When To Add Etsy Holiday Listings To Your Shop

If you sell on Etsy, you probably have some things that are seasonal, or are specifically for certain holidays.

What’s the best time to list those in your shop, or should you just leave them up all year?

When to add holiday listings to your Etsy shop

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What’s the best time to list holiday listings?

If you want to add holiday or seasonal listings to your Etsy shop, you can either use the 4-month listing period to decide when to list things, or use the sales trends for that holiday as a guideline. Using those dates will give you a good way to judge when buyers will be shopping in relation to how long the listing will be active on Etsy if it doesn’t sell. Another option, though, is to leave holiday listings up all the time.

All of these methods have good points, and you might want to leave things up all year if they tend to sell each year with no changes to the listing photos or details.

Santa cookie decorations that sold in July
Santa cookie decorations that sold in July

Should you leave holiday listings up all the time?

I find it easiest to leave listings up year-round instead of trying to figure out the timing on things. The advantage to doing this is that it gives customers the option of buying things outside of the actual season, and people do tend to do that.

The downside is that you might forget to update listings if you need to do that each year, but as long as you pay attention to it, it’s a lot easier to leave your listings up all the time.

I get people who buy things for Christmas and St. Patrick’s day right after each holiday, then at random different times of the year. Halloween is also a big one where people will buy things that are themed with that year-round.

If the listings aren’t listed, they won’t sell, and it only costs 60 cents a year to list something even if it never sells.

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Use the four-month listing period to decide when to list holiday items.

Another way to decide when to list things that are seasonal is to count back from the four-month expiration date and list things then. Since every Etsy listing is active for four months before it expires, you can list things so that they’ll expire right after the holiday if they don’t sell.

Doing it that way will keep things active during the time they’re in the highest demand, but after the holiday anything that didn’t sell will be moved into the expired listings and won’t show up in your shop.

This is a good way to handle seasonal collections that are going to be limited editions because it will give them the maximum time on Etsy to sell out.

If you do it this way, make sure that you set the renewal to manual in the listing manager when you first list it, or it will renew automatically.

The benefit to this is that you can keep seasonal things out of your shop after the holiday if that’s what you prefer, and it will give you an easy way to see what did and didn’t sell that holiday season.

You can then make decisions about whether you want to renew things or not, or whether you should sell them again the next year.

The downside, like I mentioned above, is if the listing isn’t listed, people can’t buy it at other times of the year. You’ll need to decide whether you want to have all of the holidays up all the time or not, and if you do, this probably won’t be the way you want to go.

Google trends for Christmas Gifts searches
Google trends for Christmas Gifts searches

If you want to target the exact date that people start shopping for holidays or seasonal items, you can use Google Trends as a guideline for when to list things. Checking some basic terms in Google Trends with a timespan of the past 5 years can show you if there are definite dates when people start shopping for holidays.

Using this information, you can decide whether to list things exactly when people start looking for those holidays, and what the general timespan is that you should be concentrating on.

Make sure to use a basic term that’s not too specific, because Google Trends looks for searches for that exact keyword, it doesn’t look at related terms.

For any kind of gift-giving holiday, you should probably put “gifts” on the end of the holiday, like “Christmas gifts” or “Mother’s Day gifts.”

You might also want to leave the apostrophes out, since people tend to leave punctuation out when they search. Or, you could use both forms to see if the trend is the same (it probably will be.)

For holidays that aren’t about gifts, or for seasons in general, you can use a term like “decor” or “decorations” after the holiday name.

The idea here is just to get an idea of the traffic and a range to focus on, so don’t worry about pinpointing exact dates.

So once you know the general trend, how should you use that information?

Listing when traffic is high or before that?

Using the trends information might make you wonder if it’s better to list things when the traffic is high, or when it’s starting to increase. This is all speculative, because you’re basically betting on whether there will be enough traffic to have people find them in search so that Etsy can start categorizing them or not.

My feeling is that you should list things at least when the traffic is starting to increase, because that will give Etsy time to include the listings in those searches and start gathering customer interaction information about them.

I personally leave things up year-round, but that means that they’ll have naturally slower traffic during times of the year when there aren’t as many searches.

For me that’s okay, because it also keeps them in the system so that if people do search during the off-season, they’ll get some data from that activity.

It helps to have a little information about how Etsy is treating the listings in search, and to see what keywords are bringing traffic to the listings.

Another thing to keep in mind is that you might want to update any listing photos or details that have a year in them.

People will see a year that’s not current and think that the item has that year on it, so make sure to update those!

Kara Buntin

Kara Buntin has run a profitable home-based business since 1999, and has a background in art, theater design, and cake decorating. She's a top Etsy seller with over 51,000 sales on Etsy and her own website, and helps other home-based business owners with their business goals and SEO. She founded the Artisan Shopping Directory website to promote the artisans who are members of her EShop Success marketing program.

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