America’s heavy shopping seasons seem natural to Americans.We see Christmas decorations in October and Valentine’s Day treats at the start of the New Year.
But as American companies increasingly strive to reach online shoppers overseas, they shouldn’t forget to seize the opportunity presented by international holidays and prime sales seasons.
Retailers should apply the same logic around holiday shopping trends to their global ecommerce markets, targeting international online shoppers hungry for American goods at the right times of year.
By identifying key holidays, events, and seasons that will allow them to boost sales abroad just as they do at home, U.S. retailers can further localise their presence internationally by marketing and selling products to the right audience, at the right time.
Here are five top international holidays that U.S. ecommerce retailers selling globally should keep an eye on and start planning for:
1. Valentine’s Day
From stuffed animals to jewelry, Valentine’s Day is a huge spending occasion, but what’s less known about this popular holiday is that it falls on different days in different parts of the world. Brazil celebrates Día dos Namorados (Lover’s Day) on June 12, and Columbia celebrates día del amor y la amistad on the third Saturday of September. Meanwhile, Taiwan has two Valentine’s Day celebrations: February 14 and July 7.
Regardless of where you live, the spending power of this date is not to be underestimated. Hallmark found that 141 million Valentine’s Day cards are exchanged worldwide, and recent data suggests that 42% of Europeans spend on average 36-50 euros for Valentine’s Day alone.
2. Black Friday and Cyber Monday
Black Friday and Cyber Monday the few days after Thanksgiving known for its shopping frenzies to secure amazing deals have expanded beyond the border, enticing international shoppers to come to U.S. websites and look for deals. The numbers show a dramatic spike in international attention to this traditionally U.S.-based shopping holiday: FiftyOne Global Ecommerce found last year that its partner merchants daily global sales surged 88% during the four-day timeframe worldwide.
FiftyOne also found that daily sales more than doubled in some countries, with cross-border shoppers in Canada, Brazil, and Singapore ramping up their spending most dramatically.Thinking globally, retailers can tailor messaging to their UK customers, who refer to Cyber Monday as Mega Monday. This is by far the biggest online shopping day of the year for Brits, and kicks off a two-week holiday shopping surge in the lead-up to Christmas.
In India, the month of October marks the beginning of Diwali, the biggest Hindu festival known as thefestival of lights—and also known for ushering in the heaviest spending quarter of the year.The ecommerce industry in India is booming, and the season of celebration beginning in October is no exception; a recent Paypal survey found that the Diwali season brings a big boost to ecommerce in India, as up to 75% of Indian consumers intend to shop online to avoid crowds and buy from home.
4. Chinese New Year
The weeks leading up to the Chinese New Year is a heavy shopping season in China, and as a greaterpercentage of commerce moves online, US retailers are well positioned to cater to this market. Because the track of the new moon changes from year to year, Chinese New Year can begin anytime between late January and mid-February. However, it is important to note that many actual selling and shipping services shut down during the holiday itself, so advance sales are key. The next Chinese New Year falls on February 10, 2013, and other New Year celebrations tied to the lunar calendar, like in Korea and Vietnam, should also be considered.
5. Japan’s Summer Bonus Season
Japan consistently projects higher consumer spending in months when summer bonuses are distributed, as summertime is known for its annual bonuses among large Japanese firms. In today’s economic climate, Japanese consumers are choosing to save more than they used to, but the extra income in these months is still leading to increased spending on luxury goods, travel, and leisure relative to months of the year. 90-five per cent of Japan residents surveyed in May 2012 said they expected to receive a bonus in summer 2012.
Overall, it’s Time to Compete Like a Local
These are certainly not the only global holidays to watch out for, and international ecommerce retailers should always be thinking of local holidays and seasons to target with customised promotions and sales — including:
- Tax refund season
- Back to school season
- Spiritual celebrations and festivals
- Local Independence Days and other national celebrations worldwide.
As online shopping takes off globally, peak sales seasons must be capitalised upon in new ways. Be it identifying new holidays or customising efforts in other ways, these are the critical next steps in successfully engaging consumers abroad and on the ground where they are.
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