Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Spring Holidays in Russia

Every country has some holidays that boost sales and result in consumer orgies. A good example is Christmas sales in North America and Europe and New Year sales in Russia. “These days are the most important ones during the whole year, because about 25% of our annual revenue is made during the last two weeks of December,” a large retailer told me once. Being familiar with the calendar of every single country is the key to success for manufacturers and retailers who works globally.

In Russia, besides the New Year’s one, the most important sales time is the period from the last week of February to the first week of March. We jokingly call this time “Spring gender holidays”. On February 23rd, Russia celebrates the Defender of the Fatherland Day. In other words, this is a Men’s day, when men of all ages get some gifts from women – mothers, wives, girlfriends and colleagues. The holiday marks the date in 1918 when the first mass draft into the Red Army occurred in Russia. In the Soviet Union, the holiday was known as the Red Army Day, and initially expected to celebrate people who are serving or were serving the Soviet Military Forces. However, in practice, it comes to include the celebration of men as a whole. As a counterpart, the Women’s day is celebrated in March 8th. Though some may still remember the event that happened in New York in 1908, in Russia, the political or feminist flavor of the holiday is completely lost. March 8th is a day when men buy flowers for their women, say words of love to wives and girlfriends and make them some presents.

Photo by pizzodisevo

Russian retailers know how important it is to prepare inventories for the February 23rd and March 8th. Not meeting the surge in demand during these days would mean the serious loss in revenue. Though small gifts are more common for February 23rd and March 8th, some serious purchases are not rare at all. Besides trivial flowers, wines, chocolate and perfume, there is a surge in demand for handsets and smart phones, white goods, notebooks and other electronics during these two weeks. For manufacturers, this is definitely the best time to launch sales of any new products in Russia.