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Holiday Peaks and Seasonality in Different Markets

It’s the most wonderful time of the year! But is it so everywhere?


From Oxford Circus to Victoria Harbour, cities around the world are hanging Christmas lights, holding tree-lighting ceremonies, and preparing festive displays - even Google is celebrating. But the concept of “the holidays” varies by country, and in many countries, gift-giving traditions are distinctly different. Localizing your marketing to these different traditions is essential to connect with consumers and win valuable sales.


Which holidays are most frequently searched in each market? (Google Trends)  




First, know the seasonality trends for your markets when planning your international marketing budgets. A surge in searches and sales during November and December are common in many markets that give gifts on Dec 24/25. However, many other countries give gifts on different days or do not typically celebrate Christmas. Particularly for markets giving gifts on Dec 31 or Jan 6, ensure that you have sales and offers continuing into January, as consumers in these markets will still be shopping for gifts.


Additionally, ensure that your messaging is appropriate - for example, in Russia, New Year’s Eve (Dec 31) is the most important family holiday of the year; advertise New Year’s sales and family offers rather than Christmas sales. In Japan, Christmas is often considered as romantic as Valentine’s Day. On this day many couples exchange romantic presents along with parents giving gifts to their children. We would recommend focusing your messaging on gifts for children or gifts for couples during this time in these markets. Use Google’s Consumer Barometer to understand the consumers in your target market, and plan specific campaigns leveraging Keyword Planner.


In terms of population size, China and India are perhaps the most notable exceptions to holidays during December. In China, Chinese New Year is the most important annual family holiday (mid February in 2018), whereas for much of India, it is Diwali (early November in 2018). These are major holidays celebrated by over one billion people each. Plan your strategy and marketing in these markets as you would for Black Friday and Christmas sales.


Here’s a selection of some of the countries that give gifts on dates other than Dec 24/25:

Note: All dates listed are for the 2018 calendar year.


China: Chinese New Year (Feb 16), Single’s Day (Nov 11)

India: Diwali (early Nov)

Italy: Christmas (Dec 24/25) and Befana (Jan 6)

Morocco: New Year’s Eve (Dec 31)

Netherlands: Sinterklaas (Dec 5)

Russia: New Year’s Eve (Dec 31)

Spain: Christmas (Dec 24/25) and Three Magic Kings Day (Jan 6)

Turkey: Mother’s Day (May 13)

Ukraine: New Year’s Eve (Dec 31)


One final note: While not as big for sales as Christmas, New Years, Chinese New Year, and Diwali, here are a few other major holidays to watch for when planning your marketing campaigns for gift sales:


International Women’s Day (Mar 8): In many countries, including Russia, Ukraine, and Turkey, all women are typically given small gifts on Women’s Day. This is a holiday we’ve seen grow in popularity worldwide, including in the US.


Searches for Women’s Day, 2004-Presentwomens.png


Celebrating parents: Especially in Europe, gift-giving on holidays celebrating parents is extremely important. The dates vary significantly by country - Mother’s Day tends to be in May (exception: UK), whereas Father’s Day tends to be in March or June. Here are the 2018 dates for select countries so that you can plan accordingly:

Mother’s Day: Mar 11 (UK), May 6 (ES), May 13 (US, IT, IN, TR), May 26 (PL), May 27 (FR)

Father’s Day: Mar 19 (ES, IT), Jun 17 (US, UK, FR, IN, TR), Jun 23 (PL)

Whatever you celebrate, may you have a safe and enjoyable time with your loved ones!