There aren’t many calendars busier than the retail marketing calendar. Every month brings with it a host of key retail dates – federal holidays; observed holidays; religious holidays, and more – from the silly to the serious.
In this blog, we will list all of the important dates you should have in your ecommerce marketing calendar, including why they’re important and some ideas about how your business can craft marketing campaigns around them.
We will also provide you with a downloadable ecommerce marketing calendar so you won’t miss a thing.
Key ecommerce dates and holidays in Q1
Q1 (January to March) starts off with a bang (literally – with New Year fireworks). In January, consumers are full to the brim with treats and gifts after the Christmas period, but crash back to reality by the time Blue Monday rolls around. It’s not all doom and gloom, though, because February is full of love and romance, and in March there are celebrations to be had.
Key ecommerce dates in this quarter include Blue Monday, Galentine’s Day, Valentine’s Day, Singles Day, International Women’s Day, and St Patrick’s Day.
Key dates in January
New Year’s Day
“New Year, new me.” For many people, a new year is a fresh start: a time to set new goals and resolutions. Businesses can harness this popular sentiment by building marketing campaigns that promote introductory offers, 30-day challenges, etc.
Dry January is when people endeavor to steer clear of alcohol throughout January. It falls into the theme of the self-improvement that typically follows the New Year. Encourage healthy habits through your marketing campaigns, or perhaps treat consumers to a distraction from alcohol with promotional offers.
Veganuary is when people endeavor to be vegan for the entire month of January. If your business has any relevance to this, you could build a marketing campaign around it.
Third Monday of January
The third Monday of January is also known as ‘Blue Monday’, aka the most depressing day of the year. Spread joy on this day by creating marketing campaigns that encourage consumers to treat themselves, by offering discounts, special deals, free shipping, and so on.
Quitter's Day or Ditch New Year’s Resolution Day is the day people are most likely to give up on their New Year’s resolutions (yep, it’s that fast!). Remotivate customers with relevant offers and deals, or let them embrace the quitters life with a reminder that they’re wonderful just as they are.
Chinese New Year
Beginning on the new moon between January 21 and February 20
Chinese New Year (aka Spring Festival) is the festival that celebrates the beginning of a new year on the traditional lunisolar Chinese calendar. It lasts 16 days, spanning from Chinese New Year’s Eve to the Lantern Festival. It is a time when families come together and exchange gifts.
Key dates in February
Groundhog Day is an old tradition observed in North America, and is so named because on this day groundhogs are believed to emerge from their burrow. If they see their shadow due to clear weather, they will retreat to their den, which signals there are six more weeks of winter. If they do not see their shadow due to cloudy weather, they will not retreat, and spring will come early.
Groundhog Day is a good opportunity to play around with some fun marketing messages to increase customer engagement.
World Cancer Day
World Cancer Day is about raising awareness of cancer and encouraging prevention and treatment. This is a good time to educate your consumers about relevant charities and alert them to corporate social responsibility initiatives you’re involved in.
Galentine’s Day is the day before Valentine’s Day and is dedicated to celebrating platonic friendships, often among women (Gal + Valentines = Galentines). It was coined in the TV show Parks and Recreation.
Galentine’s Day is a big commercial holiday where brands can help consumers treat their girl friends by offering discounts and special offers.
Valentine’s Day is the ultimate Hallmark holiday to celebrate love and meaningful relationships. Think romance, indulgence, hearts, roses, chocolates, champagne – and lots of pink and red.
Many businesses will acknowledge Valentine’s Day through email campaigns and may even adopt a Valentine’s Day theme across products or services in the lead-up to the occasion.
Following on from Valentine’s Day is Singles Day (or Singles Awareness Day). This day is all about celebrating singledom and embracing self-love and friendships. Businesses may create empowering and heartwarming marketing campaigns for this day to nurse singles out of the Valentine’s Day hangover.
Random Act of Kindness Day
Random Act of Kindness Day is as it sounds – a day to be randomly kind to strangers for no reason. This is a good opportunity for businesses to encourage kindness and to brighten someone’s day to receive good karma.
Love Your Pet Day
This day is all about giving even more (if possible) love and attention to our pets. Increase customer engagement by encouraging people to share pictures of their pets, and perhaps offer a prize to the best entry!
Key dates in March
The first day of March is Shrove Tuesday, which is more commercially known as Pancake Day. It is the traditional feast day before the start of Lent on Ash Wednesday (2 March), which lasts for 40 days leading up to Easter.
International Women’s Day
International Women’s Day is celebrated on March 8 and is a day to celebrate the achievements and contributions of women and girls around the world. Show your support by advocating for women’s rights, platforming female voices and stories, and giving to charities that further the cause.
