The Shopping Seasons

Even while maintaining the spirit of the season, it’s impossible to ignore the sheer amount of footfall on the high street as shoppers find something appropriate to put a bow on. Savvy retailers know that Christmas represents merely one of the calendar’s opportunities for outsized sales. Let’s take a quick look at the others.

Black Friday

The frenzy that accompanies the hordes on Black Friday, the day after US Thanksgiving, sits behind an absolute retail bonanza. The FT cited a report that tracked £4.1 billion of online sales this year from the Thursday before to the Saturday after inclusive, up a fifth from the year before.

Cyber Monday

Speaking of online sales, US pundits coined this term to describe the Monday after Thanksgiving and its growing popularity for armchair shoppers securing deals online. The proportion of transactions being handled online is still growing, and by now online sales are less the preserve of Cyber Monday; last year £820 million’s worth of purchases were locked in on Black Friday, with £720 million taking place on Monday in the UK.[1]

Both the Friday and the Monday typically involve store-wide sales, meaning that markdowns appear on items that normally wouldn’t be designated for any discounts otherwise.

January sales

Retailers typically offer their biggest discounts of the year on electrical goods, toys, clothes and beauty products at this time; the stores are awash in bargains. Last year January sales were launched earlier and often extended for the entire month in order to make room for shoppers’ positive buying sentiment. We can expect to see similar extensions in 2016, though customer fatigue will impose certain limits.

Hallowe’en and Easter

This is Money reported that Hallowe’en has taken third place among British shopping holidays after Christmas and Easter as shoppers spend £300–£400 million on sundry orange things and spookiness. Our seasonal orange banner-waving, however, pales in comparison to the billions of dollars spent by our cousins across the pond on everything from pumpkin spice lattes at Starbucks to pumpkin dog food. (Really, it’s a thing.) Retailers whose operations don’t lend themselves well to themed products (or perhaps they would simply prefer not to appear to be pandering) still manage to boost sales by offering seasonal discounts tied to the event.

Research-focused consumers

Consumers can simply go online to find the ‘right’ time to make particular purchases. Easily accessible resources help them ascertain which days are best to shop for a new TV, toys or a smart new outfit. Apps from the likes of VoucherCodes, vouchercloud and Groupon mean that optimising one’s shopping effectiveness with discount codes, vouchers and coupons is a matter of turning on your smartphone and picking your favourite season.

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