Believe it or not, 2021 is almost over. With the holiday season in full swing, it’s a good time to start thinking about what comes after the celebrations are over.
To help you kick-start your 2022 planning, we’ve compiled a list of some holidays from around the world for you to take note of and consider as part of your new year strategy.
New Year’s Day - 1st
The first day of a new year - around the world, different countries and cultures celebrate today differently. Many January sales begin today, so consider whether or not you want to participate in this. It can be a good way to clear out stock from the holidays that’s either seasonal, or won’t be restocked. This can free up warehouse space, and make way for new products you have lined up for the rest of the year.
Blue Monday - 17th
Not a true holiday, but still a good one for the ecommerce promo calendar. Blue Monday is the third Monday of January, and the theory goes that it’s the “most depressing day of the year” as everyone is feeling the post-holiday hangover. This is a good opportunity to brighten up their day with some kind of flash sale that’ll give them something to look forward to arriving on their doorstep.
Martin Luther King Jr Day - 17th
Today is a federal holiday in the USA marking the birthday of Martin Luther King Jr. It’s a day marked by reflection, respect, and celebration of the life of one of the most important civil rights leaders of recent history.
Lunar New Year - 1st to 15th
Who’s ready for the Year of the Tiger? Lunar New Year is celebrated by many East Asian countries, based on the use of the lunar calendar. Most commonly, people use Chinese New Year and Lunar New Year synonymously, however there are many East Asian countries that observe LNY such as Vietnam and Korea. Whether or not you sell into these regions, it’s still worth observing as many other countries have significant East Asian communities.
Galentine’s Day - 13th
Fans of Parks and Recreation will know this day off by heart - a day to celebrate all the amazing women in your life ahead of Valentine’s Day. While an “unofficial” holiday, we’ve still included it in this list as it’s grown in popularity in the last few years and if you’re a business with a predominantly female audience then it could be a great alternative to traditional Valentine’s celebrations.
Valentine’s Day - 14th
Whether or not you believe in celebrating Valentine’s Day, many loved up couples around the world certainly do. Half of US adults in 2021 planned to spend for Valentine’s, totalling to over $21 Billion. A great opportunity for gift guides and recommendations, to give those early year sales a bit of a boost.
Black History Month
The month of February is a chance to reflect and remember events important to African diaspora, and celebrate the voices of the community. Originally conceived in the United States, it is also widely observed in Canada. The United Kingdom and Ireland also celebrate Black History Month, but in October.
International Women’s Day - 8th
IWD is a global holiday to commemorate the achievements and celebrate the voices of women around the world. It has been a focal point of women’s rights movements, to bring awareness to issues of gender inequality, violence against women, and reproductive rights. Today is a good day to draw special attention to the women involved in your business across different areas.
White Day - 14th
While much of the Western world celebrates Valentine’s Day as a day for both men and women, it’s a bit different in East Asia where they celebrate both Valentine’s Day and White Day. On Valentine’s Day, girls and women give gifts to their male partners or as a confession of love, then one month later White Day is a chance for the boys and men to reciprocate. It started in Japan but has spread across other East Asian countries, and in South Korea they also celebrate Black Day for those who didn’t receive anything, and is often marked by eating comfort food, and spending time with friends.
Mother’s Day (UK/Ireland) - 27th
Mother’s Day falls earlier in the year in the UK than in the US, in fact did you know that there are over 30 different dates around the world for Mother’s Day? If you sell into different regions, it’s worth knowing which days change date.
Celebrate with offering gift ideas and recommendations, as well as promoting any gifting options you offer such as gift wrapping, notes, or personalization. Be sensitive also to those who may not wish to celebrate Mother’s Day and find this day particularly difficult by offering the option ahead of time to opt out of Mother’s Day marketing campaigns.
Ramadan - 2nd
Ramadan occurs on the 9th month of the Islamic calendar, during which those who observe it fast during the day for the entire month. In their beliefs, fasting allows them to focus on their faith and teaches self-discipline as well as reminding them of the suffering of the poor. They may also give up bad habits, and dedicate more time to doing good. The end of Ramadan, Eid Ul-Fitr is a celebration marked with feasts, gifts, and spending time with family. This is an important day to mark, even just as an acknowledgement, to show respect to your Muslim followers and customers.
