Shope wholesale

7 Holidays and Events Retailers Should Prepare for in 2021

letter board showing store open times

With the New Year celebrations behind us, we’re finally settling into 2021, and it’s the perfect time to prepare your business for the next 11 months. Although there’s a lot of uncertainty about what the next year will look like, for retailers, it’s more important than ever to seize on opportunities that will prompt customers to spend.

Sales and promotions work because they give customers a reason to spend their money and the best time to run sales is when they align with things everyone is experiencing – like events or holidays.

To help your planning for the next year of your business, we’ve put together a list of dates that are ripe for retailers to take advantage of. Some of these have precise dates, while others are entire seasons, but all of them have been proven time and time again to be substantial revenue gatherers and should not be left off any marketing calendar.

1. Spring (March 20 – June 20)

A woman with a mask on browses a clothing store

This winter has been incredibly hard. Along with the bleak weather, we’ve also dealt with the mental and physical toll a pandemic and political unrest has taken. While Spring is welcomed with open arms every year, in 2021, the world is hanging out for it more than ever, and it’s a great time to run promotions and sales.

Spring signals a shift in the year and a massive opportunity for retailers. Most obviously, the weather improves and we’re able to make the most of the outdoors again. This presents an easy chance for retailers selling anything outdoor sports and leisure adjacent.

It’s also a season filled with a feeling of new beginnings and fresh starts. This is a prime time to showcase homewares and decor, ready for those about to start renovating or redecorating their home. Or, alternatively, latching onto the idea of the yearly ‘spring clean,’ cleaning products and organizational items have their time to shine.

With the shift to warmer weather and longer daylight hours, people also become more resolved to take better care of their health. This is a chance for any retailers selling food and beverages, skincare products, and anything that enables a more healthy lifestyle, such as products to build positive habits.

2. Mother’s Day (May 9)

On the second Sunday in May, moms across the country – and around the world – are celebrated by their families. But they aren’t only gifted homemade artwork in macaroni frames – Mother’s Day is one holiday where people love to spend. 

According to the National Retail Federation (NRF), 2020 spending for Mothers’ Day was expected to be close to $28 billion in the US alone, with shoppers spending an average of $205 on gifts and celebrations. Although Mother’s Day is always a popular holiday, it became more important in 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic. Sadly, with the virus not going anywhere in 2021, it will undoubtedly be the same case this year.

So, what products are popular with Mother’s Day shoppers? While moms might have a reputation for being thankful for any gift on their special day, there are a few categories that retailers should particularly highlight. As noted by the NRF, homewares, gardening tools, clothing, books, jewelry, and electronics have all been popular gifts in the last few years. And naturally, cards and gift wrapping are critical items for Mother’s Day, meaning a varied selection of these items is a sure-fire winner with customers.

3. Father’s Day (June 20)

A wrapped boxed is labelled 'happy father's day' next to a bunch of white flowers

A month after we celebrate the moms of the world, it’s dad’s turn on June 20. While the numbers of those planning to celebrate Father’s Day aren’t as high as Mother’s Day, 77 percent of consumers are still a mighty majority and signals a huge opportunity for retailers.

In 2020 spending on Father’s Day was estimated to be around $17 billion, with customers opting for clothing, gift cards, sporting goods, tools, and personal care products, as well as greeting cards. 

However, even if you’re a retailer that doesn’t stock these items, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t promote your products for Father’s Day. Around 41 percent of people celebrating their dads found the most crucial thing in their gift selection was securing a unique item, providing a great chance to showcase various gift ideas.

4. Independence Day (July 4)

The fourth of July may be a one-day celebration. However, Americans still planned to spend, on average, around $76 per person on Independence Day celebrations, including things like food, drinks, decorations, and apparel. 

The holiday is also symbolic of the start of summer, making it the perfect time to show off your summer-related products. Retailers who carry items like outdoor furniture, tools, gardening supplies, BBQ and picnic supplies, and outdoor games should be spotlighting these items.  And it’s also the season to highlight apparel and accessories like dresses, shorts, sandals, sunglasses, hats, and anything else appropriate for warm weather. 

Summer is also a time when people are looking to get away on vacation. Although covid will reduce travel in 2021 compared to regular years, there will still be demand for travel-related items, such as luggage, souvenirs, and other accessories

5. Back-to-School and Season (Late August – early September)

Flat lay of school supplies include a laptop, books, pens and calculator,

Did you know that the back-to-school and back-to-collect periods are up there amongst the biggest spending events of the year? Parents and students spent $101 billion ahead of the start of the school year in 2020. This was a massive increase on previous years due to covid forcing students to become online learners and parents purchasing computer accessories and desks. 

Overall, back-to-college spending edges out back-to-school spending as the higher of the two, with the average planned spend at a whopping $1059 per household. That’s some significant cash being splashed. 

For retailers looking to target future college students and their parents, items like furniture, decor, electronics, shoes and clothing, personal care, and, naturally, school supplies are all popular categories. Anything that could be helpful to a college student in their studies, or dorm and apartment life presents an opportunity to hold a back-to-college promotion.

For younger students, back-to-school spending is also high across the school supplies, shoes and clothing, and electronics categories. And households with school-aged children planned to spend $789 on their back-to-school season shopping spree. Organizational items is another category that retailers should showcase. After all, turning a bedroom into a classroom certainly requires a level of reorganization.

6. Halloween (October 31)

Halloween comes but once a year; however, the celebrations for this spooky holiday often start weeks before the big day. This is one holiday that can generate a lot of cash for those who market their products for the Halloween market. Halloween 2020 saw over $8 billion in spending – and that was despite a pandemic disrupting regular Halloween activities.

It should come as no surprise that candy was a purchase planned by nearly everyone celebrating Halloween, with decorations coming in as the second most popular planned spend. Around 65 percent of those celebrating Halloween also planned to buy costumes. This is a perfect opportunity for retailers selling anything from pet costumes to jewelry to clothing and shoes. Finally, 40 percent of people planning to spend over the Halloween period were looking to buy greeting cards – a great chance to stock your most adorable pumpkin-themed cards and get them in front of Halloween shoppers.

7. Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, Cyber Monday (November 26, 27, 29)

A woman visiting an online store website with a "black friday" banner

Everyone knows the weeks leading up to Christmas are when some serious spending happens, but there’s one weekend in particular where shoppers go wild. Black Friday weekend 2020 saw Shopify store owners alone process over $5.1 billion in sales, with the average cart price sitting at around $89. 

Black Friday is now a worldwide event and has even extended beyond a long weekend, with many retailers holding sales in the week leading up to Black Friday. 

What’s more, is that in recent years there has been more and more focus on small and medium businesses, over big box stores. The Saturday between Black Friday and Cyber Monday has even been dubbed Small Business Saturday, which is ideal for SMBs to get out there and promote their products.

The opportunity for sales during this period is endless. It doesn’t matter whether you’re selling seasonal products for Christmas or winter, gift cards, jewelry, pet supplies, home decor, clothes, or toys. Even those retailers who generally experience a slower season during the colder months shouldn’t shy away from promoting products. After all, everyone needs something to for the summer months.

Looking to discover new brands and grow your business? Join Handshake now and start connecting with our handpicked creators.

Shopify uses cookies to provide necessary site functionality and improve your experience. By using our website, you agree to our privacy policy and our cookie policy.