In East Asia, White Day is celebrated exactly one month after Valentine’s Day. It is where people who received a gift on Valentine’s Day reciprocate the gesture.
St. Patrick’s Day
St. Patrick’s Day is a cultural and religious celebration of Irish heritage. There are parades and festivals around the world, proudly sporting the color green and the shamrock.
In March, depending on the year
Holi is a Hindu festival (also known as the Festival of Spring or the Festival of Colors) that celebrates spring and new life. It is celebrated with color, dancing, singing, and throwing powder paint and colored water (hence its nickname).
Key ecommerce days and holidays in Q2
In Q2 (April to June), spring has officially sprung for those of us in the Northern Hemisphere, and we leave winter behind for another year.
Q2 is a busy period in the ecommerce marketing calendar, with lots of holidays and festivities to take advantage of. Key retails dates in Q2 include Easter, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Pride Month, Summer Solstice, and lots more!
Key dates in April
April Fools’ Day
April Fools’ Day is a day for practical jokes and pranks. Businesses can join in on the fun by playing their own pranks, and could even use gamification to boost customer engagement.
National Sibling Day
National Sibling Day is about celebrating the unique relationship between siblings and spoiling them with gifts. Businesses can leverage this day of gift-giving and quality time-spending by putting on sibling-themed promotional offers.
Observed over four days, starting on a Sunday between March 22 and April 25,
Easter weekend is a Christian holiday that is observed around the world, where friends and family get together and enjoy food and candy. Retailers usually adopt an Easter theme synonymous with new life (bunnies, eggs, chicks, etc.) and put on promotions to celebrate the occasion. In fact, Easter is becoming one of the most important sales periods in the year.
You could gamify promotions by creating an easter egg hunt where you hide a promotional code somewhere on your website or in your social media posts.
Earth Day is an annual event to demonstrate support for environmental protection. This is a great opportunity to let your customers know what causes you care about, and whether any of your products are sustainably made, eco-friendly, or recycled. Perhaps share a personal story with your customers and spread awareness by directing them to a related charity.
International Dance Day
International Dance Day is a global celebration of dance. It was created by the International Theater Institute, the main partner for the performing arts of UNESCO. If your product and/or service has any ties to dance, or your customers like to dance, spread the word about this day in your marketing.
Honesty Day is all about – you guessed it – honesty. This is a day to encourage your customers to be honest in all of their relationships – personal, professional, and political. Perhaps you can run a social media campaign and share an honest tale of your own.
Key dates in May
Star Wars Day
“May the 4th be with you.” Star Wars Day is about celebrating the incredibly popular media franchise. If your customers are Star Wars fanatics, this is probably one of the most important retail dates for you. Perhaps run a Star Wars-themed promotion and share references throughout your email and social media communications.
Cinco De Mayo
Cinco De Mayo is an annual celebration to commemorate the anniversary of Mexico’s victory over France. Today, Cinco De Mayo is a celebration of Mexican culture and heritage, characterized by delicious food, dance, and color.
Second Sunday in May
Mother’s Day is celebrated all over the world. It’s a day for us to show our mothers – or mother figures – just how much they mean to us and how special they are. Businesses can capitalize on Mother’s Day by sending email campaigns with special offers and discounts that encourage consumers to treat their mothers.
World Cocktail Day
World Cocktail Day is a global celebration of cocktails, dating back to 1806 when the word ‘cocktail’ was first defined as “a stimulating liquor, composed of spirits of any kind, sugar, water and bitters.”
Join in on the fun by getting creative: perhaps gift customers with a free cocktail voucher at their local bar, poll your customers on social media to find out what their favorite cocktail is, or sign off your emails by reminding customers to enjoy their favorite cocktail after work.
World Baking Day
Third Sunday in May
Pull out your apron and wooden spoon, because World Baking Day falls on the third Sunday of May. This is a day to inspire people to bake for their loved ones and share their homemade baking with those around them.
World Bee Day
World Bee Day is about acknowledging the important role that bees and other pollinators have in our ecosystem. It falls on May 20 because that is when Anton Janša, the pioneer of beekeeping, was born in 1734. Use this day to spread awareness about bees, direct customers to initiatives that are supporting the cause, and maybe add a bee-themed creative to your marketing communications on this day.
National Wine Day
National Wine Day is a day to celebrate everything that there is to love about wine. If you have any wine-related products, promote them on your homepage or on your social media, perhaps with a discount code. Or, keep it simple by posting a social media post reminding your customers to treat themselves to a glass of red (or whatever tickles their fancy).
