The Global Holidays e-Commerce Businesses Shouldn’t Ignore

The leftover turkey might still be in the refrigerator, but the annual holiday shopping  frenzy has already begun. Many shops had already started their Black Friday sales on Thursday evening, and Cyber Monday is expected to break records for online retailers.

Thanksgiving might be an American holiday, but increasingly global customers are joining in the online shopping rush afterwards. According to a survey by fiftyone, many businesses saw daily sales double in foreign countries over this four-day period last year. Shoppers from Canada, Brazil and Singapore  were especially likely to snap up discounts from US stores.

The internet is breaking down international borders in many ways – including when it comes to Christmas shopping. More and more shoppers are looking for bargains abroad. And American companies, of all sizes, are reaching out to these global customers.

December is still the busiest time of year for US retailers, and often considered a “make or break” period. But increasingly, many with an online presence are starting to think about other holidays.  Tailoring your products or marketing to different festivals and times of year can be the key to winning new customers – all year round.

January is often seen as a slow month, marked by post-holiday sales, credit card debt, and new fitness regimes. But for Chinese communities (both at home and abroad) it’s the run-up to the New Year festival, which falls on February 10th in 2013.  The weeks beforehand are some of the most important for retailers targeting this huge market. And the Chinese government  heavily encourages  shopping during the five-day holiday period.

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Diwali, in November, is a huge celebration in India – and increasingly the United States. The festival is a time for giving gifts, buying new clothes, decorating homes and streets, and holding firework displays. A growing number of Indians are now shopping online to avoid the crowds. Other big holidays include Eid, marked throughout the Muslim world.

For businesses who are already looking overseas, it’s worth considering other seasonal trends. For example, the “back-to-school” season will vary from one country to another, and can be lucrative for retailers.

There are also marked trends in when people tend to take vacations –which aren’t always easy to predict. The French and Italians tend to take much of  August off, while it’s more likely to be July in  Sweden. Many other Europeans prefer taking a winter vacation. And of course, December to February is the peak season in Australia and New Zealand.

Less well-known trends include the “summer bonus” season in Japan, which results in an annual spike in sales. And of course some holidays such as Valentine’s Day are celebrated throughout the world. A little research into different customs and popular gifts can pay off for online businesses.

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