion USD being spent across Singles’ Day sales.
To keep up with market demands, companies have now started to use live streams to promote and showcase their on-sale products, while other companies even save their product launches for this sale frenzy.
Even if you are geographically far from Asia, don’t think 11.11 isn’t a holiday for you. Last year, countries like the UK, Italy, France and Germany saw a spike in sales during Singles’ Day week. Maybe it’s time to add it to your calendar!
November 24 – Thanksgiving Day
Thanksgiving in the United States is a holiday set aside for giving thanks – traditionally for the harvest. Many people have a four-day weekend, so it is typically a busy travel time. In 2021, over 52.4 million people flew to celebrate Thanksgiving with their loved ones.
Adding travel to retail purchases, accommodation and all essentials for this holiday, consumers are expected to spend $5.4billion on Thanksgiving Day alone in the U.S. this year.
Setting up limited-time offers and flash sales, as well as making sure that seasonal keywords and personable communication are part of your plan to reach potential buyers, will help propel your campaigns to success. Remember, Thanksgiving is about giving thanks and caring for your customers, so put them first, and expect a win-win.
November 25 – Black Friday
Black Friday started as a US shopping holiday but is now a worldwide phenomenon. Even if in recent years many large retailers have launched early bird “Black Friday sales” as early as the day after Halloween, the true discount frenzy doesn’t arrive until the week of Thanksgiving.
Last year’s shifts in consumer behavior have encouraged many ecommerce retailers and brands to elevate their strategies.
Buyers usually search for the items they’re interested in at least 1 month before Black Friday, so make sure to get your campaigns ready ahead of time, and accessible on more than one channel and device.
November 26 – Small Business Saturday
Small Business Saturday is a day to celebrate and support small and local businesses. While this might not be your case, this is a great opportunity to get traction on your local markets through social initiatives or localized SEO.
As customers look for more personalized approaches, don’t forget to take a look at your local, smaller competitors to see how they’re succeeding.
November 28 – Cyber Monday
The first Monday after Thanksgiving is Cyber Monday, one of the biggest online shopping days of the year. If you already have an online shop, you definitely want to get your message out on every possible channel: this year’s Cyber Monday is expected to draw in 62.8 million customers in the US alone. Last year, Cyber Monday drew in 180 million shoppers.
The most important steps for your brand to take are to make sure website speed is up to par, that advertisements and accessibility are optimized for mobile and finally, to start early.
November 29 – Giving Tuesday
Giving Tuesday is a day to give back and get involved in your community by helping others through gifts of your time, donations, goods, or the power of your voice. A good way to incorporate the day as part of your holiday marketing strategy is to simply ask your customers to support your charitable efforts by making a purchase that day. A portion of the proceeds will be donated to a local charity. In 2021, around $2.7 billion was donated in the U.S. during Giving Tuesday.
December 5-6 - St. Nicholas Day
In some countries in Europe, St. Nicholas Day is another important date in the holiday calendar. Saint Nicholas is renowned for giving gifts to children who have shown good behavior throughout the year. Whilst some celebrate the day on December 5 like the Netherlands, others such as Belgium and other Central European countries celebrate on the following day. This day is also celebrated on December 19 in Eastern Christian countries using the old church Calendar.
December 12 – Green Monday
Green Monday is usually the second Monday in December with about 10 days remaining until Christmas. It’s a day of finding last-minute deals online, thus generally one of the biggest shopping days in December.
Be sure to stay on top of your customers’ minds through targeted social and email campaigns, which are especially appealing to procrastinators!
December 14 – Free Shipping Day
Free Shipping Day was started in 2008 and is a one-day event held annually in mid-December which has been getting bigger every year. During this day, thousands of online stores offer free shipping combined with the last day to shop online with guaranteed delivery by Christmas Eve. Free shipping remains to be the number 1 incentive for buyers to complete an online purchase, so don’t let this one pass.
In the US, it’s also known as Ground Shipping Day, and it’s the last day you can ship packages by ground and have them arrive by Christmas Eve. If deliveries are one of your concerns, be sure to let your customers know your deadline ahead of time.
