As the saying goes: “April showers bring May flowers.” With Cinco de Mayo, Mother’s Day and Memorial Day as this month’s big – and partially flowery – festivities, there are plenty of e-commerce opportunities to go around. According to data by mobile measurement company Adjust, “May is quickly becoming one of the most lucrative months for m-commerce [mobile commerce, i.e., a form of e-commerce allowing users to access online shopping platforms without the use of a desktop computer] retailers.” May 2022 saw a new in-app spending record in the form of a whopping 112% increase compared to May 2020.

Even as physical shops are re-opening around the world following several Pandemic-related lockdowns, online shopping is here to stay. And for good reason: “Consumers enjoy the convenience that e-commerce offers.” Good news for online retailers! Let’s look at some of May’s holidays and observances and which products are particularly sought after this month.

Holidays & Observances in May

International Workers’ Day – May 1st

International Workers’ Day celebrates working people and their rights. It’s sometimes also referred to as “Labour Day”, for example in the UK, but shouldn’t be confused with Labor Day in the USA in September. Thanks to marches and campaigns in the past, millions of people were able to get better pay, minimum wages and other fundamental rights and benefits. But since the 2008 financial crisis, working conditions in some countries and sectors have gotten worse again. With the rise of the “gig economy”, workers don’t have the same layer of protection in the form of paid holidays, sick pay or a guaranteed minimum wage. As recently as 2022, dozens of Amazon warehouse workers in the US protested low pay and poor working conditions. That’s why International Workers’ Day is as current as ever.

Star Wars Day – May 4th

Okay, this one might not be as serious as the other May holidays and observances, but we had to mention it. Above all because Star Wars merchandise makes up for an incredible $42.2 billion of the franchise’s $68.7 billion total value. Star Wars Day originated from the famous movie quote “May the force be with you” which then turned into the catchphrase “May the Fourth be with you”. While Lucasfilm has never declared May 4th an official observance, many Star Wars fans choose to celebrate this day every year.

Cinco de Mayo – May 5th

Cinco de Mayo celebrates Mexico’s victory over the Second French Empire at the Battle of Puebla on May 5th, 1862. As Mexican heritage have become an integral part of American culture, this day is now also celebrated throughout the USA as a big party with Mexican food and drink, toys and more. Popular products and host gifts include dip trays (don’t forget about the guac!), taco holders and Margarita glasses. It’s also common to write down a treasured family recipe (e.g., on a wooden cutting board) to keep as an heirloom for the next generations.

Mother’s Day – May 8th

Mother’s Day celebrates mother figures throughout the world. In 1914, US President Woodrow Wilson proclaimed Mother’s Day a national holiday to be held on the 2nd Sunday of May. But celebrations of motherhood can be traced back to the ancient Greeks and Romans: They held festivals in honor of the mother goddesses Rhea and Cybele. Our modern-day precedent for Mother’s Day is the early Christian festival known as “Mothering Sunday.”

From breakfast in bed to a nice family outing or even a fancy spa treatment – it’s hard to run out of gift ideas for Mother’s Day. Obvious ones include jewelry, chocolates and flower arrangements. More subtle options, like coffee or specially made gift cards, also show people’s appreciation on this special day.

Memorial Day – May 30th

Memorial Day remembers those who have died in service to the USA. Originally, Memorial Day was called Decoration Day, deriving from the early tradition of decorating graves with flowers, wreaths and flags. In a more modern sense, Memorial Day pays tribute with ceremonies, parades and sometimes family BBQs. American flags and poppies are common décor pieces around neighborhoods on this day.


May is fast becoming an e-commerce month to watch, particularly in the mobile commerce segment and its in-app purchases. Cinco de Mayo, Mother’s Day and Memorial Day are big occasions for gifts, décor as well as food and drink purchases. Over in its own little category, Star Wars Day – à la “May the Fourth be with you” – keeps things light on the heart and heavy on the merch. The warmer May weather may also inspire shoppers to get ready for summer…