The Global Effect of Holiday Shopping

The holidays are a make-or-break time for retailers who often rely on holiday shopping to make up for a lackluster year. Careful planning is needed months in advance given the complexity of the operation, especially considering that companies often want to try new services to maximize consumer reach.

While the holiday shopping season has recently extended to last a couple of months, Black Friday and Cyber Monday are the official kickoff. Their impact has gone global, becoming major shopping holidays in the Western European and Latin American markets.

Our analysts worldwide weigh in on the effect in different countries:

Australia – Christmas Creep: Australia’s Peak Selling Season

The ‘Christmas Creep’, the months leading up to Christmas when retailers introduce Christmas-themed merchandise and decorations, are typically the peak selling season in Australia. Consumers want their shopping trips to be as quick and pain free as possible. An earlier start to the holiday shopping season helps reduce long store lines and shortages that wear consumers down.

Hianyang Chan, Research Consultant

Brazil – Brazilians consume less but better quality

Although the Brazilian economy was expected to start recovering in 2018, political uncertainty and high debt continue to affect how consumers make their purchase decisions. This does not mean consumers are necessarily willing to spend less. They are prioritizing items perceived as relevant, even if they are more expensive, while saving money in other areas – a global trend known as “consume less, consume better”.

Angelica Salado, Senior Analyst

China – China celebrates 10th anniversary of 11.11 Global Shopping Festival

The 11.11 Global Shopping Festival celebrates its 10th anniversary. The shopping festival has made remarkable achievements in the past 10 years. In 2018, Alibaba smashed sales of USD 30.8 billion in 24 hours. Most of these sales were made on mobile, which means Alibaba reached new internet users. New players, such as JD.com and Suning, entering the battle and further intensifying the market, challenges remain on revitalising the world’s largest shopping date in the next decades.

Arianna Zhai, Research Analyst

Europe – Discount-hunting goes viral in Europe

European retailers consider Black Friday and Cyber Monday an opportunity to capitalize on the appetite of discount-hunters and expand the period of increased sales preceding Christmas. Since most retailers offer deals online, especially focusing on electronics and appliances, the prominence of shopping holidays in Europe is linked to the proportion of internet users in a country. According to trade sources, Britons, lead the way, followed by Germans and French in 2017.

Valentina Vitali, Research Associate

India – Omnichannel holiday shopping in India

In India, October to December is usually regarded as the main ‘festive season’, which consists of important festivals like Dussehra and Diwali. The importance of the festive season has increased significantly in the past few years, owing to attractive deals and deep discounts. Shoppers in India are becoming more seasoned in making purchases through both offline and online channels and know when to switch from one to the other.

Shekhar Anand, Research Analyst

Indonesia – Foreign holidays and local traditions melt in Indonesia

In Indonesia, the number of online shopping holidays is increasing. Foreign holidays such as Black Friday and Singles Day are more widely known.  Although their impact is not as big, these foreign holidays have indirectly influenced domestic players, particularly e-commerce players. The online revolution introduced by Lezada and The Festival Blanja Online (Online Commerce Festival) is an example of the foreign influence.

Felicia Halim, In-Country Analyst – Indonesia

Malaysia – Westernisation of Malaysia drives new foreign holidays

Black Friday started as a trend toward shopping at physical stores in Malaysia. Only since about last year, it has subsequently shifted to online more prominently due to the boom in e-commerce. Malaysian consumers are moving toward modern lifestyles, adapting to Western shopping festivals in recent years.

Jocelyn Cheung, In-Country Analyst – Malaysia

Mexico – Mexican consumers more demanding for promotions like El Buen Fin

El Buen Fin continues coming up every year, not only in sales but in the number of consumers and participating shops and businesses. This year more independent businesses are expected to join the promotion, and as a novelty, hospitals and health clinics were invited to participate for the first time to increase the supply of services, a growing trend that was already observed within tourism players, who have participated the last two years.

Marisol Rauda, In-Country Analyst – México

Philippines – Local retailers capitalise on new shopping holidays

Foreign shopping holidays are not very well known in the Philippines, but awareness of Black Friday and Cyber Monday are slowly growing due to the increasing presence of international brands in the country. In recent years, e-commerce players Lazada and Shopee introduced sale days. The biggest sales are: Single’s Day and Online Revolution. According to Lazada, Online Revolution generated around 100 million visits to their website in 2017.

Bernadette Giron, In-Country Analyst – Philippines

Singapore – Online shopping is picking up in Singapore

Due to the bargain-hunting mentality in Singapore, November serves as an exciting shopping month for Singaporeans, lined up with consecutive shopping bonanzas like Single’s Day, Black Friday and Cyber Monday. In fact, such global shopping events are panning out to be so popular that they are cannibalising revenue from the long-standing annual Great Singapore Sale.

Deepika Chandrasekar, Research Associate

Sub-Saharan Africa – Black Friday expands its reach to Sub-Saharan Africa

Black Friday was first piloted in South Africa in 2012 by online retailer Takealot. However, the trend only effectively took off in 2015 as more distributors joined the craze, offering discounts of 50% to 80% on various consumer goods. The trend is expected to spread across stores, with international, modern chained retailers setting up in countries like Ivory Coast.

Christele Cokossa, Senior Research Analyst

United Arab Emirates (UAE) – Tourism and internet retail influence holiday shopping season

Leading internet retailers are following global holiday shopping trends with White Friday Sales (a regional version of Black Friday) and Singles Day Sales by offering buy one get one free on Souq.com, the Amazon-owned e-commerce platform.

Additionally, the Dubai Shopping Festival provides the highest level of discounts and has wider participation from retailers as compared to other shopping seasons in the country. Timed around Christmas and a high tourist season, the Dubai Shopping Festival also encourages tourists to spend on retail, which has lifted the average spend by tourists in the country.

Rabia Yasmeen, Senior Analyst

United Kingdom – Internet fashion gains from the shopping season

Despite Black Friday’s roots in store-based retailing, the fashion shopping phenomenon is now even more lucrative online. The UK saw its internet fashion industry grow around 9% between 2016-2017, and this rate is set to increase for 2017-2018 thanks to the proliferation of UK-based fast-fashion brands such as Pretty Little Thing, Missguided, ASOS and Boohoo.com. Black Friday and Cyber Monday are successful with UK fashion consumers because companies go to extremes to satisfy the current consumer concerns that dictate the fast-fashion industry: speedy delivery and low prices.

Florence Allday, Research Associate – Beauty and Fashion

Vietnam – Foreign holidays slowly pick up in Vietnam

Many “foreign holidays” such as Black Friday, Cyber Monday and Singles Day were imported to Vietnam and became increasingly popular in the last two to three years. Many leading retailers joined these promotions, such as Lazada, Tiki and Robins Department Stores. In Vietnam these shopping events are perceived to be just another sale opportunity. This is because there are culturally more well-known sale periods, such as Lunar New Year and Hungry Ghost Festival.

Samuel Huynh, In-Country Analyst – Vietnam