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Software developers and engineers may be looking forward to some sorely needed time off this holiday season, but our data shows that many of them will be working.

But whom exactly? If they write or maintain code for the Food & Staples Retailing industry, they’re more than twice as likely to be building on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day than those in Consumer Staples.

This blog post is the first in a series based on anonymized data from close to 20 million builds run on CircleCI in the past 12 months. To see what kinds of organizations were building the most on Christmas, we compared average holiday build volume to average non-holiday build volume across 29 industry groups1:

In the chart above is the data for Christmas 2015, which includes Christmas Eve and Christmas Day as a combined holiday. Numbers have been rounded to nearest whole percentage. This chart measures average holiday build volume, as compared to average non-holiday build volume in the same month.

The top 5 industries

  • Food & Staples Retailing: 60% of average daily build volume2
  • Household & Personal Products: 57%
  • Consumer Services: 43%
  • Energy Equipment & Services: 36%
  • Telecommunication Services: 32%

The bottom 5 industries

  • Consumer Staples: 6% of average daily build volume
  • Consumer Discretionary: 8%
  • Materials: 9%
  • Utilities: 10%
  • Construction Materials: 10%

The average build volume (across all industries) on Christmas was about 24%: so overall, developers ran only a quarter of the number of builds hey would on an average December workday. But, as you can see below, some industries were busier than others.

12 20 Christmas Chart 2.png

The cross-industry average of 24% is “0” on graph. E.g. “Transportation -6%” means that the Transportation industry ran 6% fewer builds than the “average” industry.

While these numbers haven’t been broken down by individual organizations, builds per org, or fail/pass status, you can still see some trends emerging. For example, Utilities, Construction Materials (includes building materials), and Materials (includes mining and chemicals) were down for Christmas, perhaps indicating the lack of building projects in December.

This Christmas, if trends continue, devs in Software & Services are 1.5x more likely to be building than the “average” industry. Engineers fixing builds for Food & Staples Retailing will likely build the most (147%) while those in Consumer Staples will build the least (-77%).

Stay tuned: we’ll revisit this data after Christmas 2016 to see if these trends continued–or not.

For questions, comments, or requests to re-use this data or graphics, contact us.


  1. Industry groups included Automobiles & Components, Banks, Capital Goods, Commercial & Professional Services, Consumer Discretionary, Consumer Durables & Apparel, Consumer Services, Consumer Staples, Diversified Consumer Services, Diversified Financial Services, Diversified Financials, Energy Equipment & Services, Food & Staples Retailing, Food Beverage & Tobacco, Health Care Equipment & Services, Household & Personal Products, Independent Power and Renewable Electricity Producers, Insurance, Materials, Media, Pharmaceuticals, Biotechnology & Life Sciences, Real Estate, Retailing, Software & Services, Technology Hardware & Equipment, Telecommunication Services, Transportation, Utilities. For reference to what kinds of organizations these industry groups might include, see the ClearBit definitions here. And keep in mind: if an industry group says “Automobiles & Components,” it will include auto companies in addition to any startups or companies making software for the automotive industry. 

  2. of non-holiday days in December