By Mai-Bonham Carter, Team Leader at Awin
UK bank holidays offer retailers an opportunity to reach online consumers at a time where they are able to leisurely browse outside typical working hours. The UK Easter bank holiday alone was expected to see a spend of £892m. 2022 depicts a rather unique story with 3 major bank holidays spanning over 7 weeks between April and June, including the Platinum Jubilee Weekend, an extra-long weekend with Thursday and Friday as the national holiday days, which in itself is a rarity. As retailers also navigate a full year no longer marked by pandemic lockdowns, it is a fair assumption to say that purchase patterns will shift with changes in consumer demand and limitations due to rising living costs. Awin data indicates that bank holidays are a lucrative time for brands and are increasingly becoming a key focus in the promotional calendar and for ad spend budget allocation.
Shopper purchase preferences over Q2 bank holidays
Home is where the heart is:
Home and Garden brands topped the sales charts over the Easter weekend, Awin tracked revenue up +29% on the same period the previous week. The same can be said for the Early May bank holiday, with Home and Garden revenue tracking as up +44% on the previous week. Across both of these holidays, data suggests that whilst people are in their surroundings they wish to indulge in home improvements and getting the home prepared for the summer months. However, when comparing YoY data for the Early May bank holiday, 2022 saw a decrease of -7% in overall spending for the Home and Garden sector. With this bank holiday being marred by clouds and rain showers it can point towards consumers holding off on spending on garden investments with the bleak weather outlook.
DIY improvements on the increase:
Rising house prices and the end of the stamp duty holiday have forced homeowners to stay put and invest in their current homes as opposed to moving house. DIY sales for both bank holidays saw a YoY sales increase with April +8% and May +30%. The Home Trends Report by Rated People indicates 2022 home improvements are up 50%, with extensions, loft conversions and bathroom renovations as the top ongoing projects. This upwards trend is encouraging given in 2021 the UK was only just coming out of lockdown and salaries stretched further. However, with the ongoing rising costs of laborers and materials, although home improvements may be a priority spend for now, we may expect to see a future downward trend as disposable income and savings diminish.
It’s time for a new wardrobe
Within the Clothing categories, Womenswear witnessed a YoY online revenue growth of +43% in April and +81% in May. The same can be observed with Menswear with April (+57%) and May (+63%) seeing a significant level of growth. Whilst stores have remained open throughout the entirety of 2022, we still are seeing consumers opt to shop online, a shift that occurred in the first lockdown and consolidated by workplace adoption of flexible working. With more people now working from home during the week and able to receive their parcels, the convenience of home deliveries are set to stay. In fact, Barclaycard data shows that people are either expecting the same number of parcels from March 2020 (first lockdown) or 10% more – averaging +86 parcel per year per person.
Platinum Jubilee weekend retail celebrations
The Platinum Jubilee Bank Holidays marked a rare occasion for the UK with Britons set to spend £823m over the 4 day weekend, so it is no surprise that retailers were expected to amplify their marketing efforts.
Jubilee-inspired voucher codes
Many retailers took advantage of the festivities with Jubilee related offers and messaging. At Awin, data recorded through voucher code tracking indicates that a large number of Home and Garden retailers used the word ‘Jubilee’ within voucher code sales tracked over that weekend which indicates that consumers were keen to spend in this sector and were exposed to seasonal promotions.
Home and Garden saw an uplift in sales compared to the previous week of +14%.Interestingly, although an overall increase was recorded across the extended weekend, a clear drop-off was observed on the Saturday 4th June. Despite this being a weekend day, many events were held across the country which got people out of their homes and consumers were less likely to spend time browsing for promotions online.
Cyber weekend strategies
Health and Beauty purchases across the period were significant, with Awin tracking nearly 200,000 sales during the week. However, compared to the same period WoW, overall sales across the bank holiday saw a decline of -8% and -3% in revenue. Looking at this period, sales in this sector were primarily driven by discount partners, with retailers investing heavily and labelling the Jubilee weekend as a ‘mini cyber’ opportunity. This implies that although the category was discount-focused and saw fewer sales, order values saw a minor decrease with consumers taking advantage to bag their favourite products at exclusive prices.
Tourism and Attractions is a category that has struggled in recent years due to the pandemic. Whilst YoY this sector has seen a gradual uplift with consumer confidence and attendance growing, the Jubilee weekend compared to the previous week saw a decline of -8% in sales. With the Jubilee weekend also marking the start of the school half-term, we can assume that the strong uptake in sales the week previous was due to families booking activities ahead of time to then take in the half-term holiday.
What can retailers learn from factoring in bank holidays to their promotional calendar?
The growth of ecommerce has seen many retailers take advantage of traditional holidays but Q2’s 2022 bank holidays show that consumers continue to be present online during these shorter peak periods and are motivated to spend all the same. With buyer purchasing patterns still feeling the repercussions of COVID-19 and now a new cost-of-living crisis, bank holidays present an opportunity for retailers to encourage continued online growth by including these beneficial periods into their promotional calendar.