Each year, retailers make the news due to site performance issues or an outage during the Black Friday shopping season. But, depending on your company’s business model and audience, Black Friday sales aren’t the only time DevOps professionals can expect increased web traffic. We’ve put together an eCommerce holiday calendar to help make sure you’re prepared for all the events impacting your site.

Below is a comprehensive list of online events where some businesses can expect an increase in traffic. Plus, we’ve created step-by-step instructions for DevOps professionals so they can prepare for these events. The Guide to Preparing for Hight Traffic Times covers what to do before, during, and after a high-traffic event.  

January Events

January 1st – New Year’s Day

The start of the year typically sees online deals for health and fitness-related items. January sales often last the entire month as businesses shift leftover stock, making way for the new year.

January 17th | Blue Monday

Some claim Blue Monday to be the most depressing day of the year. In 2005, Dr. Cliff Amall calculated how various factors, including miserable weather conditions and debt, come together on the third Monday of every January to drive consumers online to chase those blues away. It’s a more popular day outside the U.S. (where it usually coincides with the celebration of Martin Luther King Jr. Day).

January 25th | Chinese New Year

In 2020, Chinese New Year started January 25 and lasts until February 8. In China and Chinese communities around the world, it’s traditional to purchase food, gifts, and clothes, making it a major eCommerce event. According to PCA Predict, 73% of consumers in China are making these purchases digitally.

February Events

February 14th | Valentine’s Day

Online shopping, increased email communications, and heightened social media presence can make this celebration of romance a buzzing day online. Jewelry sales alone last year reached almost $5 billion. It’s worth keeping in mind, however, that the majority of shopping for Valentine’s Day is completed in the beginning of the month.

February 6th – 24th | Fashion Week 2020

There are Fashion Weeks in New York, London, and Milan across the whole of February, starting February 6-13 in New York, heading to London from February 14-18, and finishing in Milan from February 18-24. Fashion Week is big news for fashion and associated industries, leading not only to high profile shows on the catwalk, but increased interest in designers, fashion, and clothes shopping online.

March Events

March 8th | International Women’s Day (IWD)

This is a day to “challenge stereotypes, fight bias, broaden perceptions, improve situations and celebrate women’s achievements,” according to IWD. 2020’s celebration is expected to have more participants than usual. Activity will be centered around the theme #EachforEqual, with the goal being to help forge women’s equality worldwide. While the majority of retailers shouldn’t expect high traffic spikes on this day, social media is expected to be busy as women take to Instagram, Facebook, and other channels to share their celebrations.

April Events

April 10th – 13th | Easter

The exact dates for Easter vary every year. In 2020, Good Friday will fall on April 10, Easter Sunday, April 12, and Easter Monday, April 13. The National Retail Federation (NRF) estimated for 2019 that U.S. Easter shoppers would spend an average of $150 on Easter goods.

April 15th | Tax Day

While April 15 known as Tax Day since it’s the last day for U.S. citizens to file their taxes, tax season runs across March and April. Expect a surge in the last few days leading up to the deadline.

April 23rd – May 23rd | Ramadan

The Islamic holy month of Ramadan is a special time for Muslims around the world. Data collected by Webpals Inc. showed that traffic was up by 230% during Ramadan. People are buying as well as looking. The data shows that conversion is up by 30% across the month. Social media use spikes too, peaking at 3 am when it hits 200%.

May Events

May 10th | Mother’s Day

A big surge in sales can be expected in the run-up to one of the most important annual shopping dates, the second Sunday of May. In the U.S. and most countries around the rest of the world (asides from the U.K., which celebrates on March 31st), it’s time to celebrate the role of mothers. Consumers spent over $20 billion in the U.S. last year with $7 billion of that spent online. Most shopping takes place immediately before the holidays.

June Events

June 21st | Father’s Day

While people don’t splash out as much as on Mother’s Day, you can expect a major surge of traffic around this time. In 2018, Father’s Day spending landed at around $15 billion with nearly 30% of that happening online.  

