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HomeMoneyShoppingAnimated chart reveals the startling evolution of 15 years of UK's most...

Animated chart reveals the startling evolution of 15 years of UK’s most popular celebrations

Shopping trends change over time. That’s a cliché, but every now and then you find something that drives home the point again. Some of the high points of the sales year have always come at holidays, but it may not have occurred to you that holidays have shifted over time.

Or rather, some holidays have grown more important, while others have faded. This article gives a quick rundown on how the major holidays have fared over the past fifteen years. Which holidays are winning, and are there any new holidays which have made an impact?

Some of the findings by UK Corporate Gifts might surprise you, and you may want to consider adding in a new sale or two



Christmas is king, as always. The old Christmas movies, the old Christmas songs – nostalgia for Christmas past doesn’t seem to fade, and has kept the appetite going for Christmas present. With the ever-growing “Christmas creep” as Christmas celebrations, or at least Christmas sales, start earlier and earlier (October, anyone?), this one holiday dominates the searches.

On a list of popular search terms, Christmas Day and Boxing Day also near the top of the list, meaning that the holiday’s hold over the top is likely unbreakable. Increasingly, Christmas is the holiday giant, generating huge sales and forming a key part of any retailer’s year. 


There’s a joke here about America and winning, but we’ll pass on it for now. Nevertheless, American holidays are steadily growing in popularity. The last 15 years, in the UK, events and holidays like the London marathon and Boxing Day – distinctly British events – lost ground to newcomers and imports, like Black Friday and Halloween. The latter has been celebrated in the UK in the past, of course, but in recent years has taken a distinctly American flavour. Black Friday seems on course to become the same world-swallowing retail monster in the UK that it is in the States, making or breaking entire seasons of sales in a single weekend.


“Religious” holidays

While religion, particularly Christianity, has dramatically decline in the past few decades in the UK, religious holidays are doing just fine. Of course, the big ones are Christmas and Easter, and arguably these days those are less about church and more about winter and spring celebrations. But there appears to be some staying power in the old religious calendars.

On a related note, new religions are also making their presence felt. Eid and Ramadan both forced their way into the upper-echelon of internet searches over the past fifteen years, as the Muslim population of the UK continues to grow.

Gains and losses for multiculturalism

Along with the rise and fall of different religious holidays mentioned above, the past few years have seen some unusual gains and losses for multicultural holidays. Chinese New Year actually lost ground, but was replaced by the Muslim holidays, particularly Ramadan. As immigration shifts and changes, holidays will also change to reflect those broader trends.

The British revenge

Despite the encroaching “Americanism” of UK holidays, some institutions have proved to have a tremendous, long-lasting hold on the UK imagination. Wimbledon remains in the top-five, while the Queen’s birthday (and really anything relating to the royal family) still draws heavy attention on the web.

In Scotland, Burn’s Night, coming in late-January, has drawn increased attention. It gives retailers a rare chance for a marketing push in the gap between Christmas and Valentine’s Day, which may explain some of its appeal outside Scotland.

Business owners would be wise to stay abreast of holiday trends, and despite the continued dominance of certain key events, there are a number of smaller holidays that also drawn attention. Look for those chances to market your business and build your brand!

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