The last Monday of May
Memorial Day is a federal holiday in the United States to mourn and honor those who have lost their lives serving in the United States armed forces. It is celebrated by placing flowers and American flags on the graves of military personnel.
Memorial Day is not a day for commercial discounts and sales. Instead, keep the tone respectful and acknowledge those who have served via an email, social media update, or message on your website.
National Smile Day
“You’re never fully dressed without a smile!” National Smile Day is a day for encouraging people to smile. Perhaps use humor, or run giveaways or competitions – anything you know will make your customers grin from ear to ear.
Key dates in June
In the United States, June is also known as Pride Month which is celebrated annually to increase the visibility, equality, and respect of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, intersex, and asexual (LGBTQIA+) people. Throughout the month, there are parades, marches, festivals, rallies, community days, commemorations, and much more.
Demonstrate your support and alleyship by building a marketing campaign around Pride Month where you can share stories, resources and links to charities.
Best Friends Day
Best Friends Day is a fun-loving occasion for celebrating our nearest and dearest. Brands can get onboard by encouraging customers to celebrate their friends, perhaps by putting on 2-for-1 deals.
World Gin Day
Second Saturday in June
Gin lovers, rejoice! World Gin Day is the perfect chance to have some fun on social media or polling your customers on their favorite gin flavors. Or, maybe you run a competition and gift the winner with a trip to a gin distillery near them!
In the United States, Flag Day is celebrated to commemorate the adoption of the American flag in 1977. Appeal to customers’ patriotism by erecting the flag across marketing messages or by harnessing a red, white, and blue theme.
Third Sunday in June
Father’s Day is a day to celebrate all that our fathers – and father figures – do for us. Father’s Day is less commercially significant than Mother’s Day is, but it’s a great opportunity to encourage kindness and gift-giving.
Juneteenth is a federal holiday in the United States to commemorate the day that enslaved people were emancipated in 1865. Be mindful on this day in terms of the marketing campaigns you are running.
20 or 21 June marks the Summer Solstice for those living in the Northern Hemisphere, aka the longest day of the year. (And in the Southern Hemisphere, this day marks the Winter Solstice.) This signals that summer is in full swing, so be sure to spread good vibes – and encourage everyone to wear SPF!
International Yoga Day
This one is for the yogis. International Yoga Day has been celebrated annually on June 21 since 2015 to appreciate the spiritual, physical, and mental practice of yoga, which originated in ancient India. If you have any yogis in your customer base, spread the word about this day through your marketing efforts, or maybe run a 30-day yoga challenge.
National Selfie Day
Paris Hilton says she invented the selfie, and though that isn’t strictly the case, she definitely helped to popularize it in the noughties. National Selfie Day has been celebrated on June 21 since 2014, one year after the word ‘selfie’ was crowned the word of the year in 2013 by Oxford Dictionaries. This is a day to have some fun in your marketing (and maybe share a selfie or two).
Social Media Day
Social Media Day is celebrated on June 30 and is about celebrating all of the great ways we use social media and the relationships we have built. Use this day to highlight your brand’s greatest social media moments, and maybe run a competition to incentivise customers to tag your brand in their social posts.
Key ecommerce dates in Q3
With summer in full swing and autumn on the horizon, there are lots of important dates to take note of in Q3 (July to September). Key dates in this quarter include: Independence Day, World Chocolate Day, Labor Day, and more.
Key dates in July
July 1 marks the day the nation of Canada was established in 1867. It’s a nationwide celebration, where parties, parades, fireworks, concerts, and barbeques take place around the country.
Canadian businesses – or those with connections to Canada – may celebrate this day with special offers and discount codes. If your business isn’t Canadian, you can still join in on the fun by offering free shipping to Canada for one day only.
Independence Day is a federal holiday that commemorates the Declaration of Independence which established the United States of America in 1776. It’s a day of nationwide celebration and a day for retailers to treat their customers to special promotions (while sporting red, white, and blue, of course).
World Chocolate Day
Chocolate is adored the world–over, and there are different types of chocolate for everyone to enjoy. So, naturally, there’s a global day of recognition for it. Retailers can join in on the fun by offering customers their favorite sweet treat free with any purchase.
Spans four days, and the dates shift every year and in different countries
Eid al-Adha is a Muslim holiday meaning “Feast of Sacrifice”. It is the bigger of the two main holidays celebrated in Islam (Eid al-Fitr), and marks the culimination of the pilgrimage to Mecca, and is celebrated around the world. It’s important that retailers be respectful during all religious holidays.