Passover - 15th to 23rd
In the Jewish faith, Passover commemorates when their ancestors were freed from slavery by Moses in the story of Exodus. It is celebrated with a series of rituals, each marking a different part of the story, and during the period of observance Jewish families will reflect on history, eat special foods, and gather with friends and family. Another holiday to acknowledge to show respect to Jewish customers.
Easter Weekend - 17th
Easter weekend encompasses Good Friday and Easter Sunday, where those of Christian faith celebrate Jesus’ resurrection. In recent times, it is also celebrated secularly as it is typically also a public holiday. If your store revolves around kids, chocolate, or even has a strong affinity to Christianity, get ready for Easter weekend. While you may not run specific promotions or sales for Easter, you may want to consider seasonal products or bundles that will interest your customers who typically shop with you at this time of year.
Earth Day - 22nd
Earth Day is an annual event to bring attention and awareness to environmental movements and issues. With sustainability becoming a growing trend in ecommerce, merchants should look at what meaningful action they can take to be part of this event. That may be donating a share of profits to green organizations, demonstrating how your store is committed to sustainable practices, or finding out which ways in which sustainability is important to your customers and how your store can do more.
Mother’s Day (US) - 9th
We’ve said this is the US version of Mother’s Day, however it’s actually the same day for Canada, Denmark, Taiwan, Brazil, and many many other countries. Stores will typically see an uptick in sales around this time of year for those celebrating Mother’s Day - even if you don’t think your products are suitable, you might be surprised! Gone are the days of the typical gifts of flowers and chocolates, many gift buyers are looking for something a bit more unique and that may be related to an interest or hobby your store specializes in.
Father’s Day - 19th
The other big parent related gifting opportunity is for all the dads out there. Consider how you’ll dress up your store to make the most of this holiday - offer bundles and special promotions on products that are popular for gifting at this time of year, or even shipping deals to entice those undecided customers. Create temporary collections you can host front and center on your store, and be sure to promote gift cards as an option for those customers who really don’t know what to get for their dad.
As with Mother’s Day, you may want to consider offering email subscribers to opt out of Father’s Day marketing activities - this will be appreciated by those who may find this day difficult.
Juneteenth - 19th
Today is a federal holiday in the United States commemorating the emancipation of African American slaves, and is usually observed by celebrating African American culture. It’s an important day to recognize and acknowledge, and to uplift the voices of those in the community - especially in ecommerce, it’s a good day to put special focus on Black-owned businesses.
The month of June is also Pride Month around the world; a month to celebrate the LGBTQIA+ community, and commemorate what they’ve been through both past and present. Pride isn’t just an event that means you throw some rainbow colors on your marketing material, it should be an opportunity to truly highlight the community as part of a year-round commitment. People see through companies who “rainbow-wash” their brand; use Pride Month as an opportunity to do more, donating to charities and organizations, and sharing the voices and stories of those in your own community.
Canada Day - 1st
Canada Day is a federal holiday celebrating the anniversary of the Canadian Confederation - one of the most important days in the sovereignty of Canada. It’s a day marked by celebrations - fireworks, social gatherings, food and drink - but in more recent times has also come to be a day to reflect on the darker aspects of Canada’s history with its indigineous population. It’s an important day in the Canadian calendar, therefore it’s worth acknowledging if you sell into Canada.
Independence Day (US) - 4th
Fireworks, parades, barbecues, and parties - the Fourth of July is a big celebration in the United States commemorating the Declaration of Independence. If your store sells anything that could be used in the festivities, then it may be worth creating “4th of July prep” guides, running special promotions, or creating geographically targeted email/SMS marketing campaigns to highlight your products ahead of the big day.
Bastille Day (France) - 14th
Another annual day of celebration, Bastille Day is the name commonly used to refer to La Fête Nationale Française. It commemorates the anniversary of the Storming of Bastille, one of the key dates in the French Revolution. As with many other national days celebrated around the world, today is marked by fireworks, festivals, parties, and parades.
