As a data-led agency we have discovered a new ecommerce spending trend that can increase revenue for the fashion, telecoms and alcohol industries by a whopping 205%# that can be easily tapped into.

With the extra bank holiday this year (thank you, Your Majesty!), we noticed a phenomenal impact these days have on consumer spending, that between 48 and 72 hours after a bank holiday, sales increase dramatically, unlike what previous eCommerce strategists have previously highlighted, that it’s the day itself. Our data shows a major shift in consumer behaviour.

If you’re a retailer expecting an uptake in sales during the bank holiday you will be disappointed by less than stellar results if you continue without change, we suggest you read on.

So why aren’t consumers spending on a bank holiday?

Ordinarily, bank holidays were considered an incredibly popular time for consumer spending and up until 2020, that might have gone unchallenged. Today, data informs us that like almost everything else in the world, economics has shifted. Already highly tuned to an ever digital existence and lockdown provisioning, consumers are turning off the screen for real life experiences on bank holidays rather than using downtime for shopping online.

Ecrubox worked with Dr Funke, top consumer psychologist, author and resident expert on TV show “Big Brother” to explore the possible reasoning behind the unusual consumer shift.

“Coming out of lockdown, and still to this day, there’s a lot of feeling of anxiety but there's also the feeling of freedom.

“We’re all living for the present at the moment so we’re doing things we wouldn’t normally do and our spending habits have changed too.

“We’re all wanting to live our best lives so we’re now using our bank holidays to get out of the house, connect face to face and have new experiences. Shopping is an after thought - it’ll be done later, which is what this data shows beautifully,”  Dr Funke concludes.

This mixture of working and home life has changed the way we shop forever. Long gone are the traditional 5am queues on a bank holiday.  “We’re all wanting to live our best lives so we’re now using our bank holidays to get out of the house and away from our digital devices, we want to connect face to face and have new experiences. Shopping is now an after thought - it’ll be done later after my time off, which is what this data shows beautifully”.  Dr Funke concludes.

Heather Horton, CEO of Ecrubox says; “Consumers are spending 24/7 at the touch of the button.

Gone are the days of the 5am shopping queues in the cold, or filling our online shopping baskets just before a sale drops at midnight.

With our new hybrid working schedules people are shopping while they’re working at home, in between meetings, there’s not the lunchtime quick shop or after work shopping, it’s constant.

“The majority of the public are now e-commerce pros. Not in terms of how to plan for retail but how to take advantage of the online world to fulfil our needs. In some ways, as marketeers, the public is telling us how they want the world to work, not the other way around. Those with an ear to the change will thrive”.

What’s currently happening in the industry?

Watching the industry, we see businesses plough their budgets into trying to achieve sales on these days off. And at face value it makes sense. We frequently hear media stories that bank holidays boost our economy, often by 15%#. But unless you’re working in leisure, furniture, garden and DIY, and particularly with click and collect,  that’s not really going to hit your tills.

What does the data tell us?

We took a look at our clients and gathered their data for each bank holiday from January 2021 to the present day. We work with clients across the globe and they range from luxury clothing, online off-licence to mobile and broadband providers and beauty products.

And we’ve discovered a mini ecommerce phenomenon for the fashion and mobile and broadband sectors, not linked to pay day either, and we’d like to share it… you can buy us a gin, to say thanks, later!

Telecoms teams

A good example would be one of the most popular channels for online vs High Street, mobile and broadband comparison shopping. For those working in this sector, your customers are no longer spending the bank holiday looking at the best deals possible. Neither though are they wasting that new found sense of freedom by visiting a street level option. But come two days later, they’re back on admin mode and that’s when your budgets should strike.

Ecrubox has seen the possibility in this particular sector of tapping into a trend that has the potential for further growth, with current data showing a whopping 310%# increase in revenue around this time.

Remember to think about your consumers mindset, of what Dr Funke explained earlier, they’re not in the house, they’re living their best lives and are out and about, finding the best mobile and broadband deals isn’t on top of their list.

So, if you’re a mobile or broadband provider, delaying your media push by 48 hours could see a whopping return in revenue, and even further growth at a time we know the customers are shopping.

Fashion world colleagues

For those in the fashion sector our research reveals that 48-72 hours after a bank holiday we see huge surges in online transactions. Again thinking back to your consumer behaviour, they’ve done all of their shopping, they got organised and had their new outfits for the weekend already delivered prior to the holiday. You’ll start to see shopping baskets full once they’re back in the vibe of working from home. We also advise you to hold off any kind of aggressive remarketing, sales messaging and even email marketing during the bank holiday. By delaying your tactics by just a few days we can see currently an increase on average of revenue up to 56%# that you could tap into and grow further.

Focus your budget on the days following a bank holiday and you’ll see a surprising uplift in revenue.

Alcohol teams

You’re an exception to this observation as our research indicates that you need to be in a different planning mode. Consumers are getting prepared ahead of the bank holidays and it's actually five days in advance, our data shows an increase of 250% in sales before a bank holiday, compared to the actual holiday itself. It’s that time the consumer is thinking of purchasing so this is when you’ll need to be pushing sales; definitely not on the day or afterwards which your fashion and mobile and broadband colleagues.

You’ll need to be organised, get your comms and marketing plans in place ahead of time and get your shipping team ready to rock. You need to be in the mindset of a customer who’s excited to party and has to have their favourite drink for that bank holiday.  By pushing five days in advance you can tap into this growing trend, a sweet spot for growth.

Our advice to companies

Being able to make ever-smart online investments in performance and organic marketing is the holy grail for the digital industry. We have been advising clients to buck history and allocate higher budgets to the days preceding and following bank holidays, rather than relying on the day itself to capture browsing interest.

Our ingrained view of rocketing bank-holiday sales might not be correct for everyone and we’re sure each sector will experience different lead and lag effects due to the extra days off. But what we do know is that you need to really look at trends in your data and really get into your consumers mindset.

With our industry worth more than £2billion a year in revenue (according to the ONS), covid has certainly turned our shopping behaviours on it’s head, the data shows this clearly, and more and more people shopping 24/7 at the touch of the button, now is the time change and do things differently if you want to stand out from your competitors.

And don’t forget to polish your customer journeys. You’ll want to retain this wave of new customers and turn them into valuable repeat business.

A final thought:

We appreciate we don’t have all of the data for each sector, so if you don’t fall into our categories there’s still definitely some takeaways; remember what Dr Funke said and get into your customers mindsets, are they living their best lives? How are they feeling? Are your messages too much for them to deal with or are they spot on? When will they be back on admin mode, back at their desks, and ready to make purchases?

And look at your own data too, are you seeing these uplifts post bank holidays? If so, that’s when your budget should strike, test it for one bank holiday and see how it goes.

If you need any help with your ecommerce planning, you know where to find us. But for now, we’re ready for our next Bank Holiday, we’ll be celebrating in style and let the results speak for themselves.

Good luck with your budgets, do keep us posted with how you get on and share your thoughts too, as we’d love to hear from you.

  1. Percentage taken as an average of Ecrubox’s mobile and broadband, fashion and alcohol industries average of total revenue 48-72 hours after a bank holiday compared to to the actual day of the bank holiday.

  2. Douglas McWilliams, deputy chair of the Centre for Economics and Business Research, 2020, The Independent.

  3. Taken from Ecrubox’s mobile and broadband clients - an average percentage increase in revenue post bank holidays from 1 January 2021 to the present day.

  4. Taken from Ecrubox’s fashion clients - an average percentage increase in sales post bank holidays from 1 January 2021 to the present day.