Black Friday/Cyber Week Recap

Black Friday/Cyber Week Recap

Written by: Stephanie Bariatti, SMB Media Marketing Consultant 


           Just before the kick-off on Thanksgiving, we wrote about the big, bold predictions experts were making about this year’s holiday shopping season.  We were seeing estimates reaching $1 trillion for the first time ever.  And ecommerce spending was expected to rise 13.2% to $135.35 billion.  Now that the dust has settled on Black Friday and Cyber Week and we are halfway through the season, let’s check in and see where we stand.


            Let’s starts with Black Friday.  Spending was indeed big on Black Friday.  According to Adobe Analytics, online sales reached a record $7.4 billion in the US, which was $1.2 billion more than in 2018.  Tech items were among the most popular things sold, such as Samsung TVs, Instant Pots, and Apple AirPods.  In the toy category, Frozen 2, LOL Surprise, and Beyblades were hot commodities.  Adobe’s data also showed that online shoppers are increasingly using their smartphones to make purchases, with 34.4% of all e-commerce sales having been made on a phone so far this season, up by 24.1% over the same period last year.


            However, sales in brick and mortar stores weren’t as high as they were expected to be over the holiday weekend, which is not surprising given the broader trend of consumers turning more and more to ecommerce.  The data also indicates that a fairly significant winter storm and the buy online, pick up in store (BOPIS) option impacted shopper traffic for Black Friday weekend.  Something to also keep in mind is that may retailers started offering deals and discounts very early in November, in anticipation of this year’s shorter shopping season.  It is quite possible that many people got a start on their holiday shopping well before Thanksgiving. Sensormatic Solutions found that store traffic on Thanksgiving resulted in a 0.8% decrease, a 4.4% decrease on Black Friday, a 2.6% decrease on Saturday, Nov. 30 and a 7.5% decrease on Sunday, Dec. 1.  Yet, Black Friday still remained the busiest holiday shopping day.


            But how did retailers fare on Cyber Monday?  Interestingly, there actually was a slight uptick in the amount of in-store traffic than what we usually see.  The 0.5% increase could also be due to the previously mentioned storm and BOPIS popularity.  These consumers opted to hit the stores when they weren’t as crowded.  


            The real frenzy was happening online though.  Cyber Monday shattered records, with total sales reaching an estimated $9.4% billion, up from last year’s $7.9 billion.  33% of shoppers used their smartphones this Cyber Monday, resulting in a record $3 billion purchased by mobile.  During the peak shopping hours of Cyber Monday, which Adobe Analytics labels as between 8 p.m. and 9 p.m. PT, consumers spent an average of $11 million per minute.


            For Amazon, it was the biggest day in their history, based on the number of items that were purchased worldwide.  According to data from Thinknum, an alternative data provider, the Amazon Fire 7 Tablet was the best-selling computer product on Cyber Monday.  Other popular products included Philips Sonicare toothbrushes, the Amazon Echo Dot and again, the Apple AirPod Pros.  In fact, the AirPod Pros sold so well that Amazon ran out of stock halfway through the day.


            With a couple of weeks of shopping left, it will be interesting to see how high the final numbers will rise.  The large retailers will continue to offer enticing deals and savings, hoping to make the most of the remaining days before Christmas.  BOPIS should also continue to play a part in consumers’ shopping plans, as they may run out of time to wait for items to ship.  Finally, if there continue to be more storms swirling around the country, more people will make purchases online.  Data shows when bad weather hits, online sales rise.


            Only time will tell, and we’ll be sure to give you a full update in the new year! 


Stephanie Bariatti works as a Consultant and Project Manager for SMB Media Consulting.  She has had extensive experience with many facets of advertising and media, having worked for and with creative agencies, production companies and research departments.  She lives in New York with her wonderful husband, three lovable little boys, and a snuggly Golden Retriever.