Labor Day (US) - 5th
A federal holiday, Labor Day is celebrated in the United States honoring and recognizing the American labor movement and the contributions of laborers to the history of the USA. Today unofficially marks other events such as the “unofficial last day of Summer”, as well as when many fall sports for example the NFL kicks off the Thursday following Labor Day. It’s also common for sales and promotions, and is one of the largest shopping weekends in the US after Black Friday. If you’re a US based merchant or sell into the US, it’s worth coming up with some Labor Day sale activity.
Grandparents’ Day (US) - 11th
It isn’t just moms and dads that get a special day, Grandparents’ Day is also common worldwise. In the United States it’s celebrated the Sunday after Labor Day, but the date changes for different regions around the world and each region celebrates differently. For example in the UK and Ireland it is noted as the 2nd of October, however it isn’t widely celebrated. As with Father’s Day and Mother’s Day, look to promote gift guides for Grandparents as well as creating temporary collections to help customers who may come to you looking for something special.
Rosh Hashanah - 25th
Rosh Hashanah celebrates the Jewish New Year, according to the Hebrew calendar. It is celebrated with lighting candles, eating festive food, attending services, and reflecting on the year just passed.
Back to School
When summer vacation is over, it’s time to get back to hitting the books. The exact date that students go back to school changes based on region but in most cases it will be sometime in September. It’s worth double checking this depending on which regions you sell into, so you can start promoting any back to school offers at the right time. The “back to school” product list isn’t just books and pencils, it spans across backpacks, activewear, everyday apparel, stationery, tech, and more, so if your products fit the bill you may want to run some back to school campaigns.
Thanksgiving (Canada) - 10th
In Canada, Thanksgiving celebrates the harvest and other blessings from the past year. It’s a day to spend time with family, eating good food and marking the start of fall. It bears a lot of similarities to the US version of Thanksgiving in terms of some traditions such as eating turkey and family gatherings, however is decidedly different in many ways such as its origins, so it’s worth wishing your Canadian customers a happy Thanksgiving when it rolls around.
Indigenous Peoples’ Day (US) - 11th
Today is a national holiday in the United States to honor and celebrate the indigineous peoples of America, and to commemorate their history and culture. It’s worth noting that there is also an International Indigineous Peoples’ Day founded by the United Nations on August 9th.
Singles’ Day - 11th
So we’ve celebrated couples, parents, being in love...but what about all the singles out there? November 11th marks Singles’ Day, a day for everyone to celebrate flying solo. It originated in China, with its original name being “Bachelor’s Day” with the date being chosen because the number 1 resembles a “bare stick” which is Chinese slang for an unmarried man as they’re a tree without any family branches.
You can use this as an extra opportunity for a “treat yourself” kind of day, rather than focussing on being single as a negative - treat it as a day for your customers to celebrate themselves.
Halloween - 31st
Spooky season culminates every year with Halloween - everyone’s favorite excuse to dress up and eat candy. While not every store will have products suited to Halloween, that doesn’t mean you can’t celebrate it with content and dressing your store up for the occasion with a spooky color palette.
Veteran’s Day (US) - 11th
An annual federal holiday to pay tribute to the veterans of the United States Army, Navy, Airforce, and other associated military. This also coincides with Armistice Day and Remembrance Day which mark the end of World War I. It may be marked by parades and other celebrations, and some businesses offer special discounts or offers to veterans.
Diwali - 24th
Also known as the Festival of Lights, Diwali is one of the major festivals celebrated by Sikh, Jain, and Hindu cultures as well as some Buddhists. It’s a festival of new beginnings, joy, warmth, and light, and is marked with feasts, time with family, fireworks, and more.
Thanksgiving (US) - 24th
One of the biggest dates in the US holiday calendar, Thanksgiving is a time for family, food, sports, and more. It marks the beginning of the holiday season for many families, and offers a time to reflect and show appreciation for the year passed.
