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shopping holidays to boost peak season cross-border ecommerce sales

9 shopping holidays to boost peak season cross-border ecommerce sales

By Sophia Limpert

November 15, 2022 / 0 min read - Last updated: November 16, 2022

Peak season is the perfect time for retailers to increase cross-border ecommerce sales and attract new customers. Holiday discounts, gift-giving, commercialized festivities, traditions, parties, social pressures, etc., create a massive influx of consumer spending. Peak season online spending is expected to generate $910 billion USD in 2022.

Many consumers in the U.S. only think of Black Friday and Cyber Monday when it comes to peak season, but the reality is that the year’s closing months are packed with holidays and opportunities to attract customers from all over the world. With technology making it easier than ever to sell to global markets, no matter where a retailer is located, there are a handful of big shopping days that retailers should be considering as they make plans for peak sales.

The holidays come with millions of online shoppers that are ready to spend money. With that in mind, we have compiled a list of holidays that retailers with international capabilities shouldn’t miss out on. Offering discounts or sales on the following holidays can help you gain new customers, compete for their business, and hopefully give your Q4 sales a boost:

1. Singles’ Day: November 11th

Singles’ Day originated in China, so naturally, that is where it is most popular. The purpose of Singles’ Day is pretty self explanatory; it is a day to celebrate people who are single, where the idea is to celebrate or treat themselves. It was first celebrated in 1993 on 11-11, which is four singles (ones), and quickly gained traction all over the world.

Singles’ Day reached $139 billion in sales in 2021. While its popularity is evident internationally, most of the sales (outside of China) come from U.S., UK, and EU businesses. No matter what retailers are selling, they should be catering to single shoppers on Double 11 (another name for Singles’ Day).

  • Global online sales (2021): $139 billion USD
  • Shopping dates: November 11th
  • Origin country: China
  • Target countries: China, the UK, Southeast Asia, and the EU
Is your ecommerce website ready for international shoppers?Save your international customers time and money by allowing them to pre-pay duties, taxes, and fees.

2. Thanksgiving: November 24th, 2022

Although Thanksgiving is an American holiday, many international consumers are aware of it and use it as a day to snag deals from U.S. businesses. Thanksgiving is a time for friends and families to come together to share a meal and give thanks. It also doubles as a great time for shoppers to do their holiday shopping. In 2021, consumers spent $5.14 billion in online sales alone on Thanksgiving.

Thanksgiving kicks off the busiest shopping weekend of the year, which consists of Thanksgiving, Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, and Cyber Monday. Thanksgiving has become one of the most lucrative days due to Black Friday deals starting early. Not all consumers were keen on the idea of waking up at 3:00 am or waiting in a cold parking lot to capitalize on Black Friday deals. Retailers caught their shoppers’ drift and began offering the deals earlier and earlier, so they are now online and starting the night before Black Friday.

  • Global online sales (2021): $5.14 billion
  • Shopping dates: Last Thursday in November
  • Origin country: The U.S.
  • Target countries: The U.S. (mostly)

3. Black Friday: November 25th, 2022

Perhaps the most well-known day for its holiday deals is Black Friday. A day that started out as a common “sick day” for a long Thanksgiving weekend in the 1950s has transformed into one of the busiest days for retailers. Black Friday started as the busiest in-store shopping day of the year but has progressed into an online event as online sales have become more popular over the years.

In comparison to a day of regular sales, this particular Friday receives a 663% increase in sales. Black Friday is famous for its insane deals, so retailers should plan on offering some noticeable discounts to make the most of this holiday.

  • Global online sales (2021): $9 billion USD
  • Shopping dates: 12:00 am on the Friday following Thanksgiving
  • Origin country: The U.S.
  • Target countries: The U.S., the UK, the EU, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, Brazil, and Mexico

4. Small Business Saturday: November 26th, 2022

Small Business Saturday was started in 2010 by American Express, hoping to encourage consumers to support local and smaller businesses, which are usually beaten out by retail giants, such as Amazon and Walmart. Small Business Saturday specials are a great way for retailers to advertise and attract shoppers to their businesses.

In 2021, U.S. shoppers spent over $20 billion on Small Business Saturday, making this a great time for small businesses to promote their products and gain sales.

  • Global sales (2021): $20 billion USD (not exclusive to online)
  • Shopping dates: Saturday following Thanksgiving
  • Origin country: The U.S.
  • Target countries: The U.S.

5. Cyber Monday: November 28th, 2022

Closing out the most popular shopping weekend of the year is none other than Cyber Monday, the Monday following Thanksgiving. Starting out as the internet’s response to Black Friday’s in-store shopping sales, Cyber Monday promised the best online deals for those that did not get their holiday shopping finished on Black Friday.

