2023 Retail Holiday Guide + Downloadable PDF Retail Calendar
‘Tis the season to get planning! With the holiday season behind us, a new year marks the beginning of a new retail plan. Every season provides an opportunity for brands and retailers to target key demographics and drive sales. At BDS, we’ve spent over 35 years analyzing and understanding retail trends and consumer habits centering around the holidays. We created a guide to help you plan for each selling season, allowing you to consider adding target holidays to your retail strategy. Keep reading to download our 2023 Retail Holiday Calendar for you to reference throughout the year, so you won’t miss any opportunities to sell!
Q1: January – March: New Year, New Retail Strategy
When it comes the new year, Q1 sales are important as they set the tone for the rest of the year. New Year’s Day represents a major opportunity for retailers to drive sales throughout Q1. Often associated with the idea of new beginnings and resolutions, retailers can drive consumer spending on products with themes relating to self-improvement, such as, health and wellness products, home office supplies, and organization tools.
There are three notable holidays and events in February that brands should take advantage of: Super Bowl Sunday, Valentine’s Day, and President’s Day. Super Bowl Sunday is one of the most-watched television events in the United States. In 2022, the Super Bowl generated 99.18 million views in the U.S. With the massive viewership, it’s not a surprise that the game generates hundreds of millions of dollars in advertising revenue for the NFL. Let’s not forget the iconic commercials during the Super Bowl! With so many eyes on the TV, it’s hard to resist spending millions on a single commercial. The event creates an opportunity for brands to sell products relating to home electronics (TVs, speakers), food and beverages for parties, and party decorations.
With the holiday season barely coming to an end, we already see love in the air with heart-shaped candies, teddy bears, and cheesy greeting cards throughout retail and grocery stores. Retailers and brands push Valentine’s Day products early to keep the holiday top-of-mind for shoppers. Valentine’s Day isn’t just for lovebirds – it’s an opportunity to remind your customers to celebrate the relationships they have with their family, friends, and even furry friends! In 2022, Valentine’s Day spending reached nearly $24 billion, the second highest year in history. In recent years, many brands have centered their marketing campaigns around self-love. The Body Shop, a cosmetics company, created a Valentine’s Day campaign focusing on self-love and self-care by including the hashtag, #SelfLoveUprising, in social media posts. The campaign celebrated the importance of loving and caring for oneself, rather than only focusing on couples.
Before Q1 comes to an end, boost your product sales with St. Patrick’s Day campaigns. The Irish holiday is celebrated by many throughout the U.S. In 2022, 80% of people planned to wear green attire on St. Patrick’s Day. Consumers spent $5.87 billion on the holiday last year, which comes out to an average of $42 spent per person celebrating. How can you incorporate an Irish holiday into your retail calendar?
Go Green! (We might be biased…)
• Promote any green-colored apparel items, food, drinks, décor, etc.
• Sustainability is always in style. Run a campaign focusing on environmentally friendly “green” products.
Notable Q1 Holidays/Events:
- New Year’s Day – January 1
- Super Bowl Sunday – February 12
- Valentine’s Day – February 14
- President’s Day – February 20
- St. Patrick’s Day – March 17
Q2: April – June: Spring Savings
Flowers are blooming, birds are chirping, and sales are selling…Q2 provides opportunities for brands and retailers to focus on campaigns for holidays, such as, Easter, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, and graduation season. Although Easter isn’t as commercialized as Christmas, it’s still a great time for Spring promotions. Earth Day is an annual event that’s celebrated by people throughout the world. Remind consumers of your brand’s commitment and support for environmental protection and sustainability by showcasing your eco-friendly products and environmental-friendly packaging. Many brands create campaigns to raise money or awareness for environmental organizations by donating a portion of sales to non-profit organizations. Sustainability isn’t just a trend – it’s here to stay.
With the year reaching its halfway point, you might be strategizing how to gain market share for your brand during the remainder of the year. Consider launching a dedicated Market Development program to push your products and influence purchase decisions. Our Assisted Sales Reps will be your brand champions – showcasing your products’ best features to help you stand out from competition. Whether your brand wants to push home electronics, home appliances, or consumer electronics products, your brand champions will recommend products that best suit your shoppers’ needs.
- Easter – April 9
- Earth Day – April 22
- Cinco De Mayo – May 5
- Mother’s Day – May 14
- Memorial Day – May 29
- Graduation Season – June 2023
- Father’s Day – June 18
Q3 and Q4: July – December: Summer Sales Meet the Holiday Rush
When Q3 approaches, it’s time for some summer savings! Aside from Independence Day, there aren’t other major U.S. holidays during this quarter. This is the season for retailers and brands to have mid-summer markdowns to sell seasonal items and prepare for the holiday season. Although it’s too early to have holiday-related campaigns, it’s the best time to start planning for the holiday season ahead!
You know the holiday rush is right around the corner when you start seeing spooky decorations and massive amounts of candy in stores. This is the season to start preparing for the rest of the year. Last year, Halloween sales were projected to reach a record $10.6 billion. Whether you’re offering a promotional discount, hosting a giveaway, or posting user-generated content on social media, incorporating Halloween campaigns into your marketing calendar will unlock new possibilities to tap into your audience and boost sales.
Brands and retailers typically take part in Thanksgiving, Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and/or Green Monday promotions. Start gearing up your store associates for a big Q4 with brand champions! Ensure your brand and products have a presence on the salesfloor this year. Our Market Development Managers and Assisted Sales Reps will focus on selling your products to increase brand awareness and sales (50% increase in sales at covered stores vs. uncovered stores).
Because of omnichannel retail, consumers are shopping earlier and earlier for the holidays every year. Last year, holiday shoppers were 3x as likely to shop earlier than usual – with 69% starting before Black Friday. To avoid shipping delays, hectic crowds, and long lines, some consumers prefer to shop online. But this doesn’t mean that everyone’s ditching retail – 21% of shoppers said they would shop mostly in store. Gen Zers are more likely to shop in store, while Millennials and Gen Xers said they would do their holiday shopping online. Black Friday and Cyber Monday could be your biggest sales days of the year! Last year, Black Friday sales increased by 12% across all categories, making it an ever-growing shopping event in the United States.
With the rise of e-commerce and advances in tech, the way consumers shop has shifted drastically. Consumer expectations of online shopping has altered – 16% of consumers expect to have their products in hand within two days of placing their order. It doesn’t just stop at fast delivery times; consumers prefer free shipping options. 84% of consumers specifically made a purchase because shipping was free, while 30% said they increase the size of their orders if it qualifies them for free shipping. If you’re looking for a way to maximize sales in the last couple weeks of the year, participate in National Free Shipping Day. Brands target loyal and new customers with free shipping options and additional coupons during the one-day national event.
Q3 + Q4 Holidays/Events:
- Independence Day – July 4
- Labor Day – Sept 4
- Halloween – October 31
- Veteran’s Day – November 11
- Thanksgiving – November 23
- Black Friday – November 24
- Small Business Saturday – November 25
- Cyber Monday – November 27
- Green Monday – December 12
- National Free Shipping Day – December 14
- Hanukkah Begins – December 7
- Christmas – December 25
- New Year’s Eve – December 31
In retail, every season is selling season. Opportunities to reach new customers, sell more products, and grow market share are available throughout the year. Whether you’re looking to introduce a new product to the market or manage seasonal inventory, BDS is ready to deliver results that drive your brand forward!
Download the 2023 calendar here: 2023 Retail Holiday Calendar
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