For ecommerce stores, and indeed retailers all over the world, it marks the beginning of the holiday shopping season as the Friday after Thanksgiving is Black Friday. Therefore many start their sales on Thanksgiving if not earlier.
Black Friday Weekend - 25th
Mark your calendars, the biggest shopping weekend of the year kicks off Friday 25th November next year. Black Friday and Cyber Monday are huge opportunities for merchants to end the year with a bang. We’ve got plenty of advice about how to prepare, but as a note now we’d recommend you start planning for Black Friday as early as May. This gives you time for product development, campaign planning, inventory forecasting and more so you can hit the ground running in November. Do some post-BFCM data debriefing in January 2022 to ensure you have a good understanding of this year’s results while it’s still fresh in your mind.
Hanukkah - 18th to 26th
Hanukkah is one of the most important celebrations in the Jewish calendar. With a focus on family, happiness, and joy, it’s a wonderful time of the year. It's important to note that Hanukkah is not "Jewish Christmas", as it's often mistaken. Be sure to read up on the traditions and etiquette, so that you can appropriately celebrate with your Jewish customers.
Christmas Day - 25th
There’s a lot of focus placed on Christmas toward the end of the year, as it’s celebrated by many secular households as well as practicing religious families. With holidays like Christmas, it’s important that you let people know cut-off dates for shipping so as to avoid any disappointment as well as your opening hours if you have a physical outlet.
Be sure to acknowledge those in your customer base who celebrate Christmas as part of their religion, as this will show greater compassion than just Santa and gifts and eggnog.
Boxing Day - 26th
This is a holiday primarily observed in the UK and other former/current British territories such as New Zealand, Canada, and South Africa. There is a lot of debate as to the origins of Boxing Day, but wherever it came from it’s observed as a bank/government holiday. For many, it’s treated as a day for shopping the post-Christmas sales, so if you’re selling in the UK or other countries that observe Boxing Day it may be worth running a few of your new year sales early.
New Year’s Eve - 31st
And just like that, the year is over! New Year’s Eve is big around the world, and there are plenty of things people need to make their last party of the year their best. People need outfits to wear, things to eat and drink, party decorations, glassware, music, and more, so you could consider a temporary NYE collection on your store if you can guarantee delivery before the big day.
“National Days” and picking the right holidays
We’ve listed a number of religious and cultural holidays, as well as some commonly celebrated events. However there are a huge number of “national days” celebrating everything from best friends to hats to cookies and more. If you can think of something, it probably has a national day in its honor. Therefore you may want to explore and see if there are any fun national days related to your industry or product niche. For example if you sell cereal, then you may want to celebrate National Cereal Day (it’s March 7th by the way).
When it comes to picking the right holidays and what to do for them - a promotion or just a note of observation - then it’s entirely dependent on your business, your audience, and what you feel is appropriate. Do some research into what etiquette is common on these different holidays, as this will help guide what you choose to do to acknowledge it. Some will be appropriate to run a sale for, whilst for others acknowledging them would be appreciated though an offer or sale may come off crass or inappropriate. If in doubt, speak to someone who celebrates that holiday, and ask for their opinion on what your plans are.
It’s worth noting that you don’t need to do a big promotion or sale for every single holiday - pick the ones that will be beneficial, appropriate, and relevant to your business. You don’t even need to acknowledge every holiday; for example if you’re based in the US and don’t sell much or anything into Australia, it wouldn’t make much sense to celebrate Australia Day. If however your products were produced in or inspired by Australia, then it may make sense to celebrate even if you don’t do much business there. It all comes down to your business, your audience, and what makes sense.
We haven’t marked every significant religious and cultural holiday in our article, but there are plenty to be aware of. Here are some additional dates to add to the calendar, that may be relevant to your customers and business:
- Australia Day - 26th January
- St Patricks Day - March 17th
- Purim - March 16th/17th
- Holi - March 18th
- Beltane - May 1st
- Cinco de Mayo - May 5th
- Shavuot - June 4th to 6th
- Muharram - July 30th
- Mid Autumn Festival - September 10th
- Yom Kippur - October 4th
- Samhain - October 31st
- Kwanzaa - December 26th