Get ready – there are still three shopping holidays left before Christmas

Photo: UPS
Dec 08, 2017
Matthew Stern

Retailers have made it past Black Friday and Cyber Monday this year, but on the home stretch to Christmas, there are a still a few more critical albeit lesser-known shopping holidays to come.

Green Monday, Free Shipping Day and Super Saturday are all yet to come in December. Green Monday — which according to Quartz was given its moniker by eBay a decade ago — falls on the second Monday in December and marks a date when retailers start deep discounting to clear space for the holidays. Free Shipping Day, on which participating retailers offer the eponymous perk, happens on December 15. And Super Saturday (December 23), or Panic Saturday, is the actual biggest shopping day of the year. Retailers will offer promotions to capitalize on the eleventh-hour shopping rush before Christmas.

These holidays may sound like internet lore, but retailers are taking them seriously. This year, Walmart and Target are both doing Green Monday deals. The Free Shipping Day website boasts 677 major retailers taking part. And while there’s no word yet on big retailers’ Super Saturday deals,’s page from last year features info on many big retailers that were making last-ditch efforts.

Retailers may be able to push additional sales by more heavily promoting deals pertaining to any of the three shopping holidays. But it’s not clear how much discounting and promotion retailers should do in a season so heavy on both.

And other developments in the retail world may impact how valuable these days are as well. Free shipping, for instance, may not be as much of a cause for celebration in a world where Amazon Prime has made every day Free Shipping Day for its members.

Nevertheless, the post-Cyber Week portion of the shopping season is more critical than one might expect. A webinar by Slice Intelligence indicated that in 2015, 50 percent of holiday sales came after Cyber Monday. The number reached 53 percent in 2016. 

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: How valuable are Green Monday, Free Shipping Day and Super Saturday to retailers’ holiday season efforts? Does one of these three offer a greater incremental upside this year than in the past?

"If retailers offer great deals, shoppers will take advantage of them, especially this time of year."
"I’d say Free Shipping Day seems like the biggest winner of the three (not least because for the unacquainted you know exactly what it’s about!)."
"Deals are omni-present … I’m wondering if shoppers are becoming numb to all the “days.”"

Join the Discussion!

18 Comments on "Get ready – there are still three shopping holidays left before Christmas"

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Mark Ryski

There seems to be no end to the “special” shopping days and events consumers are bombarded by today. While the idea of creating excitement and compelling reasons to buy is a big part of what retailing is about, it’s hard to say how impactful any of them will be. Of the three events listed, I suspect that Free Shipping Day will resonate the most given the significance that online shopping has.

Max Goldberg

For retailers, any reason to get reluctant or procrastinating consumers to shop is a cause for joy. Green Monday and Super Saturday would seem to resonate most, since 90 million Americans enjoy free shipping on most purchases from Amazon and Walmart and Target have offered the same benefit throughout the holidays.

Charles Dimov

More shopping “holidays” are great for getting us stragglers into the game. It is always a concerning balancing act to think through whether you want to be known as the retail brand that is always on sale, but it’s good to drum up these new-ish days as other retail notables with consumers. Green Monday is catchy — but maybe it should have an “environmental impact day” focus. As in, buy online BUT pick it up in-store for yourself — saving on delivery (emissions) and the extra packaging. Anyone with me?

Al McClain

Charles, I agree with your idea on Green Monday. But, at the moment the emissions and energy use from the creation of bitcoins is eclipsing every possible conservation effort we make anyway :-

Neil Saunders

The names of the days don’t really matter, what matters is the deals on offer. This is particularly important at this time of year when people are actively shopping and looking for bargains. Although free shipping has become more commonplace, a day when it is offered more extensively is likely to be popular. That said, it will not help retail profits: so perhaps it should be known as Red Margin Day!

Brandon Rael

Beyond Black Friday, Small Business Saturday and Cyber Monday, the remaining “special” shopping events are targetted towards not only driving additional business but capitalizing on the procrastinators, as well as the value/promotional-driven holiday shoppers. Traditionally, retailers have built-in aggressive promotional and markdown strategies as we get closer to the holidays.

As we are living in a digital-first world and e-commerce has become so prominent, free shipping and guaranteed second-day shipping would honestly be the most intriguing part of these remaining special days. Especially as retailers are up against the precedent that Amazon has set.

Meaghan Brophy

I think these holidays are another example of retail “buzzwords” that only people in the industry use. There’s Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, Cyber Monday – how many more “days” do we need? At what point do they lose meaning? I don’t know if there are any consumers specifically planning their shopping around these three days. If retailers offer great deals, shoppers will take advantage of them, especially this time of year. We all know there are tons of holiday shopping procrastinators.

Cate Trotter

I’d say Free Shipping Day seems like the biggest winner of the three (not least because for the unacquainted you know exactly what it’s about!). We all know that delivery costs can be off-putting to customers, especially if they’re disproportionately high compared to the value of the purchase, so the idea that you can save up all your online shopping and do it all in one day with free shipping is attractive.

