Each year online retailers thoroughly prepare for the increased traffic and sales that occur during the holiday season and plan special promotions for the biggest shopping days such as Black Friday and Cyber Monday. While the fourth quarter is the most crucial for retailers in the United States there are several other holidays and peak shopping times to consider if selling internationally.
Black Friday and Cyber Monday have been huge boons to eCommerce sales in the U.S. for the past several years, and in 2011 Cyber Monday resulted in an estimated $1.25 billion spent online. But the allure of great deals and discounts on these prime shopping days has expanded beyond the United States. FiftyOne Global eCommerce found that in the four days from Black Friday to Cyber Monday last year their partner merchants realized an 88% increase in daily global sales with the most international shoppers coming from Canada, Brazil and Singapore. The Monday after Thanksgiving is also the biggest online shopping day of the year in the UK where it is known as Mega Monday.
The fourth quarter is not only the largest spending quarter in the U.S., but also in India. While November and December are huge sales months in the U.S. the heaviest spending month in India is October during the Diwali holiday and festival. India has a rapidly growing eCommerce market and according to a recent survey from PayPal 75 percent of consumers in India intend to shop online during the Diwali season to avoid crowds.
The first quarter is also a prime online shopping time in many countries where consumers spend during New Year’s holiday and Valentine’s Day celebrations. Online retailers outside of China can still benefit from the increased spending leading up to the Chinese New Year, although advance sales are the focus as many shipping and other services shut down during the holiday. Many online sales can occur in the weeks leading up to Valentine’s Day as well, and this holiday isn’t only celebrated in the United States. El Día del Amor y la Amistad (Day of Love and Friendship) is celebrated on the same day in Mexico. Taiwan celebrates Valentine’s Day on both February 14 and July 7 while several other countries have Valentine’s Day equivalents during different parts of the year. Lover’s Day is celebrated on June 12 in Brazil while Columbia observes el Día del Amor y la Amistad on the third Saturday of September.
When selling online internationally it is important to consider local holidays and events that can contribute to consumer spending. Just as retailers prepare promotions and advertising for the biggest shopping days in the U.S., similar strategies should be executed in international markets to maximize online sales during these peak times.
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