With peak season seeming to get longer every year, we’ve put together a downloadable wall planner to help you prepare. Get your copy below, then read on to find out what the key dates in the 2018 retail holiday calendar will be.
The key dates in the 2018 retail holiday calendar
Although the big shopping days don’t start until late November, your planning for them should begin now. Here’s a month-by-month list of the key dates to consider.
AUGUST – OCTOBER
These three months are all about laying the foundations for a successful peak season. Think about:
- Supplier lead times: Manufacturers are often maxed out in Q4, so remember to order stock early, to avoid disappointing customers later. This extends to consumables like boxes, tape and address labels too.
- Goods-in deadlines: If you work with a fulfilment provider, they’ll often ask you to ship your inventory to them early. This means they can have everything ready to pick and pack when Black Friday orders rush in.
- Shipping cut-offs: Many couriers adjust their pick-up and delivery times over peak, to cope with the extra volume of parcels. Check these out, so you can update your processes and customers in good time.
- 23 – Black Friday: The day after Thanksgiving has seen US sales shopping since the 1950s. Brought to the UK by Amazon and Asda in 2014, the day was worth £2.5 billion to retailers in 2017, says PCA Predict, making it one of the biggest on the retail holiday calendar
- 26 – Cyber Monday: Created as a PR stunt in 2005, Cyber Monday started as the online answer to Black Friday. According to ComScore, it’s now outgrown it.
- 01 – Small Business Saturday: This grassroots movements offers a chance for independent stores to compete with the household names that usually dominate the retail holiday calendar.
- 03 – Manic Monday: This Monday was traditionally the season’s biggest online shopping day. Today, sales remain high, but are dwarfed by Black Friday / Cyber Monday.
- 14 – Free Shipping Day: Another PR stunt, this time from 2008, which retailers of all sizes have now adopted. It provides a chance to incentivise last-minute gift buying with free delivery before Christmas Day.
- 22 – Super Saturday: The last Saturday before Christmas has always been a busy one for panic buying. But this year, we expect to see peak panic online on Friday 21 December – the last shipping day for guaranteed delivery on Christmas Eve.
- 25 – Christmas Day: Recently, mobile shopping has grown in popularity and retailers have started Boxing Day sales early online. This means that Christmas Day is now a key shopping day in its own right. According to the Centre for Retail Research, £1 billion was spent in 2017.
- 26 – Boxing Day: The traditional start of post-Christmas sales on the high street is now being eroded by the Christmas Day trends described above.
It’s tempting to think that peak season ends on Christmas Day. But with Experian-IMRG reporting that up to 40% of peak purchases are returned, the work will continue well into the New Year.
- 14 – Peak Returns Week: In 2017, we received the most returns in the third week of January.
UPDATE: we’ve refreshed this wall planner – and the accompanying “Plan for Peak” white paper for 2019. For this year’s key shopping dates and trends, get your free downloads today.