Igor Utsumi

Igor Utsumi

Staff Writer
The Brazil Business


Shopping Seasons in Brazil

Igor Utsumi

Igor Utsumi

Staff Writer
The Brazil Business


Some Brazilian dates were created specifically to increase sales, becoming known as “commercial holidays”. This article will list the main ones and explain them in more detail

The economic ascension of Brazil as a country is directly linked to the increased consumption of its population. More people are spending more money on more products.

Recent studies published by the consulting company PwC Brasil showed that, in 2010, Brazilians spent BRL 2,2 trillion buying and consuming goods. It is estimated that this figure will grow to BRL 3,5 trillion by 2020.

To keep these numbers growing, the retail sector has a wide set of strategies, which includes specific dates used to incentivize consumption and raise sales. Many of these ‘shopping seasons’ also happen in other countries, but some of their aspects are very particular to Brazil.


December 25th is by far the most profitable shopping date for the Brazilian retail sector. According to Confederação Nacional do Comércio, known as CNC, or National Confederation of Commerce in English, Brazilians spent nearly BRL 31,2 billion in 2013 and the expectation is that this figure will increase to BRL 32 billion in 2014.

Christmas shopping in Brazil is fairly similar to what is seen abroad. The types of presents given vary widely, but every single retail sector prepares special promotional campaigns for the occasion: some offer discounts, other offer the possibility to pay with a larger number of installments and others - especially those selling more expensive goods, like home appliances, electronics and even cars - allow customers to start paying only after a certain date, commonly after Carnaval, which happens before the Catholic lent.

A common trait among Brazilian customers is that last minute shopping is a recurrent fact. Shopping malls and popular commerce centres are packed with people looking for a final gift on Christmas Eve, which also leads to many promotions aimed at this period.

Mothers’ Day

The second most important date for the retail sector in Brazil is Mothers’ Day, celebrated on the second Sunday of May since 1918. The week that antecedes it is considered a crucial period for commerce in general, since it is responsible for a large share of the second quarter sales.

Gifts given to mothers in Brazil vary from small presents to more expensive goods. This occasion is the most important for companies selling flowers, for example, which is a usual cheaper gift; but is also a target for furniture, home appliances and fashion retailers. The sale of electronics, particularly smartphones, have also benefitted from Mothers’ Day in recent years.

Fathers’ Day

Unlike most countries, where Fathers’ Day is celebrated in June, in Brazil it is celebrated on the second Sunday of August. This month was traditionally a weak period for sales so, in 1953, a Brazilian adman decided to incentivize the celebration of this “holiday” in the country.

Even though sales never reach the volume seen for Mothers’ Day - a fact that was even explored by some advertisers in the past - companies enhance their results during this period. Ties, socks, picture frames and shirts are some of the goods that became commonly known as “dad gifts” in Brazil; however, smartphones and other electronics are becoming more popular as well.

Children’s Day

October 12th is considered the fourth most important date for retail companies in Brazil. Children’s day coincides with another celebration: Our Lady of Aparecida Day, a catholic, national holiday.

The origin of Children’s Day is curious; a board director of a Brazilian toy company created a promotion in the 1960’s to increase sales of a doll - Bebê Robusto (or Robust Baby). The Bebê Robusto Week was so positive that it was expanded to Children’s Week the following year. Ever since, it has been a tradition in Brazil to give toys - and more recently - electronics to children on October 12th.

Dia dos Namorados

Dia dos Namorados is the Brazilian equivalent to Valentine’s Day. The principle is the same: a day where couples celebrate their union and love by exchanging gifts, letters and affection.

In Brazil, Dia dos Namorados happens on June 12th. The date is very important to companies that sell flowers, as this is one of the most popular gifts. Chocolates, jewelry and clothing also benefit from the date, which was created by a famous adman in the late 1940’s, who launched a campaign to increase sales in the period under the motto “it is not only with kisses that one proves love”.

Traditionally, Dia dos Namorados replaced Valentine’s Day. But in recent years, companies have been trying to also incentivize consumption on February 14th, just like in other countries.

Black Friday

If Mothers’ and Fathers’ day are more important to retailers in Brazil than from some other countries, the same cannot be spoken about Black Friday. At least not yet.

Black Friday, which traditionally happens the day after Thanksgiving (a holiday that is not celebrated in Brazil), first appeared for Brazilian consumers in 2010, from the initiative of some websites. This is one of the reasons why it became an important occasion for Brazilian e-commerce, but not so much for commerce in general.

The first two years of Brazilian Black Friday were marked by fake discounts and attempts to mislead consumers. However, since 2012, many consumers associations and NGOs are monitoring the offers made by retailers, trying to ensure that products are actually sold at lower prices. In 2013, e-commerce sales during Black Friday were BRL 424 million, a growth of 95% in comparison to the previous year.