January 19, 2021

2021 International Retail Holidays to Add to Your Calendar

By Kevin Lamb & Eleanor Adams / Global Ecommerce

As the premier partner for global ecommerce, Pattern supports its partners as they grow and expand internationally. Each year brands create their retail calendar to plan for holidays, sales, and promotional events. As our partner brands have expanded globally, this exercise has grown to include international opportunities for sales and promotions.

Many of us are familiar Black Friday and Cyber Monday, and both are becoming increasingly common international commercial holidays. However, we’ll go into detail here on some other important retail holidays and events you may not already have on your retail calendar for 2021. Explore retail holidays by country and and by dates below.

Major 2021 International Retail Holidays by Country

Australia

  • Click Frenzy Mayhem, April 20, 2021
  • EOFY Sales (End of financial year), June 2021
  • Black Friday, Nov. 26, 2021

Click Frenzy is a 53-hour sales event that connects the Australia consumer base with the best deals and exclusive offers from retail and brings them to the online marketplace. The End of Financial Year sales (EOFY Sales) happen in June. And of course, Black Friday is also becoming a bigger and bigger sales event in the AU.

China

  • Chinese New Year, Feb. 12, 2021
  • National Day Golden Week, Oct. 1-7, 2021
  • Singles Day, Nov. 11, 2021

Singles Day in China is the world’s largest shopping event by far. The holiday was originally intended to celebrate those who are not in relationships, but in ecommerce Singles Day is known worldwide for its record-smashing revenue numbers.

Singles day was extended to span 11 days in 2020 and raked in $115 billion USD between sales on Alibaba and JD.com, nearly doubling sales from the previous year. For reference, Cyber Monday sales in the U.S. reached only $10.8 billion this year.

France

  • Les Soldes, Winter: Jan. 6-Feb. 2, 2021
  • Les Soldes, Summer: June 23-July 20, 2021

Les Soldes is France’s biggest sales event of the year, and happens twice: in winter and then in summer. However, Les Soldes is limited to 6 weeks and dates differ by region.

Germany

  • Winter Sales Period, January 2021
  • Summer Sales Period, July 2021

For Germany, there are no solid dates for sales events. However, similar to France, they have seasonal promotions that happen in both the winter and the summer.

India

Diwali is a major event celebrated in India and other nearby countries, and consequently, is also a time of year when retail spending surges in the region. Ecommerce revenue during the festive season around Diwali in 2020 totalled $6.5 billion USD. Of that, consumer electronics was by far the dominant category, making up 51% of total sales. Mobile shopping surged as COVID-19 caused many to avoid brick and mortar shopping. Downloads for the Flipkart app grew to 3.4 million, a year on year increase of 71%.

Japan

  • New Year (Shogatsu), Jan. 1, 2021
  • Valentine’s Day, Feb. 14, 2021
  • Mother’s Day, May 9, 2021
  • Father’s Day, June 20, 2021
  • Ochugen, July 2021
  • Oseibo, December 2021

Ochugen and Oseibo are the traditional gift-giving seasons in Japan. This gift-giving tradition extends to ecommerce as well, with some businesses offering discounts or even giving their employees bonuses.

LATAM

  • El Día Del Niño (México), April 30, 2021
  • El Buen Fin (México), Nov. 19-22, 2021
  • Children’s Day (Brazil), Nov. 20, 2021

El Buen Fin is a retail event created in 2011 that is always held on the weekend before Mexican Revolution day, which is always the third Monday in November. The event was created in order to stimulate the economy and functions very similarly to Black Friday in the U.S.

Given the need to further stimulate the economy during the COVID-19 pandemic, El Buen Fin was extended during 2020 to last from Nov. 9th through Nov. 20th, with participation from over 60,000 retailers. Revenue generated from El Buen Fin reached $10.9 billion USD in 2019. We would expect that number to grow significantly over $12 billion USD in 2021 given the rise of ecommerce in 2020 and the emphasis on online shopping.

Children’s Day in Brazil is a great example of a commercial holiday, as it was created for the sole purpose of selling kids toys. Children’s Day has grown to become a traditional day to give presents to children of not just toys, but electronics, apparel, and other gifts as well. Revenue data is not widely shared for Children’s day as with the other commercial holidays. However, Children’s day is considered Brazil’s fourth most important commercial Holiday, behind Father’s Day, Mother’s Day, and Christmas.

Russia

  • New Year, Jan. 1-8, 2021
  • Defender of the Fatherland Day, Feb. 23, 2021
  • International Women’s Day, March 8, 2021

On Defender of the Fatherland Day, or Men’s Day, it’s traditional for women giving small gifts to their husbands, brothers, male co-workers, etc. Hence, this is a great time for the small electronic categories. In 2020 alone, Ozon, a Russian marketplace, reported a 325% increase in fitness tracker sales and sport watches. However, electronic toothbrushes blew competition out of the water, with a 517% increase in sales.

