Bit of Fun

Should We Pay Attention To International Holidays On The Marketing Calendar?

  • Justyna Siodlowska
  • Mar 18, 2021

Justyna is always brimming with ideas at Wonderhatch and this week, she’s turned her attention to the marketing calendar, raising some relevant points about how we view holidays from around the world.

As brands and businesses continue to grow globally, Justyna thinks we should be paying more attention to how we connect to customers internationally, by paying special attention to the different holidays they celebrate.

Why Should We Pay Attention To International Holidays?

We’re all too familiar with seeing supermarket shelves fill up with Christmas-themed products before our pumpkins have started to wilt. Easter bunnies and their eggs start hopping into stores before we’ve even made it halfway through January. Then as soon as summer passes and we’re saying hello to September, BAM! The Pumpkins are back and the ghoulish decorations are coming out in force once again.

As tiresome as these early season rollouts can feel, no one can question the importance of seasonal and holiday marketing. As our society becomes more multicultural, we are seeing the presence of other international holidays become more prominent.

Why is this? Because the amount of money being spent during these periods is making more and more businesses sit up and pay attention.

Christmas, as we know, is the world’s biggest international holiday and it affects a plethora of different markets. Industries such as retail, shipping, freight, air travel, hospitality and tourism; to name a few, all see massive booms in business over December in the build-up to Christmas and New Year. Many non-Christian countries can and do, benefit from the Christmas market and why shouldn’t they?

An international holiday of that magnitude will always produce added business somewhere in the world. So why should it be any different here in the UK where we know, that some of our fellow citizens celebrate multiple international holidays that are also, being celebrated by billions of people around the globe?

“How many people do you know who’ve escaped somewhere tropical at Christmas? Not everyone might pick a Christmas cruise in the Caribbean. South-East Asia has been popular with British tourists for decades now!”

How Do We Know What Are The Best International Holidays To Keep Track of?

There isn’t any easy answer to that question. Independence Day in the U.S.A on the 4th of July will be a fixture in more people’s calendars than say, Finland’s on the 6th of December. But if you have a product or service which is currently being marketed in Thailand, does worrying about either even matter?

It’s easy to think of every international holiday as being quite a niche event with a very limited focus or demand during the time it runs. But the reality is this couldn’t be further from the truth, which is why we think it’s worth thinking about the following international holidays a bit more out of the box.

“Lakshmi, the Goddess of wealth and prosperity has a prominent place in several religions and as such, Diwali celebrations can be found happening all over the world in various communities”.

Diwali 4th November

The Festival of Lights” is one of the biggest holidays on the planet and is celebrated on its main day in over a dozen different countries. Hindus, Sikhs, Jains, and even some Buddhists, all celebrate the festival by offering prayers and thanks to Lakshmi, the goddess of prosperity. You can find many homes freshly cleaned and refurbished with families going all out on lights and fireworks to illuminate the darkest night of the lunar month.

We do mean going all out on those lights and fireworks. As Lakshmi is the goddess of wealth, many people do tend to splash the cash in the run-up to the festival on gold, jewellery, new furniture, electronics, and yes, lights and fireworks, either as gifts to others or, just for themselves. 

The Indian Commerce chambers estimated that during Diwali in 2017, $4.6 billion was spent on online shopping alone! 

India may be the largest country when it comes to numbers of Hindus, Sikhs, and Jains but there are hundreds of millions to be found in other countries as well. The UK for instance; is home to more than a million Hindus, Sikhs, and Jains. That’s still a sizeable market for businesses to compete in when it comes to spending on gifts and decorations in any of the areas we just mentioned!

Eid al-Fitr, May 13th 

Eid al-Fitr, “The Festival of Breaking Fast”, is the culmination of the month-long holiday of Ramadan in the Islamic faith. After a month of fasting, Muslims celebrate the end of Ramadan with large meals, usually enjoyed amongst family members, as well as being encouraged to make charitable donations to the poor or those in need. 

More than a billion Muslims take part in Ramadan every year. That’s a whole lot of hungry mouths to feed come to Eid, which usually lasts for three days. As you would probably expect, this means restaurants offering Halal-friendly foods are particularly busy during Eid although of course, not so much during a pandemic. 

However, you can typically expect a pretty significant shift in spending towards Eid as families prepare for the celebration. The UK is home to more than 3 million Muslims, which is a pretty substantial number to have spent a month eating after sunset and then feasting heavily during Eid. As such, holiday requests are a lot more common at this time of year among Muslims in the workforce, as some will take the opportunity to travel and visit family in other countries or different parts of the UK.

China – Chinese New Year 春节 – 12th February 

Often referred to as the “Spring Festival” and marking the beginning of a new year on the traditional Chinese calendar, it is one of the most important holidays in China. With each year marking a different zodiac sign, 2021 is the year of the Ox, and people born during these years are associated with hard work, logical thinking, honesty, and earnestness. 

Chinese New Year is not exclusively celebrated in China. Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, the Philippines, and Vietnam are all home to sizeable populations of ethnic Chinese as well as having their local variations of the festival. Additionally, London’s Chinatown is one of several cities that proudly claims the title of the biggest Chinese New Year celebrations outside of Asia. 

Spending during Chinese New Year is considerable. Despite the still worrying presence of Covid-19, spending during Chinese New Year in China in 2021 increased by more than 20% than the previous year to an eye-watering 638 billion Yuan. Whilst the global spending may not be quite as high, Chinese New Year is still a very big draw across the world commercially, just for the sheer spectacle. 

The bright lights and lanterns are well known for attracting big crowds every year during more normal circumstances. When coupled with fireworks and amazing live performances (who doesn’t love watching a dragon dance through the streets) as well as some wonderful food, Chinese New Year is too attractive a holiday to not take advantage of adding to your marketing calendar!

Embrace The Opportunity Of International Holidays

Hundreds of other international holidays could make great additions to your marketing calendar for the year which means, there are hundreds of amazing opportunities for you capitalise on creating great marketing material and campaigns that piggyback off what is already a global event with significantly higher visibility.

Not every holiday might be an opportunity to potentially increase business but they can serve as new unique opportunities for some self-promotion that might bring you into the crosshairs of future customers/clients. This can be a great boon for your creatives who might be struggling to come up with ways to mix it up to your marketing strategy throughout the year.

Día de Muertos”,  is probably the most iconic celebration in Mexico. Holidays such as “Cinco Del Mayo” and “Dia de la Independencia” are just as big!

Looking to plug a new line of condiments? Why not create some unique posts that tie in with Fat Thursday in Poland (“Tłusty czwartek”, the last Thursday before Lent!) to put a twist on your product marketing. Not wanting to see the love end after Valentine’s Day? Why not take advantage of Japan’s “White Day” (celebrated one month after across East-Asia) and keep pushing for more romantic gift giving.

So, make the most of international holidays at every opportunity. Reap the benefits of treating each of them as unique marketing days in your calendar!

Author: Justyna Siodlowska

Check Justyna out on LinkedIn.

Justyna is our fabulous film producer at Wonderhatch. She knows how to tell a story visually and is passionate about it. Her remit stretches far, she’s there from the budget spreadsheet to creative concept right through to the final edit post-production. Originally hailing from Warsaw, her light-hearted, straight-talking approach makes her a huge fan favourite from the office to the set.