The Season of Opportunity: 8 Holidays Every EMEA Marketer Should Know

When we think about ecommerce in Q4, marketers usually start by planning for Christmas. But there are many other special days in EMEA.
Updated on November 15, 2019

When we think about Q4, marketers usually start by planning for Christmas itself. But Europe, with all its diverse cultures and people, has many other holidays that are celebrated across the continent. In the United Kingdom, 6 November is marked by the Oxford Street Christmas Lights. In Sweden, there’s Luciafest on 13 December, where Santa Lucia brings light into the darkness of winter nights. Poland celebrates Wigilia on 24 December, a day of plays, prayer, and 12 dinner dishes representing each apostle.

As ecommerce becomes the norm for European consumers, there are a lot of holidays that can prove to be a big opportunity for advertisers. In Criteo’s latest report, “Festive Season 2019”, we studied the average sales in the first four weeks of October when compared to the holiday spikes throughout the season.

Here’s what we found:

Singles Day: 11 November

Originally an anti-Valentine’s Day started in China to celebrate singledom, Singles Day has become popular across the Middle East, North Africa, and Europe. Our data showed an increase of 143% in EMEA retail sales on 11/11 last year.

EMEA marketers should think about Singles Day as one of the biggest opportunities to connect with a very specific shopper in November. Budget and plan for your ads – and your products – accordingly.

Black Friday: 29 November

The day after the US celebrates Thanksgiving, Black Friday has become a cornerstone for Festive Season marketing – whether US-based or not. Most European countries have adopted Black Friday as well, with electronics and phones often becoming the top discounted items.

In 2018, we saw EMEA retail sales spike by 245% during Black Friday. Retailers and brands of every size should take advantage of this holiday by building out campaigns and running ads targeting their best possible customers.

White Friday: 29 November

White Friday, launched in 2014, is celebrated in the Middle East and Africa, with a focus on family, prayer, and worship. Online retailer spearheaded the holiday. By 2016, the retailer sold 1.2 million products over the weekend. Traffic was 10x times higher than their daily average and 50% of sales came through the mobile app.

White Friday may be one of those hidden opportunities for retailers. By targeting specific audiences in the Middle East and Africa with White Friday messaging, marketers may be able to connect to customers in a new way.

Cyber Monday: 2 December

Cyber Monday is the Monday after Black Friday. It’s dedicated to online sales, although Black Friday is often dominated by online sales as well. Last year, ecommerce sales across EMEA rose by 95% on Cyber Monday and we expect the same for this year.

The weekend started by Black Friday and ending with Cyber Monday sees the highest retail activity of the Festive Season. In fact, the Sunday before Cyber Monday, sales doubled when compared to the average in October. That technically makes it an even bigger opportunity than Cyber Monday, with lower competition.

These numbers should all be considered in your marketing plan as the peak buying season rapidly approaches.

Christmas & Christmas Eve

Christmas Eve is a time for reflection and family. Sales slow down, representing one of the lowest retail sales moments of the Golden Quarter.

Boxing Day

Boxing Day, celebrated heavily in the UK, Ireland, and Spain, has spread to countries all over Europe, especially the Nordics. Marketers should see this as a second Christmas Day, with retail sales jumping by 120% last year.

New Year’s

The Golden Quarter officially ends at New Year’s. As people get ready for 2020, it’s safe to assume that they’ll be buying things for their New Year’s resolutions, parties, and more.

The Golden Quarter: A Season of Opportunity

European marketers know the fourth quarter of the year as “the Golden Quarter.” It’s by far the most important time of the year for marketers. With our data from EMEA retailers, we can clearly see the impact of each holiday across the quarter. Festive Season marketing should start well before Christmas, as most consumers are already starting to shop by Halloween.

Black Friday, Hidden Sunday, and Cyber Monday have all merged into one of the critical weekends of the year. Meanwhile, Singles Day and White Friday present an opportunity for marketers to run ads to new kinds of audiences. As long as the ad campaign is personalized and relevant to that holiday, marketers can make sure that this is the best Festive Season yet.

Blaise Lucey

Blaise has helped Fortune 500s and start-ups build comprehensive content marketing strategies from the ground up. He loves figuring out how technology can tell better stories and foster relationships.

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