I do wonder if there are too many events and discounts competing for customers attention — does this mean that some are putting off purchases they would have made in case of getting a better deal? Likewise, is Super Saturday undermining purchases that would have been made anyway (if we assume that there will always be people who shop for Christmas last minute)? I think retailers need to be careful to not fall into a trap of ever-increasing discounts and bargains.

Cristian Grossmann

While in years past Black Friday and Cyber Monday actually felt somewhat ephemeral — the true “flash sales” they are meant to be — the holiday retail spike now feels like a sea of discount delusions. Setting the expectation that all brands must participate in these “holidays” often causes shoppers to halt on purchases they would have made otherwise without question. Not only that, but the deluge of email marketing consumers experience on these days can become overwhelming, and it becomes harder for brands to compete as one of 50+ marketing emails to land in the customer’s inbox. If any of the above newer “holidays” has legs, it would be brick-and-mortar promotions on Super Saturday, as customers are already in the mindset of having to run around for last minute gifts.

Georganne Bender

Other than Black Friday and Cyber Monday, I don’t think consumers really care about all the other names for big shopping days leading up to Christmas, but I bet they’ll take notice of Free Shipping Day. And those who wait until the very last minute to shop will be in stores on Super Saturday whether there are deals or not. When you wait too long a shopper’s gotta do what a shoppers gotta do. Retailers are the ones who have to be ready for the hordes of harried shoppers on December 23rd.

Patricia Vekich Waldron

Deals are omni-present … I’m wondering if shoppers are becoming numb to all the “days.”

Peter Luff

The method of creating a focus event to get a buzz going around is not new. By adding ever more days shoppers will become increasingly numb to the different events. It’s a little like escalating every item you have, so that the level of escalation becomes the norm and therefore is not escalated.

The other point confirmed looking at our client’s data is that if you announce an event is coming a large portion of your shoppers just postpone their buying activity until the event. While you still have the sale, all you have done is ding your bottom line!

Radical I know but perhaps don’t signpost so heavily in advance, surprise and excite customers when they arrive to create a positive word of mouth and social media response, to create the promotion in the moment and a sense of urgency from shoppers for impulse buys.

Ralph Jacobson

If the offers are compelling (e.g., Black Friday-type deals, free shipping on large items, etc.) any of these ancillary shopping promo days could become successful. It’s all about the promotion campaign, right? We’re working on campaign effectiveness with retailers all the time. That’s what pays the bills!

Mohamed Amer

From Thanksgiving to end of the year, it’s an all out effort to find the best deals in a massive shopping extravaganza. Of the three days mentioned here, Super Saturday is the definite winner. This is the make-or-break date to find the deals or the best alternate and still get it under the tree.

For 2017, the weekend before Christmas will be one of the busiest in recent retail history with stores doing great business. This will also translate to much more activity at the stores for gift returns, switching, and post-Christmas deals. Retailers cannot ignore the week after Christmas in their efforts to close out the year strong.

Rich Kizer

Retailers know that emotion is the key to creating “needs” and “wants” that lead to sales, and that is good business. All the warm, emotion-generating television spots have made us feel good about a store, and feel good about shopping there. But there are other strong emotions retailers can trigger to put the buying rush into motion on special events. Two big ones: “Atychiphobia” – the fear of failure — as in not finding the best deals, and the more familiar, “FOMO” – the fear of missing out. If retailers want to drive traffic for special days and events, then creating these emotions is spot on. That sense of urgency drives the crowds into the stores. And every retailer wants to be as successful as possible.

Craig Sundstrom

I think Matt has a very different definition of “critical” than I do (isn’t “critical … lesser-known” an oxymoron?). Anyway, the last two months of the year are a perpetual sale or promotion period. I think the relevance of specific “events,” ever more contrived, has long since passed.

Min-Jee Hwang

I agree with many here that what we call these days isn’t important. Sure, it’s great for marketing purposes, but ultimately shoppers are looking for value. Do online retailers have what they want or need at prices that encourage them to check out? Strong Black Friday through Cyber Monday sales started off the holiday shopping season on a good note and participating in all of these additional “holidays” is a way for online retailers to make sure their success continues throughout the season.

Kai Clarke

These are just more shopping pushes before Christmas. Compared to Black Friday and Monday, each of these is a minor bump in the retail road. Suppliers to key retailers have already aligned their shipments and inventory flow to coordinate with December expectations after Black Friday, not retail expectations after Green Monday, Free Shipping Day, etc. In total, these are not very valuable, when comparing them to Black Friday. Trying to create another “named” shopping day (when everyone is out shopping anyway…), will not necessarily work to increase sales.

"If retailers offer great deals, shoppers will take advantage of them, especially this time of year."
"I’d say Free Shipping Day seems like the biggest winner of the three (not least because for the unacquainted you know exactly what it’s about!)."
"Deals are omni-present … I’m wondering if shoppers are becoming numb to all the “days.”"

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