Cross-border commerce got a lot more popular with shoppers around the world in 2020, and those new buying habits are likely to stick even after we can start to go back to in-person activities.
This is good news for online store owners, and it can get even better. How?
Nearly every country has holidays that give online sellers a Black Friday-style boost, and many of these events are at different times of the year from big US sales.
By knowing when the biggest shopping events happen in different countries, you can plan promotions, expand your market reach, and grow your revenue year-round instead of relying on domestic sales at the end of the year for most of your income.
Even if you don’t want to sell overseas, there are also US communities that celebrate some of these events, especially Lunar New Year and Diwali, so read on!
January-February: Lunar New Year
Good luck, prosperity, family time, and a fresh start are the themes of most Lunar New Year celebrations. From China and Mongolia to Singapore, Indonesia and beyond, this holiday season goes by many names and has traditions that vary by community, with more than 1.5 billion people celebrating worldwide, according to USA Today.
What do people shop for? Depending on local customs, shoppers may be looking for gift items like beautifully decorated red envelopes (hong bao) to hold cash gifts, fresh fruit, tea, flowers, coins, candy and chocolates, and toys representing the new year’s signature animal from the Chinese zodiac.
In 2021, it’s the Year of the Ox, representing the concepts of hard work, helpfulness and reliability.
When does it happen? As you might guess from the name, each year’s Lunar New Year date depends on the moon. It typically falls between mid-January and mid-February and lasts a couple of weeks.
Where is it celebrated? China, East and Southeast Asia, the U.S. and in Asian communities worldwide
March: Consumer Day (Dia do Consumidor)
In Brazil, shoppers get their own holiday and lots of deals. Consumer Day has only been around since 2014, but it’s already popular among Brazil’s deal-savvy shoppers, who overwhelmingly prefer to buy on their phones instead of on computers.
What do people shop for? According to PagBrasil, many shoppers stock up ahead of Easter on chocolates and other holiday goodies. They’re also looking for discounts on clothing, beauty, electronics and home goods.
When does it happen? March 15, but many online stores offer a full week of deals
Where is it celebrated? Brazil, the world’s 10th largest retail eCommerce market, according to trade publication The Paypers.
May: Hot Sale
Hot Sale week in Latin America has a lot in common with Prime Day. Both are major sale holidays that focus on marketplace sellers and brand discounts–and both rake in the revenue. Hot Sale 2020 generated US$994 million in Mexico, according to event sponsor AMVO, the Mexican Association of Online Sales.
What do people shop for? Apparel, smartphones, other electronics and home goods—especially appliances—are popular categories.
When does it happen? Hot Sale happens during the last week in May. Start and end dates are chosen by AMVO, but as of this writing the 2021 dates aren’t set yet. Check the official Mexican site for updates.
Where is it celebrated? Mexico, where it’s the nation’s largest online shopping event; Argentina, which is home to Mercado Libre, Latin America’s largest eCommerce marketplace; and Colombia.
July or October? Prime Day
You don’t have to sell on Amazon to ride the $10.4 billion Prime Day wave. You just have to know when it is. Any merchant can offer discounts at the same time as this huge sales event – as long as you promote them heavily so your customers don’t overlook them.
What do people shop for? The short answer is “everything,” but electronics are the most popular sellers, especially speakers, televisions and fitness equipment.
When does it happen? Historically July, but it moved to October in 2020 to avoid pandemic-related fulfillment crunches. As of this post, Amazon hasn’t yet announced its 2021 Prime Day plans, so keep an eye out.
Where is it celebrated? Everywhere Amazon sells
This five-day Festival of Lights is a Hindu, Jain and Sikh religious holiday and a time to celebrate with family and friends.
What do people shop for? Home décor, devotional items like lanterns and candles, fresh flowers, fruit and sweets, sparklers and festive outfits. Within India, Diwali 2020 eCommerce was expected to generate US$7 billion, according to Business Insider. Because so much popular Diwali merchandise is fragile or perishable, it’s wise to focus on customers within a reasonable shipping distance from your location.
When does it happen? Diwali’s exact dates change from year to year, but it’s always in October or November.
Where is it celebrated? India, the U.S. and in Hindu communities worldwide. For example, the Cotton Bowl in Dallas hosts a Diwali celebration that draws about 60,000 people.
December: Boxing Day
Put down your dukes, pardner, Boxing Day is about gifting, not hitting. The BBC says the day-after-Christmas tradition started in the UK during Victorian times, when the wealthy gave servants and people in need boxes full of gifts.
What do people shop for? Boxing Day is now a day to eat turkey sandwiches, watch soccer and shop for Black Friday-style deals on cold-weather clothing, toys, electronics, holiday decorations and workout gear. Your site should be ready to handle plenty of traffic if you’re promoting Boxing Day deals.
When does it happen? Dec. 26
Where is it celebrated? Canada, UK, New Zealand and Australia, where shoppers spent an estimated AU$930 million online on Boxing Day 2020.
Want more tips to grow your eCommerce business? They’re waiting for you in our Startup & Small Business section.