Sarah Jennings
Sarah Jennings 8 January 2018

Booming local e-commerce events will drive 2018 international marketing campaigns

From newly created commercial events to traditional religious and historical festivals there are key dates around the world which have the potential to drive sales. If you are looking to grow your consumer share in Mexico, India or Japan when are the key dates when shoppers increase their spending and what are they looking to buy?

Forget Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Local e-commerce events in countries around the world are booming and savvy international marketers will be focussing their attention and marketing spend on them in 2018. Events such as China’s Singles’ Day, generating sales of over 7 billion USD* in the first half hour, have captured the imagination of marketers looking to expand their customer base.

Here are just three growing events, from over 250 we have identified working with our network of LIMEs (Local In-Market Experts) - White Day, Hot Sale and Raksha Bandhan.

White Day, celebrated in Japan, South Korea, Taiwan and China on 14 March

Oban’s Japanese LIME says: ""White Day was first celebrated in Japan. It was started by the National Confectionery Industry Association as an "answer" to Valentine's Day.”

In these countries, on Valentine’s Day, women give chocolates and other gifts to men as an expression of love, courtesy or social obligation. On White Day, exactly one month after Valentine's day, men reciprocate with small gifts for colleagues and expensive gifts for their partners. The most common presents are sweets, but fashion items are becoming increasingly popular.

The holiday originated in Japan, but is now well established in South Korea and is spreading to other Asian countries, where men are expected to show appreciation to the women in their lives by spending three times the amount of the gifts they received a month previously.

Many online retailers create special landing pages for the holiday to capture an audience eager to buy special presents. In recent years, South Korean e-commerce outlets have seen a 30-35% rise in sales around White Day.

In 2017, reported that the most wanted White Day presents as voted by Korean couples were watches and jewellery. Several watch companies created promotions targeted specifically at couples.

South Korea’s e-commerce sales are boosted annually by spending on White Day. In 2018 e-commerce is expected to grow to 50 billion USD** accounting for 14% of total retail sales.  

Marketers considering White Day activity need to be aware that, unlike some countries, English is not commonly spoken in South Korea, so marketing, social media and e-commerce content must be culturally nuanced and localised for the Korean audience.  

Hot Sale, Mexico, 28 May to 1 June 2018

Oban’s Mexican LIME says: "Mexican companies have only participated in Hot Sale since 2014, but it is already considered the second most important date for e-commerce in the country, after November’s 'El Buen Fin'. In 2017 the Hot Sale campaign reached 70% of the Mexican population and more than 200 companies created exclusive online offers.” 

The Hot Sale takes place over four days running from late May to June. A survey of Mexican consumers in 2017 suggested an average spend per person of around £200.

Hot Sale was created by the Asociación Mexicana de Venta Online (AMVO), in conjunction with other internet-advocating bureaux and confederations. Designed to encourage local e-commerce growth, the focus is the website which is the advertising hub for the different brands and outlets offering special discounts.

Mexico is experiencing an annual e-commerce growth rate of 23%, the fastest acceleration in Latin America and one of the highest in the world. E-commerce accounts for around 20% of Mexican retail sales and is predicted to be worth 17.6 billion USD by 2020***. Retailers and e-commerce marketplaces that have previously participated in Hot Sale include Amazon, eBay,, adidas, Reebok, Forever21 and Walmart. Popular items last year were electronics, travel bookings, clothing, footwear and furniture.

Raksha Bandhan (Rakhi) originated in India and is celebrated on 26 August 2018

Oban’s Indian LIME says: “Also known simply as Rakhi, this Hindu festival celebrates all sibling-like bonds between men and women. Gifts now go beyond the traditional Rakhi bracelets.’s Rakhi page, for example, suggests clothing, shoes, accessories and gift cards as presents.”

Unlike other countries around the world, India does not celebrate Mother’s Day or Father’s Day. It does though have a day for celebrating the bonds between sisters and brothers. ‘Raksha Bandhan’ -  "the tie or knot of protection" is observed on the full moon day of the Hindu month of Shravana. Sisters offer affection and good luck with the gift of a bracelet and in return are offered brotherly protection.

Rakhi is predominantly celebrated in India and countries where there are large Hindu, Sikh and Jain communities.  It is a day of festivities with the formal ritual of tying the Rakhi onto the brother’s arm followed by a family meal. Preparations for the day can start up to a month in advance with spending on the gifts, the family gathering and buying new clothes for the occasion.

Modern interpretation of Rakhi in more urban areas has seen the celebration adapt. Brothers often give physical gifts as well as promising protection - soft toys for younger sisters, jewellery or perfumes for older sisters.  Bracelets are given to friends as well as siblings. Rakhi gifts range from jewellery and homewares to clothing, electronics and foods.

Create cultural connections

The challenge for international marketers is to create strong cultural connections with campaigns that are appropriately localised and nuanced for the local market. Get that right and these growing local e-commerce events offer significant sales opportunities.





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