Since its conception, online shopping has been gaining traction, but it spiked during Covid-19 and has not slowed down. Shoppers spent $10.7 billion on Cyber Monday last year (2021), and this year that amount is expected to rise to $11.2 billion. Ecommerce offers the convenience and comfort of shopping from home, the ability to compare products and prices from all over the world, all while avoiding in-store crowds.

Again, customers are expecting discounts and deals, so retailers need to deliver in order to get their portion of the billions Cyber Monday is bound to bring in.

  • Global online sales (2021): $10.7 billion USD
  • Shopping dates: Monday following Thanksgiving
  • Origin country: The U.S.
  • Target countries: Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Bulgaria, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Croatia, Egypt, Finland, Germany, Iceland, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, Peru, Portugal, Romania, Russia, South Africa, South Korea, Uganda, the UK, and the U.S.

6. Super Saturday: December 17th, 2022

Super Saturday is named such because it is the last Saturday before Christmas. We have all been guilty of some last-minute shopping, and that is what Super Saturday is all about. Consumers spent $38.6 billion on Super Saturday in 2021. Since 74% of consumers plan to get some of their holiday shopping done at the last minute, Super Saturday is an opportunity to offer promotions and discounts to draw in customers. Be sure to offer quick shipping options so gift buyers can still get their gifts on time.

  • Global sales (2021): $38.6 billion USD (not exclusive to online)
  • Shopping dates: Last Saturday before Christmas
  • Origin country: The U.S.
  • Target countries: The U.S. and Poland

7. Christmas Eve: December 24th

While Super Saturday may be for last-minute shoppers, Christmas Eve is for last-second shoppers. The night before Christmas is truly the last chance to buy gifts for the biggest spending holiday of the year.

Retailers often offer further discounts on December 24th because they know that a lot of consumers have either unintentionally procrastinated or intentionally waited for the best deal. A study found that 51% of customers wait until Christmas Eve to do their holiday shopping. Although gifts ordered on Christmas Eve will not arrive in time for Christmas, some shoppers print out the receipt and wrap that or purchase electronic gift cards that can be sent to the recipient’s email instantly.

  • Global online sales (2021): Unavailable
  • Shopping dates: December 24th
  • Origin country: Rome
  • Target countries: Australia, Canada, the UK, and the U.S.

8. Boxing Day: December 26th

Christmas is over, and so is the chaotic shopping, right? Not exactly. Consumers wanting post-Christmas clearance items will be credit card ready. Boxing Day is especially popular in the UK. It was traditionally a day in which servants were given the day off and presented with gifts, but by the 21st century, it has become a day associated with shopping and sporting events. In 2021, it was estimated that 11 million Brits were expected to spend 3.9 billion GBP on Boxing Day.

Ecommerce shopping is the best option for consumers the day after Christmas because a lot of brick-and-mortar stores are closed on December 26th. Boxing Day is an opportunity for shoppers to cross off the last items on their wish lists that they did not receive the day before or to cash in the gift cards they received as gifts while the clearance sales last. It is also an opportunity for retailers to offer discounts on the stock they were expecting to sell out of before Christmas.

  • Global online sales (2021): Unavailable
  • Shopping dates: December 26th
  • Origin country: The UK
  • Target countries: Australia, Canada, the UK, Trinidad and Tobago, and New Zealand

9. New Year’s Day: January 1st

After days and weeks of celebrating, New Year’s Day is usually when Christmas and holiday clearance sales are winding down. It is another holiday for consumers to take advantage of and cash in the gift cards they received if they are looking to find sales for the goodies they did not get. Because a lot of people have the day off on New Year’s, it is the perfect time for online shopping.

  • Global online sales (2021): Unavailable
  • Shopping dates: January 1st
  • Country of origination: Mesopotamia
  • Target countries: Nearly all countries

Recap

In 2021, 2.14 billion consumers were shopping online, which makes up nearly a third of the global population. This amount is not expected to decrease, so retailers should be marketing their products to shoppers all over the world. While peak season originated in the U.S., savvy international ecommerce shoppers know that certain holiday dates will offer promotions and deals, so retailers should plan on offering discounts to be competitive on those days.

The holiday season and closing months of the year present great opportunities to sell. The dates above are days when consumers are most active online and comparing deals and discounts, which means they are also days for retailers to maximize sales. As a retailer, even if you do not celebrate these holidays, it is important to be aware of buyers who will be hunting for promotions during the dates listed above.

Knowing these dates and strategically planning sales and marketing campaigns around them can increase your sales dramatically. Mark your calendars, get planning, and have a happy holiday season!

FAQ

What other non-peak season holidays increase cross-border ecommerce sales (by country)?

References:

Sophia Limpert
Sophia Limpert

I discovered my love for writing when I was just 13. I’m fulfilling my passion for writing at Zonos and expanding my professional and creative writing career amongst the cross-border ecommerce community. I’m working to teach readers in an enticing and educational way about the ecommerce world.

Cross Border, International Ecommerce,