Get ready for 2018’s key shopping days: download your retail holiday calendar

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.

A wall planner above a desk, highlight all of the key shopping days in the retail holiday calendar.

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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.


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 fulfillment 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.


  • 22 – Thanksgiving: In recent years, mobile shopping has grown in popularity and retailers have started Black Friday deals earlier online. This means that Thanksgiving is becoming an important shopping day in its own right. According to Google, Thanksgiving revenues nearly doubled year-on-year between 2016 and 2017.
  • 23 – Black Friday: The day after Thanksgiving has seen the start of Christmas shopping since the 1950s. A record $5 billion was spent in 24 hours in 2017, according to Adobe Digital Insights.
  • 24 – Small Business Saturday: Set up by American Express in 2010, this day offers independent retailers the chance to come together and compete against the big-box stores that dominate Black Friday.
  • 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.


  • 10 – Green 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 incentivize 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.


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.
The cover of the white paper Plan for Peak: Maximizing Your Black Friday, Cyber Monday & Holiday Sales

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