Saudi Arabia

  • Ramadan, begins April 13, 2021
  • Eid al-Fitr, May 13, 2021
  • Eid al-Adha, July 20-22, 2021
  • White Friday, Nov. 26, 2021

During Ramadan in 2020, online retail sales started increasing 10 days prior to the event and reached a 47% increase at the peak sales period. Sales were 17% above the baseline during the day of Ramadan. Plus, in one study, 61% of respondents in the KSA and 58% in the UAE said they planned to buy gifts during the holiday.

White Friday, the Middle East equivalent of Black Friday, is also held at the end of November and represents a major percentage of overall sales. Some analysts even estimate 2021 White Friday profits at $48.8B. If your brand is in the Middle East, White Friday is definitely a holiday to take advantage of just like you would Black Friday in the U.S.

South Korea

  • Seollal (Korean New Year), Feb. 13, 2021
  • Parents’ Day, May 8, 2021
  • Chuseok, Sept. 20-22, 2021

Covid-19 threw a wrench in many markets, and South Korea was no exception. However, despite this retail sales rose 8.5% YoY in September 2020, and online platforms led the overall growth, with online revenue going up 20% over the month. As with many markets, online shopping went up—14.2% to be exact—that year, while offline shopping declined 0.9%.

United Kingdom

  • Black Friday, Nov. 26, 2021
  • Cyber Monday, Nov. 29, 2021
  • Christmas Period, December 2021

The United Kingdom is the top-ranking country in Europe in terms of retail sales during the holiday season, or “golden quarter” as the November and December holiday sales can sometimes be referred to as. In 2019, the December sales value in Great Britain was $72.4B.

United States

  • Memorial Day, May 31, 2021
  • Prime Day, mid-July 2021
  • Labor Day, Sept. 6, 2021
  • Black Friday, Nov. 26, 2021
  • Cyber Monday, Nov. 29, 2021

Of course, we know that the Covid-19 pandemic disrupted Prime Day sales in 2020, when Prime Day was held on Oct. 13-14 instead of its usual summer dates. However, the date change did little to affect sales growth, as sales went up to $10.4B, a 45.2% increase from $7.16B in 2019. The dates are returned to summer for 2021, and brands would be wise to prep for this giant sales event.

Major 2021 International Retail Holidays by Month

January

  • Winter Sales Period, January 2021, Germany
  • New Year (Shogatsu), Jan. 1, 2021, Japan
  • New Year, Jan. 1-8, 2021, Russia
  • Les Soldes, Winter: Jan. 6-Feb. 2, 2021, France

February

  • Chinese New Year, Feb. 12, 2021, China
  • Seollal (Korean New Year), Feb. 13, 2021, South Korea
  • Valentine’s Day, Feb. 14, 2021, Japan
  • Defender of the Fatherland Day, Feb. 23, 2021, Russia

March

  • International Women’s Day, March 8, 2021, Russia

April

  • Ramadan, begins April 13, 2021, Saudi Arabia
  • Click Frenzy Mayhem, April 20, 2021, Australia
  • El Día Del Niño, April 30, 2021, México

May

  • Parents’ Day, May 8, 2021, South Korea
  • Mother’s Day, May 9, 2021, Japan
  • Eid al-Fitr, May 13, 2021, Saudi Arabia
  • Memorial Day, May 31, 2021, U.S.

June

  • EOFY Sales (End of financial year), June 2021, Australia
  • Father’s Day, June 20, 2021, Japan
  • Les Soldes, Summer: June 23-July 20, 2021, France

July

  • Summer Sales Period, July 2021, Germany
  • Ochugen, July 2021, Japan
  • Prime Day, mid-July, 2021, U.S.
  • Eid al-Adha, July 20-22, 2021, Saudi Arabia

August

  • Onam, Aug. 12-23, 2021, India

September

  • Labor Day, Sept. 6, 2021, U.S.
  • Ganesh Charturthi, Sept. 10, 2021, India
  • Chuseok, Sept. 20-22, 2021, South Korea

October

  • National Day Golden Week, Oct. 1-7, 2021, China
  • Flipkart Big Billion Festival, Oct. 6-11, 2021, India

November

  • Diwali, Nov. 4th, 2021, India (also Nepal, Sri Lanka, and others)
  • Singles Day, Nov. 11, 2021, China
  • El Buen Fin, Nov. 19-22, 2021, México
  • Children’s Day, Nov. 20, 2021, Brazil
  • Black Friday, Nov. 26, 2021
  • White Friday, Nov. 26, 2021, Saudi Arabia
  • Cyber Monday, Nov. 29, 2021

December

  • Oseibo, December 2021, Japan
  • Christmas Period, December 2021, U.K.

Remember that while many of these events fall on a certain day or a certain weekend, the shopping season surrounding them is typically much longer. Additionally, many ecommerce marketplaces will require that promotions and additional inventory be set up far in advance in order to be prepared for the increase in traffic to their sites.

If you’d like Pattern’s global marketplace management team to assist you in cultivating an international ecommerce strategy, reach out for a demo of our services.

More Resources
Marketplace Internationalisation Checklist
Amazon UAE Benchmarking Report 2021
Amazon Germany Benchmarking Report