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The Retail Calendar for 2019: Key Dates & Moments

23 January 2019

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The start of the year is always exciting for the retail industry, as we have a whole year of dates ahead to prepare for! We’ve rounded up key moments for the 2019 retail calendar and offered up our recommendations for each holiday, celebration or trend.

2019 retail calendar

25th January: Burn’s Night

This traditional Scottish date in the diary often leads to a spike in whisky sales, particularly Scotch whisky. It’s also common to see a general rise in the purchase of alcohol, as the tradition is celebrated around the UK. Pay homage to Scotland with St. Andrew’s flags and place special offers on any products that could be related to this special date, such as shortbread, haggis and even Irn Bru!

5th February: Chinese New Year

Whilst the buzz of our New Year has died down, Chinese New Year is ready to be celebrated. But with the Chinese population spread across the globe, we should be mindful of its impact on the UK retail industry. There is a revival of Chinese culture on the UK eating out scene, as well as greater opportunity to attract younger shoppers to buy brands from different cultures. Let us push your brands to be noticed in-store and boost impulse sales during this cultural holiday celebration.

14th February: Valentine’s Day

The most romantic date of our retail calendar, Valentine’s Day certainly brings in the sales. On average, £43 million more is spent on wine, chilled desserts and chocolate boxes over the two weeks surrounding the love celebration. This is the perfect opportunity to add a feature area for Valentine’s merchandise and ensure continuous stock replenishment. (Kantar 2018)

5th March: Pancake Day

This day needs no introduction. The week running up to Pancake Day, also known as Shrove Tuesday, is the perfect time to create a display of flour, eggs, sugar, lemon juice and other related products like pancake mix and frying pans!

17th March: St. Patrick’s Day

Similar to Burn’s Day, St. Patrick’s Day often sees a spike in alcohol sales, particularly Guinness. It’s not just the Irish who celebrate so take advantage of this day in your store with decorations, special offers and relevant social media marketing.

31st March: Mother’s Day

Unsurprisingly, consumers spent £600 million on this date in 2018. This was a 3.4% increase on the previous year. Aside from the usual flowers, chocolates and gift sets, you should really think outside the box with this one. Shoppers are in store spending, why not use us to create impulse displays and make your brand visible?

19th – 21st April: Easter

Easter is the second biggest trading moment by value in the 2019 retail calendar and it’s worth around £590m to the UK industry. Take note, vegan confectionary is on the rise along with all the other plant-based products, with 8% of ‘chocolate launches in the UK’ being vegan last year. Store staff focus on seasonal aisles during this time – don’t let your brand get neglected. Let us merchandise in store so you don’t lose any visibility on shelf. (Mintel 2018)

5th May – 4th Jun:  Ramadan

Typically, the month of Ramadan is celebrated by around four million Muslims in the UK. Brands must become aware of buying patterns during this time and leading up to it as it’s now estimated that the holiday is worth £200 million each year. (TrendJackers 2018)

16th June: Father’s Day

Perhaps surprisingly, consumers spent more on this day than on Mother’s Day! In 2018, the UK’s expenditure for Father’s Day totalled £799m. It’s worth knowing that 46% of shoppers bought personalised gifts – keep this in mind when finalising your product ranges for 2019. (Savvy 2018)

June – July: Summer months

During the summer period, it’s reported that consumers change their spending and shopping habits. This is due to a number of factors: children being off school and therefore routines changing, healthier eating and last-minute plans such as BBQs. Obviously, this has a bigger impact on grocery stores so take advantage by promoting seasonal foods, easy meals for kids and fresh produce for health-conscious shoppers. (IGD 2018)

August: Back to school

As the kids go back to school, stores should be mindful of this important peak in the retail calendar. Over £1.4 billion was spent on back to school products last year – from uniforms to lunch boxes to stationery. Make shopping easier for parents with bundles and multi-buy offers, as well as ease of access to all the things they’re looking for.

September: Freshers

Similarly, university students are starting their terms during this time of year. The same strategies can work for this target audience but with slightly different products such as homeware and technology. Also, bear in mind that freshers have just got their loans and are likely to splash out on luxury goods like trainers, make-up and clothes – right through October, too! (Channel Advisor 2018)

31st October: Halloween

Interestingly, there was a 5% increase in consumer spending for Halloween from 2017 to 2018. This took the expenditure from £400 million to a staggering £419 million which could be due to millennials buying more everyday beauty products for Halloween! The rise of Instagram make-up artists and YouTube tutorials are likely to be behind this. (Mintel 2018)

5th November: Bonfire Night

With £316 million being spent on this holiday last year, it’s worth considering how your retail business can take advantage. You don’t just have to sell fireworks or Catherine Wheels – think of the food and drink consumed at Bonfire Night events, too. (Mintel 2018)

29th November: Black Friday

Once a primarily American event, Black Friday has rapidly spread overseas to the UK and the rest of the world in recent years. Most people looking to purchase a product either for themselves or as a Christmas present may well wait until Black Friday deals are announced by retailers. So, get in first and secure your position! Announce discounts and offers early on to entice potential buyers.

25th December: Christmas

Of course, the biggest date in the retail calendar for the UK shopping industry. 2019’s Christmas will be on a Wednesday, meaning the weekend prior until Tuesday 24th will be some of the busiest days of the year for many retail stores across the country. Start preparing your retail execution strategy as early as possible, book in early to make sure you have the best space in the store. (IGD Retail Analysis)

The 2019 retail calendar is set to be a great one, with more opportunities than ever for brands in store. Our advice? Don’t let any of these dates pass you by without seriously considering how you can take advantage. Plan early and get ahead of the competition. For more help or advice on your retail execution plans, don’t hesitate to get in touch with us today.

Tel: 01244 289164 (Opt 3)

Email: sales@tactical-solutions.co.uk

About the author

Daniel Turner

Has a passion for marketing and will buy anything with excellent branding. An avid football and cricket follower, with an interest in all things technology. Loves to learn new things, and happens to have a 1st class dissertation in "Mystery Shopping".

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