The Impact of Japan's New Year Holidays on ZenMarket Orders

Japanese Winter has come. Everyone rugs up to beat the chilly sting of the cold, waiting for when they can finally get home from work and warm their hands and feet under the kotatsu. The year is almost over and everyone is anxious to take a well-deserved rest, while eating food with their families in a nice heated room. Oshougatsu, Nenmatsu, or in English, the New Year holiday is fast approaching.



When is the New Year Holiday?

The amount of time that people take off from work varies from company to company, but at a minimum, the holiday will run from December 30th until January 2nd. Common holiday times for Japanese companies are from December 29th until either January 3rd or January 4th


There is also a higher likelihood of getting leave approved around this time, meaning Japanese workers who want a longer rest, may get the opportunity to do so.

If in a given year, the weekend before or after lands on a favorable date, Japanese people will often see if they can use their personal leave to extend the holiday to the nearest weekend, bringing their resting days over New Years up to around 10 days.


How does the Japanese New Year holiday affect business?

Due to the number of workers taking time off, it can be difficult to schedule meetings and conduct business with other companies. Also because so many people return to their hometowns from the major cities, many Japanese companies will even going so far as to close their doors until the holiday is over.

closed store in japan


This compounds the meeting time issues, making conducting business in Japan incredibly slow and difficult throughout the New Year holiday period. The exception to this rule is the retail industry, who have the biggest sale of the year on New Year's Day. Because of the logistical problems caused by the holiday, huge preparations need to be made by stores months in advance to ensure things go smoothly.

Because it is busy in-store, many stores that also sell online will have slower processing times for their online orders.


How will shipping companies be affected?

Shipping companies have their own set holidays throughout this period. During these times, no parcels can be dispatched. Please see the below table for the holiday times for various shipping methods:

Company Holiday Period
Japan Post December 30th - January 2nd
FedEx December 30th - January 3rd
DHL December 30th - January 3rd
UPS December 30th - January 3rd
SF Express December 30th - January 3rd
ECMS December 29th - January 3rd
ZenExpress December 30th - January 4th


Outside of their set holidays, if workers opt to take additional time off, they are forced to work with limited staff in order to continue operating. As a result, processing and shipping times can become very slow during the New Year period.


Because bonuses tend to be paid in December, Japanese workers also have the opportunity to go travelling or splurge on purchases they otherwise go without.

The fact that New Year's Day is the biggest shopping day of the year in Japan, adds even more stress to Japan's logistical networks, as online sales and eCommerce purchases increase drastically, especially for those purchasing with their bonus money.

Online orders will take longer to be processed, packed and dispatched, as well as take longer to ship.

Because the holiday adds so much strain to these logistics networks, it often takes days, or even weeks for the backlog of orders to be caught up.

As workers return to their jobs after the holiday though, you can expect process speeds to improve.



How will my ZenMarket orders be affected?

The ZenMarket team will also be taking time off, particularly those that work in our purchasing, packing and logistics teams at our warehouses, and they will be heading home to see their families over New Years.

ZenMarket will be closed from December 30th until January 2nd.

During this time, manual purchasing on items, and auctions that require manual input will be unavailable. Any product checking requests or manual purchases will resume from January 3rd. Purchases made through automated means will remain available during this time.

We anticipate that it may take up to a week to get through the backlog so you should expect slower processing times for the first week and a half of January.


As mentioned previously, the Japanese stores themselves will take longer to process and ship orders, if they even take orders through this period at all, so when items do get purchased, allow a little more time than usual for your item to reach our warehouse. Once they arrive, we will then pack all the orders placed over the holiday break, which again will take a little more time than usual.

Finally, if your items are dispatched during the New Year's period, the shipping providers in Japan may take slightly longer than usual to deliver and process them. Tracking events on your parcel may take longer to register than usual.


What can I do to prevent my orders getting delayed?

While we will do our best to ensure that we process your orders as fast as we can, delays during New Years are inevitable. The best way to prevent your orders from getting delayed is to order outside of the New Year holiday period.

In other words, start getting your orders finalized now, before the New Year holiday delays set in. 

If this is not possible, and you can bear to wait an extra couple of weeks for your items, consider ordering after the New Year holidays. If you cannot finalize your order before New Years, you will still have 45 days of free storage for items that arrive at our warehouse so you can resume your order later if you have the storage time available.

We want to be upfront with you. ZenMarket believes it is realistic to expect these delays for the duration of New Year holiday and for up to 10 days after it has ended, by which point we should have cleared through the backlog.

We will endeavor to get through this as quickly as we can to ensure you get the Japanese goods you are after as soon as possible.

Thank you for your continued patience and understanding.



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News| 06/12/2022 |


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