It’s not Christmas yet, but the Peak Season is approaching – with brands and retailers in the midst of finalising their plans for the most important selling period of the year. Overall, sales in November and December account for a total of 37% of the year’s sales, and last year our clients experienced an average year-on-year growth rate in the double digits. The trend is very much an upwards one as more and more Europeans shop online for their Christmas presents or take advantage of the after-season e-commerce sales. In December 2013:
- Brits bought 18% more online
- in Germany e-commerce sales increased 24%
- 46% of French bought sales online
- 37% of Spaniards purchased gifts online
If we look at the calendar, this pre-xmas season is also going to be a short one with only 27 days between Thanksgiving and Christmas Day (in 2013 there were 26 days, but 32 in 2012!). Despite Thanksgiving being a US-only celebration, there is no official European wide “start-of-season”, but generally speaking retailers are making use of the US buzz to kick-off their peak season promotions. The also US-original “Black Friday” and “Cyber Monday” have been gaining greater traction amongst European retailers in recent years, now being pretty well established throughout all main Western European countries. Many times these promotions don’t have a consistent name (Cyber Week, Black Weekend, Winter Specials, Xmas Kick-off…) but it is certainly becoming mainstream and consumers increasingly expect it. The calendar also looks different from one country to the other:
- in the UK, Boxing Day sales on the 26th have certainly become the norm, with an impact easily comparable to Black Friday in the USA.
- in certain parts of Germany, Belgium and Holland, kids receive their gifts not the 25th but the 6th of December, on Nikolaustag.
- it is also not Santa but the Three Kings that bring the gifts in Spain, on January 6th – delaying the start of the sales in the country.
Also, bear in mind the legal contraints on how and when to promote sales, as these could be very different in the each country. Always remember to promote your content in each country considering their nuances or you’ll most probably miss the shot.