Small business owners are already prepping for the year-end holidays, as there are many shopping occasions from now through January. Black Friday, Christmas, New Year, Boxing Day – these are important money-making sales days that merchants greatly anticipate. But did you know that there are other holidays that you can take advantage of? It is almost always a holiday somewhere, which means the global merchant has the chance to ring up new sales in addition to ringing in the New Year. Here are some to know about:
In the United States, Halloween is second only to Christmas in terms of consumer purchases with approximately $6.9 billion projected to be spent on costumes, candy, and decorations this year, according to the National Retail federation.
But did you know that the spooky holiday is picking up steam across the globe? Retailers in the UK have seen Halloween-related sales grow rapidly in recent years: in 2014, spending driven by the holiday hit about $500 million (3.5% more since 2013) – quite a bump from annual sales of about $18 million in 2001. And in Asia, Hong Kong has seen a surge in Halloween celebrations due to the high amount of America and Canadian expatriates.
Don’t sell yourself short by sticking to regional sales – small businesses can participate globally by offering products for Halloween parties, vintage wares to decorate a haunted house, and decorations or flowers in black and orange, the holiday’s traditional colors. There are also many opportunities to sell costume and candy supplies for the traditional celebration.
The world’s biggest e-commerce shopping days of the year occur every November, and it’s not Black Friday or Cyber Monday. Singles Day, a once obscure Chinese holiday which lands on November 11, has skyrocketed in economic importance, with Chinese online retailers reaping in $9.3 billion in gross merchandise value in 2014, per Forbes.com.
Like Valentine’s Day in reverse, Singles Day began as a one-day holiday in China where consumers celebrated being single by purchasing something special for themselves. The date, 11/11, was chosen because of the link between singles and the number one. Originally a little-known celebration of single life, the day is now a major retail holiday where single and coupled consumers alike take advantage of enticing discounts and online specials.
The holiday is not just a sales blitz for Chinese merchants — businesses outside of China can get in on the action, too. With the potential to reach over 360 million online shoppers, the holiday presents a huge upside for global merchants looking to make the investment in expanding global sales. Popular products sold on Singles Day range from everything to cars to computers to clothing and even fresh seafood. Businesses looking to find success on Singles Day should focus on offering deep discounts and deals, and special offers such as free shipping.
Established in 2012, Giving Tuesday is a relatively new holiday dedicated to philanthropy, celebrated on December 1, the first Tuesday after Thanksgiving in the U.S. Many consumers take a step back from the holiday shopping madness and celebrate generosity. This is a global holiday, observed in countries including the United States, Australia, Brazil, Canada, Ireland, Israel, Latin America, Mexico, Singapore and the United Kingdom. It’s wildly successful, too: in 2013, PayPal helped nearly 400,000 nonprofits raise more than $5.7 billion dollars in North America alone. The average gift was a generous $93. But no matter the amount, giving back feels good for the donor, and does good for those who need help.
How can a small business owner get involved? Offer a Giving Tuesday promotion where a percentage of your earnings for a line of products or for the day go to a charity that is important to you and your employees. Your customers will relish the chance to shop and do good for the community at the same time. You might offer a discount for customers who make a payment with PayPal and pass any donation forward to a local nonprofit. You can even make a splash on social media by celebrating your commitment to #GivingTuesday and encouraging your customers to promote your shop by sharing their “acts of giving” on Facebook and Twitter. This marketing lift will help as you enter the thick of holiday shopping.
For more ideas and tips about upcoming holidays, small businesses can visit PayPal PassPort, filled with information to help increase your global sales opportunities. It’s going to be a busy time leading up to the end of the year – make sure that you’re not missing any holiday cheer.
Melissa O’Malley is Director, Global Merchant and Cross Border Trade Initiatives at PayPal.