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International Shopping Holidays Every DTC Brand Should Know

DTC brands can expand their markets by taking advantage of these global shopping holidays.

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When it comes to shopping holidays, DTC eCommerce brands based in the U.S. may feel confident about their approach to Black Friday or Labor Day sales events. But for brands looking to expand internationally or test new markets, reliance on U.S. shopping holidays alone means leaving an untapped market on the table for competitors.

The most successful global eCommerce brands capitalize on shopping holidays popular around the world, including Chinese New Year, Diwali and beyond. Check out this list of international shopping holidays.

1. Singles Day

Singles Day Ad on red background. Singles Day is a popular shopping holiday in China.

If there is one international shopping holiday for eCommerce brands to try, Singles Day is the clear winner. Though the holiday was originally created by a group of college students in China, the holiday has rapidly gained traction, now beating out Black Friday as one of the top shopping days in the world.

The holiday had humble beginnings when a few lonely college students instituted the holiday as an alternative to Valentine’s Day on November 11, 1993. But eCommerce giant Alibaba picked up on the holiday in 2009, helping accelerate sales growth exponentially. 

In 2021, Alibaba Singles Day sales totaled $84.5 billion. The shopping holiday truly dwarfs the American Amazon Prime day which brought in $11.19 billion in sales this year.

2. Chinese New Year

Also known as Lunar New Year, Chinese New Year is another shopping holiday eCommerce brands should note of. The holiday is arguably bigger than Christmas in China, extending over several weeks in February.

Though Chinese New Year was not originally instituted as a shopping holiday, the occasion is associated with gift-giving, eating and increased leisure time — which naturally leads to an increase in spending.

Chinese consumers spent about 1 trillion yuan ($155 billion USD) over Chinese New Year in 2019, and that number has been slowly climbing back after a dip in 2020 due to COVID-19. Social commerce and eCommerce sales are continuing to rise during Chinese New Year, as digital natives turn to mobile devices to shop for the country’s biggest holiday.

3. Diwali

A group of friends holds sparklers to celebrate Diwali. Diwali is a popular shopping holiday in India.

Diwali is India’s biggest holiday, celebrated by Hindus, Buddhists, Sikhs and non-religious communities alike. Coined The Festival of Lights, Diwali celebrations include the lighting of clay lamps to ward off spiritual darkness. This year, the holiday started on November 4 and is celebrated over five days, but the eCommerce sales season kicked off as early as October 15 and extended to November 15.

Diwali has steadily gained popularity as an online sales event, bringing in $8.3 billion worth of gross sales in 2020 alone. These sales numbers exceeded the predicted $7 billion for the year, further proving the growth of eCommerce throughout the world.

4. Black Friday

A list of shopping holidays around the globe would not be complete without diving into Black Friday statistics. The shopping holiday first originated in Philadelphia in the 1950s, and has gained momentum ever since as America’s biggest retail event of the year.

What began as an exclusively brick and mortar event soon evolved into an eCommerce holiday, bringing about the creation of Cyber Monday. Black Friday sales in 2020 were second only to Cyber Monday sales, totaling $188.2 billion in revenue.

Unsurprisingly, Black Friday has caught on in other countries, too. Canada, the U.K., South Africa, Sweden, Brazil and other nations around the world have adopted the American shopping holiday, meaning eCommerce brands looking to expand globally can include international sites and sales in the Black Friday/Cyber Monday strategies.

5. El Buen Fin

A hand holds a cell phone advertising popular Mexican shopping holiday, El Buen Fin.

El Buen Fin de Semana, Spanish for “The Good Weekend,” is an annual shopping holiday across Mexico that got its start in 2011. The holiday kicks off just before the third Monday in November, which is when Mexican Revolution Day is celebrated. El Buen Fin is Mexico’s take on Black Friday, instituted to stimulate the nation’s economy and provide Mexicans with retail discounts.

This Mexican shopping holiday generated 239 billion Mexican pesos in 2020, increasing sales by almost 100% in comparison to 2019 sales. eCommerce sales accounted for a significant portion of those sales, totaling 36 billion pesos.

6. Boxing Day

Celebrated the day after Christmas, Boxing Day is a British shopping holiday that has modest roots. Traditionally, the day was meant to honor servants or poorer members of society by presenting them with gifts. But today, the holiday is largely a retail and eCommerce holiday that is considered the British equivalent to Black Friday.

Boxing Day sales have waned in comparison to Black Friday in recent years, but the holiday is still one of the biggest shopping events across the U.K., Australia, Canada and New Zealand.

7. Cyber Monday

A shopping bag that reads #cybermonday which refers to the popular shopping holiday

Of course, Cyber Monday is the ultimate shopping holiday for eCommerce brands in America.

Cyber Monday is the Monday after Thanksgiving, but sales are starting earlier with every passing year.

In fact, some eCommerce brands started promoting their online sales as early as October in 2020 and 2021. And the marketing move certainly paid off: Consumers spent a record-setting $10.8 billion on Cyber Monday in 2020, making it the biggest U.S. online shopping day in history and giving total sales a 15.1% boost in comparison to the previous year.

Like Black Friday, Cyber Monday is an American-born shopping holiday that has caught on in other countries spanning the globe. eCommerce brands should note that the holiday is particularly popular in Latin American countries, which do not typically celebrate Black Friday.

How Specialty Stores Expand Global Reach

eCommerce brands with their sights set on international expansion should consider participating in these top shopping holidays around the world, and Scalefast has the tools to simplify the process. Our specialty stores offer DTC retailers a streamlined solution for serving a variety of markets, both domestic and abroad.

From friends and family events to new product drops, our next-generation platform provides high performance and high volumes. Schedule a demo today to learn how Scalefast specialty stores can help your brand pull off international shopping holiday events with ease.

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