Bastille Day is a national holiday in France to commemorate the start of the French Revolution in 1789 and celebrates the unity of French people. It is celebrated through parades – one of which is on Paris's Champs-Elysees, which is known as “the oldest and largest military parade in Europe.”
Ecommerce businesses can join in on this day of cultural significance by offering discount codes, free shipping to France, and more.
World Emoji Day
World Emoji Day occurs annually on July 17 to celebrate the emoji. Emojis are fixtures of modern day communication, and there are over 3,000 emojis and counting. This means there’s an emoji for almost every occasion, so be sure to incorporate them into your marketing messaging to appeal to your customers.
National Ice Cream Day
The third Sunday in July
“I scream, you scream, we all scream for ice cream!” National Ice Cream Day was declared by former US President Ronald Reagan in 1984 because he wanted to celebrate his love of ice cream. And considering the average American consumes roughly 20 pounds (or four gallons) of ice cream every year – it’s a popular holiday.
International Day of Friendship
International Day of Friendship is an annual event to celebrate and appreciate our friendships. Ecommerce businesses can capitalize on this holiday by offering discounts for groups and referral incentives so that customers can share the love with those they hold dear.
National Avocado Day
Avocados are at their peak of ripeness in Califoria at the end of July, making it the perfect time to celebrate everyone’s favorite healthy-fat filled fruit.. Observe this fun holiday by sharing your favorite recipe or an avocado pun or two.
Key dates in August
International Cat Day
International Cat Day is on August 8 every year, and was created by the International Fund for Animal Welfare to raise awareness about cat adoption. Spread the word and celebrate your four-legged friends on this day.
Book Lovers Day
Book Lovers Day is celebrated every year on August 9 to celebrate reading and literature. If this relates to your business, you can run promotional campaigns in the lead up to this day, or run a competition where customers can win a prize if they share their favorite book and why.
National Nonprofit Day
August 17 is a day to recognize nonprofit organizations and their ongoing efforts to give back to their local communities. If your business has an affiliation or partnership with a nonprofit, today would be the day to shout about it.
World Photography Day
World Photography Day is celebrated annually on August 19 to pay tribute to art and history of photography. Encourage customers to take some photography of their own, or maybe share your favorite photographs.
International Dog Day
International Dog Day is celebrated every year on August 26 and is all about giving our furry friends as much love and appreciation as we can. Run some paw-some discounts for pet lovers on this day, and don’t forget to share some cute pictures!
Key dates in September
First Monday of September
Labor Day is a federal holiday in the United States to recognize the American labor movement and the contributions of labor within America. Typical celebrations on this three-day weekend include parades and barbeques (before the kids go back to school), so join in on the fun.
International Grandparents Day
First Sunday after Labor Day
It’s only fair that grandparents get their own day of recognition, so encourage your customers to spoil their grandmas and grandpas by running promotional offers or promoting special-occasion gifts.
International Literacy Day
International Literacy Day was declared by UNESCO in 1966 and was celebrated for the first time in 1967. It is a day to observe and highlight the importance of education, and is a great time to spread awareness about initiatives doing good work within education around the country and the world, and engage with your audience about the developments in education.
National Hispanic Heritage Month
15 September to 15 October
Every year from September 15 to October 15, National Hispanic Heritage Month is celebrated to recognize the contributions and achievements of Hispanic and Latin American cultures. This month is a great time to show support and share stories from Hispanic and Latin American role models and community members.
Two weeks, beginning the first Sunday of October
Oktoberfest is the world’s largest beer and folk festival celebrating Bavarian culture. Every year it is held in Munich, Bavaria, Germany, and lasts for 16 to 18 days, but there are celebrations all around the world.
International Day of Peace
International Day of Peace, or World Peace Day, is observed annually on September 21. It was created by the United Nations to raise the standards of peace around the world, and businesses can show their support on their social media channels.
World Tourism Day
World Tourism Day has been celebrated on August 27 since 1980 because that date marks the anniversary of the adoption of the Statutes of the Organization in 1970. This paved the way for UNWTO to be established, and is considered to be a milestone in global tourism.
Key ecommerce dates in Q4
Q4 marks the last quarter of the year (October to December), but in no way does that mean it’s a quiet month. Instead, it is arguably the busiest time of year for ecommerce businesses.
From Halloween and Thanksgiving to Christmas, festivities are aplenty. And there are too many sales periods to count. Consider the most important dates for your business, and work around them.
Key ecommerce dates in this quarter include: Thanksgiving, Black Friday, Cyber Monday, Christmas Day, Boxing Day.
Key dates in October
Breast Cancer Awareness Month
1 to 31 October
Breast Cancer Awareness Month is an international health campaign that is backed by major breast cancer charities around the world to spread awareness about the disease and raise funds for research into the cause, prevention, and diagnosis, treatment, and cure. Show your support for this cause throughout the month of October.
