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Talking Business: Key dates for the global retail diary in 2016

Black Friday and Cyber Monday may have been all over the news once again this year, but these are not the only dates influencing consumers around the world, writes Greig Holbrook, founder of international digital marketing agency Oban Digital.

El Buen Fin Sales, White Day and Chinese New Year are all are having an impact on retailing in markets outside of the UK. Alibaba generated record sales of $14.3bn (£9.6bn) on China Singles’ Day in 2015. There are also the more traditional and religious holidays like Ramadan. Spend in Saudi Arabia was up 150% during Ramadan this year compared to last. 

Looking at the marketing calendar for 2016, several dates stand out.

Chinese New Year

This is one of the most popular periods for Chinese consumers. On Monday February 8 2016 consumers across China and in many parts of the world will celebrate the Year of the Monkey. What makes it highly attractive for international ecommerce is that it is the longest public holiday in China. It is a perfect opportunity to capture new customers, retain market share and promote growth. China-based research firm 163.com predicts 73% of consumers will buy  gifts online and, of the overall spend, 27% will be on clothes and accessories.

White Day: the answer day

White Day originated in Japan and spread to South Korea; it is also establishing now in China and Taiwan, too. Traditionally focussed on chocolate and other sweets, shoppers are increasingly spending on jewellery, cosmetics, accessories, clothing and voucher deals. Major South Korean ecommerce outlets note a 30% to 35% increase in sales during this period. Whereas Valentine’s Day in Japan is positioned as a time for women to buy gifts for men, White Day is the “answer day” for men to reply to shows of affection or obligation.

El Buen Fin: sales before Christmas

And let’s not forget El Buen Fin (The Good Weekend). This is Mexico’s answer to Black Friday. It aims to draw shoppers with discounts before the gift-giving Christmas holiday. In 2014, total sales fell just shy of $14.9bn (£10bn), with the total number of transactions reaching 36.6 million.

As cross-border sales continue to rise, the challenges will grow from overseas brands already expanding into the UK and other markets. As this year’s Singles’ Day has proven, international dates are not just for local retailers and brands – 27,000 brands participated in the event this year, many of them fashion retailers from outside China. In 2016, smart retailers will be looking at how they can act strategically to make the most of their online international opportunities.

Oban’s 2016 calendar, including 220 key dates, can be downloaded here

 

 

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