July Events

Mid-July | Amazon Prime Day

The summer is a notoriously slow time for retail, but Amazon’s biggest, global shopping event is a two-day “parade of non-stop deals” for its Prime members. Other companies, such as Walmart, eBay, and Best Buy, have started to offer competing discounts at the same time. Amazon accounted for 40% of U.S. online retail sales in 2018 and brought in $5.8 billion in sales in 2019. The Seattle-based company usually announces the exact dates at the last minute, but it’ll always be mid-July.

August Events

August 1st – Labor Day | Back-to-School

Late summer is second in sales volume only to the November-December holiday season. Students and parents alike prepare for the new school year by getting supplies both in-person and online. 90% of back-to-school consumers start their shopping four to six weeks before school begins. According to Deloitte, the average back-to-school spend per child is $519. Devices being used to make purchases average out at about 50/50 mobiles vs. desktops/laptops.

October Events

October 31st | Halloween

Halloween has increasingly been growing in financial importance. According to NRF, $8.8 billion was spent last year in the U.S. on Halloween.

November Events

November is the busiest month of the year for sales as consumers prepare for Christmas. Consumers spent $517.36 billion online with U.S. merchants across 2018 with a large segment of this taking place in the run-up to Christmas. 

November 11th | Singles’ Day

Chinese Singles’ Day, also known as Bachelors’ Day, began at Nanjing University in 1993 and quickly spread to other universities. Today, the holiday has become a popular date for single people to celebrate by meeting and throwing parties. In just a few years, it has grown to become the largest offline and digital shopping day in the world. In 2020, Alibaba sold $38 billion worth of merchandise, breaking already impressive records. Retailers pulled all-nighters to keep pace with demand and high-speed trains were used to deliver packages.

November 20th – 23rd | El Buen Fin in Mexico

El Buen Fin is a Mexican, yearly nationwide shopping event, the country’s equivalent of Black Friday, which started in 2011. It takes place the weekend before the Mexican Revolution holiday. Sales have grown steadily from $2 billion in 2011 to $5.3 billion in 2018. Mexico was rated the fastest-growing retail e-Commerce market worldwide in 2019.

November 26th | Thanksgiving Day

Online shopping on Thanksgiving hit $4.2B in 2019, up 14.5% in 2018. 45% of those sales were made via mobile devices with both smartphones and tablets continuing to play a strong role in both browsing and conversions. Sales were boosted by large retailers stepping up discounts and widely marketing their Thanksgiving sales.

November 27th | Black Friday

Black Friday has spread from being an American phenomenon to an international shopping event. Online shopping this year on Black Friday hit a record $7.4 billion in what was the third-largest internet shopping day ever, according to data from Adobe Analytics.

November 30th | Cyber Monday

Following hard on the heels of Black Friday, Cyber Monday came into being after it was observed that the majority of Americans took a weekend off following the Thanksgiving holiday and continued with their sales-hunting on Monday. Cyber Monday 2019 saw U.S. consumers spending $9.4 billion online, smashing the previous year’s $7.9 billion. That’s a year-over-year growth of 19.7%, setting a record for the largest single sales day ever. As shoppers move over to digital rather than in-store spending, online sales via smartphones hit a record $3 billion for the first time in history.

December Events

Closely following November, the second busiest month in our eCommerce holiday calendar is December. Asides from Christmas, there are several other potentially busy days to watch out for in December: Green Monday (eBay’s biggest sales day), which falls on the second Monday in December; Free Shipping Day (December 13th), Super Saturday (the last Saturday before Christmas, also known as Panic Saturday) and Boxing Day (December 26th) for shoppers in the U.K. and Commonwealth, where it is traditionally marked by post-Christmas sales.

December 25th | Christmas

Over 2019, holiday retail sales in the U.S. were estimated to comprise $729.3 billion U.S. dollars. This is a substantial increase since the start of the century when holiday retail sales came to approximately 400 billion U.S. dollars. Holiday season eCommerce is also growing with larger and larger numbers of retailers and consumers going online.

December 31st | New Year’s Eve

New Year’s Eve is usually a big night for communications among friends and family. Expect higher than usual VoIP traffic, as well as email, and text.

Download the guide for details on how to prepare for these events. Included with the guide is a downloadable calendar.

ecommerce holiday guide high traffic