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10 key dates and events in 2021 that every international marketer needs to know

November 25, 2020 Digital channels

As 2020 draws to a close – a year many of us will be glad to say goodbye to – it’s time to start thinking ahead to 2021. Every year, Oban publishes an international travel and e-commerce calendar, which lists important cultural dates and events around the world. These dates are invaluable for marketers since they identify key campaign opportunities in different markets. From the 120+ key dates the calendar contains, we’ve highlighted 10 of the most prominent below:


#1: Chinese New Year

When is it: 12th February

Which countries: China, Singapore, Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, Philippines, Taiwan

At Chinese New Year, millions of people travel home for family reunions called ‘Chunyun’. Air travel was significantly hampered in 2020 due to Covid-19, but in previous years there have been as many as 73 million air passengers during the celebratory period. The holiday is a huge opportunity for the luxury gifts market, with China accounting for a third of global luxury consumption.


#2: White Day

When is it: 14th March

Which countries: Japan, Korea

In most Western countries, it is traditional for couples to exchange presents on Valentine’s Day. In South Korea and Japan, Valentine’s Day is a time for women to present gifts to men. A month later, men return the favour on White Day. Popular gifts include white chocolate, candy and lingerie.


#3: King’s Day

When is it: 27th April

Which country: The Netherlands

King’s Day is a Dutch national holiday in celebration of King Willem Alexander’s birthday. The Dutch royal family bears the name ‘House of Oranje’, making it Holland’s national colour and the reason why people wear orange to celebrate this day. Sales of orange hued fashion, makeup and fancy dress go through the roof as people book tickets for festivals and parties.


#4: Dia Dos Nemarados

When is it: 12th June

Which country: Brazil

The Brazilian equivalent of Valentine’s Day. In 2020, celebrations generated R$2.2 billion in total revenue. Gifting involves typical Valentine’s Day choices – perfume, cosmetics, fashion, accessories and homeware are popular categories.


#5: JD 618 Shopping Day

When is it: 18th June

Which country: China

This colossal mid-year shopping festival in China was originally launched by but has since spread to other ecommerce platforms. JD and Alibaba saw £104bn ($136.51bn) in sales during the 2020 extravaganza. E-commerce brands focusing on China should focus on the first 18 days of June for their promotional activity, as Chinese consumers will already be engaged.


#6: La Tomatina

When is it: 25th August

Which country: Spain

La Tomatina is perfect for tourists who don’t mind getting (very messy). The event takes place annually on the last Wednesday of August in Buñol, Spain. Thousands of locals and visitors take to the streets to throw over 100 metric tons of ripe tomatoes at each other. This tradition dates back to 1945, after a scuffle during a parade resulted in pelted tomatoes. Travel marketers should take note when creating content around unique getaways.


#7: Raksha Bandhan

When is it: 22nd August

Which country: India

This Hindu festival celebrates the bond between brothers and sisters and has become a multicultural event celebrating many relationships between men and women. Celebrations traditionally focus on sisters tying special rakhi bracelets on their brothers’ wrists, though gifting has transformed as online shopping has grown in popularity.


#8: El Buen Fin

When is it: 12th – 15th November

Which country: Mexico

This is an annual shopping extravaganza which sees locals flocking to brick and mortar stores for big savings. The e-commerce presence of this event is significantly on the rise thanks to younger consumers taking an interest. In 2018, 63.8% of online El Buen Fin shoppers were younger than 35. Popular product categories include technology, clothes, accessories, household items, toys, and video games.


#9: Loy Krathong & Yee Peng Lantern Festival  

When is it: 19th November

Which country: Thailand

Loy Krathong is a Thai celebration known as ‘the festival of light’. A key tradition is floating candles on decorated boats (a ‘krathong’) down bodies of water throughout the country. The candle represents a wish – by setting it free, you are hoping for it to come true. The Yee Peng Lantern Festival, which coincides with Loy Krathong, has a similar premise but with the releasing of floating lanterns (‘khom loy’) into the sky instead.


#10: Saint Nicholas Day  

When is it: 5th – 6th December

Which country: Pan-Christian

Belgium, Luxembourg and Germany celebrate Saint Nicholas Day on the morning of the 6th; while the Netherlands celebrate on the evening of the 5th and call it Sinterklaas. Celebrations include exchanging presents, eating sweets, decorating the home and indulging in luxurious dinners – this a great opportunity for online retailers to maximise sales through promotions in the run-up to Christmas.

. . .

These are just 10 dates from Oban’s international calendar. The full version, available here, features over 120 dates, packed with insights and information invaluable to any marketer whose campaigns cross borders.

To find out how Oban can help you plan your international digital marketing campaigns in 2021, please get in touch.

Az Ahmed

Az Ahmed | Head of Delivery

Oban International is the digital marketing agency specialising in international expansion. Our LIME (Local In-Market Expert) Network provides up to date cultural input and insights from over 80 markets around the world, helping clients realise the best marketing opportunities and avoid the costliest mistakes.

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