December 17 – Super Saturday
Super Saturday is the last Saturday before Christmas and is also sometimes called “Panic Saturday” as shoppers rush to purchase last-minute gifts. More focused on brick-and-mortar businesses, you can still target any last-minute shoppers with special offers delivered by email and social advertising.
December 25 – Christmas
Christmas Day is the celebration of Jesus Christ’s birth. As people will be busy, either with family celebrations or traveling to be with family, it’s not a big day to sell, but it’s the perfect opportunity to connect with prospects and customers, sending your seasonal wishes, even if it’s just through your website or social media channels.
December 26 – Boxing Day
After-Christmas sales are a big thing in some countries, such as the UK. Not only will people be going to the shops to exchange unwanted presents, but also to get the first discounts. Smart business owners can entice them with coupon codes and other special offers.
December 26 – Qwanza
It’s a week-long celebration honoring the culture and traditions of people of African descent. Depending on how significant they are to your customer base, it might be beneficial to also mark the period. Families usually exchange gifts on the last day of the 7-day holiday, but keep in mind they’re usually homemade. If you do choose to build marketing efforts around this holiday, be mindful of the African heritage and values surrounding it.
December 31 – New Year’s Eve
New Year’s Eve is the last day of the year in the Gregorian calendar, six days after Christmas day. In many countries, New Year’s Eve is celebrated at evening social gatherings, where many people dance, eat, drink and set off fireworks to mark the New Year. Typically, these will be the product categories that people will be looking for on the day. For most businesses, it’s usually a day as slow as Christmas. However, make sure you don’t let the date go unnoticed and plan some communication between December 31 and January 1 wishing your customers, prospects and partners a happy New Year.
January 1 – New Year’s Day
New Year’s Day marks the beginning of the New Year and the most celebrated public holiday, often observed with fireworks at the stroke of midnight as the New Year starts in each time zone. Other global New Year’s Day traditions include making New Year’s resolutions and calling friends and family.
January 22 – Chinese New Year
The Chinese New Year celebrates an optimistic fresh start, so marketing opportunities are endless in terms of brand awareness, sales and customer relationships. Like many Western holidays, Chinese New Year is a time for family reunions, entertainment and celebration, but shopping is also one of the main attractions.
Keeping your target in mind as a priority is crucial, so how about expanding your online interactions through WeChat and Weibo, when it comes to the Chinese market? You could even focus some of your efforts into incorporating the color red in your campaigns! It’s beyond important to remember that global marketing is a concept that is adaptable by region, so do not neglect researching your audience’s cultural background.
And the holiday season is done! But now the real fun starts! And by fun we mean it’s time to step back and analyze all the data collected on your leads. To learn more about holiday traditions around the world and how to address customers and prospects in a more inclusive way, check our blog: Knock, knock: Holiday season’s here – calling for inclusive marketing.
Welcome to Q5!
What is Q5? It’s the downtime, after Christmas, which is often assumed as a time when customers are not looking or shopping for new products. But that’s not completely right.
How many times have you found yourself getting a Christmas gift that makes you run directly to a website to purchase an accessory or something to complement it? Maybe you received a phone that needs a case, a new pair of running shoes that need a matching windbreaker, or a lamp that definitely needs a lightbulb.
Or it’s December 27 and you’re making your New Year’s resolutions which definitely include purchasing a planner, a yoga mat, or a new reusable water bottle.
Q5 is usually a successful time for companies selling products in the self-improvement, health, and fitness areas as customers are setting their intentions for the new year. And whether they intend on keeping them or not, you need to be there to assist them with everything they need. Preparing ad campaigns or partnering with influencers will be highly valuable during this time of the year, so your product can reach its target audience.
And because Q5 is a time usually overlooked by most companies, running ad campaigns can be much cheaper as competitors are busy preparing for the upcoming year.
With all the inputs you gather about your clients in Q5, you can start building a great campaign to ensure next year is as successful as ever!
For a comprehensive holiday marketing guide, check our ebook on how to deliver winning international holiday campaigns worldwide.
If you need help preparing your global holiday marketing campaigns in time for the season, drop us a line.