Savvy shoppers know that holidays mean savings, and spending spikes around several major holidays throughout the year. Whether or not the products you sell in your online store relate to each holiday doesn’t matter if you create promotions and sales that get conversions around those special times of the year. Having a well-planned holiday calendar means you can let your customers know of the special offers that will entice them to shop.
In this comprehensive list, we cover the major shopping holidays - not necessarily the most celebrated or historically significant ones, but the ones where consumers tend to spend the most. Holidays have an emotional appeal for shoppers - it’s a chance to get together with loved ones, celebrate together and tune out of the everyday humdrum. Shopify store owners can benefit from this connection and appeal to the sentiment each holiday brings.
- Black Friday and Cyber Monday
- Christmas and New Years
- Super Bowl
- Valentine’s Day
- Easter Weekend
- Mother’s Day
- Father’s Day
- Back to School
Black Friday and Cyber Monday
November 29th & December 2nd, 2019
The National Retail Federation ranks the winter holidays as one of the highest spending periods of the year. According to them, the average shopper spent around $300 in 2018!
Online retailers may have an edge during this busy weekend, as Black Friday is known to be a hectic and stressful brick-and-mortar experience. The pushing, shoving and competing for product is minimized when you’re shopping online!
Prepare by firstly checking which of your products sold well last year during the Black Friday weekend. Even if they weren’t on sale then, consider slashing the prices to get those conversions. Shoppers will be looking for REALLY big savings during Black Friday, the kind they can’t get during other times of the year.
Make sure your mobile site is optimized, your check-out process is seamless and your site works perfectly. Having a well-functioning site isn’t just a Black Friday preparation - your site should work well all year round!
Christmas and New Years
December 25th, 2019 & January 1st, 2020
This is arguably one of the biggest holidays people shop for. Presents for family, lovers, co-workers, your dog, that nice lady across the hall...The list goes on. Not to mention decorations and food, which are another big part of Christmas and New Years celebrations.
Ensuring that you have enough inventory, that your website can handle the extra traffic and that items will be shipped in time is of the utmost importance. The National Retail Federation estimates that holiday sales between November and December will be around $730 billion dollars. Compared to the rest of the holidays, this is a huge amount of spending. Make sure your store is ready for the extra visitors.
Tip: Remember, sales and promotions are important to consumers. There’s a thrill to knowing how much they’re saving, so if you’re having special deals show the original price and how much they’re saving.
February 2nd, 2020
Most people spend money on food and alcohol for this holiday, so for a lot of Shopify store owners this seems like a holiday to miss out on. However, a promotion or sale is loved by all, whether or not they’re a football fan. The total spending for this holiday was $14.8 billion this year, and more than 20 million adults purchase accessories and clothes for the event.
February 14th, 2020
While this isn’t an official holiday and nobody gets the day off, it’s one lovers love to shell out on. Spending for 2019 was approximate $20 billion - no chump change. Love and relationships play an important part in peoples’ lives - retailers can benefit from this by promoting Valentine’s Day sales and stocking products that work well as gifts for loved ones.
Some may go for the cliché gifts of chocolate, teddy bears with saccharine messages and jewellery, but there is also a trend toward an “anti-Valentine's” sentiment. Whichever way your online store chooses to go, acknowledge this holiday for lovers with sales or promos and get a piece of the conversion action.
April 12th & April 13th, 2020
When spring is in the air, so is consumer spending. Easter is a family oriented holiday, centered around chocolate, the Easter Bunny and saying goodbye to the colder months. According to the National Retail Federation, the average planned spending among those celebrating Easter in 2019 is $151. Even if your store doesn’t sell Easter related products, you can still get in on the action. Shoppers will be looking for Easter sales, so consider having some promotions centered around this holiday.
May 10th, 2020
This is a big one - Mother’s day is embraced by retailers everywhere and consumers are reminded of it through advertisements many weeks before the actual day. Finding the perfect present for mom can be a lot of pressure, and Shopify store owners can alleviate some of that pressure by making it easy to buy a gift that’s worthy of this holiday.
Total spending for 2019 was approximately $25 billion, and that number is only likely to grow in 2020. Make the most of the soft spots shoppers have for their mothers by promoting a Mother's Day gift that’s great in both value and quality.
June 21st, 2020
Not long after Mother’s Day has come and gone, Father’s Day rolls along to honor the other parent. While a slightly different vibe and flavor, this holiday is no less important. Clothing, special outings and other gifts are bought and gifted. The most important quality in a gift for Father’s Day? Uniqueness. Consumers don’t want to buy run-of-the-mill gifts and are constantly searching for something truly special.
Father’s Day has a large scope, since all fathers are different. Whatever you store sells, appeal to shoppers by offering that perfect Father’s Day gift at a great price.
Back to School
August & September, 2020
Though not technically a holiday, and perhaps even a day of mourning for school-averse kids, the back to school shopping season is a big one. It doesn’t have an exact date - classes normally start in the first week of September in North America and the UK, and the first week of February in Australia.
From first graders to college-aged students, everyone needs supplies when the first day of school comes! Families with children in elementary school through high school spend an average of $696 for the upcoming school year. The most bought items for back to school include clothing, accessories, electronics, shoes and school supplies.
Stores that offer great prices to deal-hungry parents would do well to advertise their price slashing well before the first day of school.
October 31st, 2020
Loved by adults and children alike, Halloween spending grows every year. Costumes, food & candy and outings claim the largest chunk of spending. The desire to escape from normality, just for one night and in a disguise no less has a lot of appeal. Not to mention the competition to have the best costume. In 2019, those celebrating spend an average of $82, according to the National Retail Federation.
Consider adding Halloween graphics to your store to get into the spirit of the holiday!
Phew! That was a long list of holidays. While it may seem daunting to plan for every single one, a holiday calendar that’s prepared well in advance will save you time and make you ready for every celebration. However you choose to promote your store during the holidays, be it digital gift cards, promo codes, perks for loyal customers or an email campaign, be sure that you store is in perfect working order. The online shopping journey must be faultless from start to finish - from the moment shoppers arrive on your front page to the final click of the ‘Buy Now’ button on the checkout page.
Holiday graphics must be attention grabbing but not overwhelming, and most importantly the savings and deals each holiday brings must be clear and easy to understand.
Making your online store ready for Halloween doesn’t have to be long and arduous undertaking - a holiday themed custom hero image, or some better cart functionality can easily transform your visitors’ online shopping experience. Arm yourself with the understanding of what appeals to shoppers for each holiday to bring visitors to your store and increase conversion rates.
PS: Want more ideas on how to revamp your store for the holidays? Check out HeyCarson, a leader for Shopify small tasks.
This blog post is a great contribution by Heycarson!
About the author:
Tatiana Dudin is HeyCarson’s resident writer, focusing on tech, UX and all topics related to online shopping and the Shopify experience. She has been writing for over 9 years and has worked across many sectors, including tech-startups, real estate, and alcohol. Tatiana worked with companies big and small, from international brands to businesses that were just starting out across Canada, Australia and the U.S.