International Coffee Day
Coffee is what keeps many of us functioning day to day, so why not celebrate it on October 1? Incorporate International Coffee Day in some way into your marketing to increase engagement, and if you offer any coffee-related products, run promotional offers on this day.
World Vegetarian Day
World Vegetarian day is a celebration of the vegetarian community. It was established in 1977 “to promote the joy, compassion and life-enhancing possibilities of vegetarianism.”
World Mental Health Day
October 10 is World Mental Health Day – a day to recognize and spread awareness of mental health, to promote education, and to dismantle social stigmas. Join in the conversation by pointing customers to mental health charities and initiatives.
Five days, between mid-October and mid-October
Diwali is India’s biggest holiday, celebrated over five days by Hindus, Sikhs, and Jains around the world. It is known as a festival of lights because people put lights outside their homes to symbolize the inner light that protects from spiritual darkness.
Halloween is a holiday observed around the world. It originated from Celtic harvest festivals which are believed to have pagan roots, and signaled the end of the annual harvest season. Today, it is characterized by ‘spooky’ costumes and decorations and trick-or-treating. Halloween is a great excuse to spread some festive cheer across your marketing channels.
Key dates in November
1 to 30 November
Movember (Men’s Health Awareness Month) is run by the Movember Foundation. It is when men grow mustaches to raise awareness of men’s health issues such as mental health, suicide, prostate cancer, and testicular cancer. Support the cause by directing customers to charities and initiatives supporting the cause. And, of course, don’t forget about the mustache!
The last Thursday in November
Thanksgiving is celebrated annually, and is about giving thanks for what we have and spending time with friends and family. Thanksgiving is a great time to thank your customers for their support and loyalty over the last year.
Day After Thanksgiving
Black Friday is perhaps the biggest date in the ecommerce marketing calendar. It marks the start of the Christmas shopping season with many businesses putting on mass sales – some of which begin at the stroke of midnight and last until Monday (Cyber Monday).
Businesses should make the most of this sale season as many consumers will hold out until this weekend to do their shopping. In fact, in 2021, Black Friday spending reached a whopping $8.9 billion in the US.
Small Business Saturday
Saturday after Thanksgiving
Small Business Saturday is observed on the Saturday after Thanksgiving, during the year’s busiest sales period. It is a day to support small businesses and shop local where possible. If you’re a small business, this is your day to shine.
Monday after Black Friday
Cyber Monday is an extension of Black Friday: the biggest ecommerce sale period of the year, spanning from the Friday after Thanksgiving, over the weekend, and to the end of the following Monday. Be sure to put on some irresistible deals to boost your sales over this period.
Eight days and nights, between end of November and end of December
Hanukkah is the Jewish festival of lights that lasts for eight days and nights between the end of November and end of December (depending on the year), and is traditionally a time for gift-giving.
Key dates in December
Free Shipping Day
Free Shipping Day is a one-day promotional event where retailers offer customers free shipping. It’s a great opportunity to boost sales after the Black Friday/Cyber Monday sales weekend. Better yet, with this day occurring mid-December, you can still promise your customers will receive their shopping in time for Christmas Eve.
Christmas is a religious holiday for Christians around the world, and is also observed by those who are non-religious. It is typically a time for spending with family and exchanging presents.
In the ecommerce world, Christmas is the pièce de résistance. In 2021, Christmas holiday sales reached $211.41 billion, which was up 54.9% compared with the 2019 holiday period. It’s no wonder, then, that ecommerce businesses should build their marketing calendars around this period.
Boxing Day is celebrated the day after Christmas Day in the UK, Canada, Australia and New Zealand, and is known as a shopping holiday. Consumers can get their hands on discounted goods – often from the comfort of their homes – so don’t miss this opportunity to grab their attention.
New Year’s Eve
If you think that consumers run out of steam and are sick of the sales period by the end of the year, you’d be wrong. Ecommerce traffic is still high on New Year’s Eve, perhaps due to the Christmas blues, so treat your customers to some promotions and discounts over the New Year period.
Annual ecommerce marketing calendars are packed to the rafters with holidays and observation days. Not all of the dates listed here will be relevant for your business – and it’s probably best not to celebrate too many, as you risk exhausting your customers and seeming ingenuine – but select a handful you know that you could have real fun with, and craft marketing campaigns around them. Leverage all your communication channels, especially social media, and record your results so that you know what works and what doesn’t in time for next year.
Feel free to download Ortto's 2022 ecommerce marketing calendar here.