Wondering how to use up those few days of annual leave you’ve got left? The answer is simple:


Forget wasting thousands on second-rate tech on Cyber Monday, or brawling with strangers on Black Friday, the new data driven date for Santa’s Seasonal Stressless Shopping day of the year is Monday 8th December.

We are so confident our discovery is worth the paper it’s written on, we’ll be giving our Swans half a day off to get all their shopping done on Monday 8th December!

We asked our crack team of Data Scientists to define the precise day on which consumer shopping peaks based on a scientific equation. A range of different data led predictions were taken into account, such as proximity to payday, annual & weekly shopping habits and school holidays, and after analysing a variety of data points we found that Monday 8th December will be the best day to do Christmas shopping – simply because it will be the quietest.

If you think this is too early, imagine how great it’ll feel when you’ve beaten the crowds and can stay on the sofa drinking tea, when the rest of the country wages war on the high street. Of course it doesn’t take a data science agency to tell you what you already know – leaving your Christmas shopping until Christmas Eve will result in overspending, unwanted rubbish presents and furious tears. So take a chance – get out there on 8th December, get it all done in one fell sweep and be in the pub / back on the sofa by 6!

Dick Fear, Senior Data Scientist at Black Swan, built the formula and says: “Christmas shopping is hardly a restful experience so we were intrigued to see what the quietest day would be.  We based it on a number of factors; existing shopping habits and Christmas shopping habits over the past several years, dates of school holidays, and when the average person gets paid.  Of course there’s a fair bit of other “geekery” that goes into this equation – but that’s our secret.”

The equation itself has been constructed by Black Swan’s Data Scientists and therefore may take a bit of explaining, probably a glass of sherry and a hot towel to understand. So, in the spirit of Christmas, here goes:

The Equation:


The Terms:



t1 = Distance from payday (a number between 0 – 30)
t2 = Day of week (a number from 0 – 6 where 0 is Monday)
t3 = Time to Christmas (a number greater than 1)

(We can’t control the weather, but if it’s any consolation, the wetter the weather the quieter the shops will be!)

Altogether now:


Just plug in the numbers for Pe,Pl,t1,t2 and t3 and you are ready to go!

We know what you’re thinking – we’re sick of these stories too – ‘most depressing day of the year’, ‘day most holidays are booked’ etc., but Black Swan are different – this is simply what we do. We compare and combine thousands of data sources to make reliable predictions, all day and every day, and our predictions have had some startling results for huge name brands all over the world. This is why we can confidently say, if you need to get out there and burn some plastic, Monday 8th is the day to do it!

Lara is Communications Manager at Black Swan.