2020 has been a year of unexpectedness — and Cyber Weekend was no exception. While parts felt familiar, brands shifted their strategies to account for more online shopping than ever, shipping delays, inventory issues, and larger competition in the ecommerce space.
We analyzed the ecommerce performance of every brand we work with on the owned and operated side throughout the entire promotional period. Based on this first-party data, we uncovered 3 key takeaways from Cyber Weekend 2020.
1. Highest Revenue Day was Black Friday (Not Cyber Monday)
Yes, total e-commerce sales on Cyber Monday did exceed Black Friday sales by almost $2 billion, but these numbers (provided by Adobe) include marketplaces and big box retailers such as Wal-Mart, Target, and Apple. Also worth noting is that these numbers took into account sales from mobile apps, not just websites.
When looking at the performance on our brands’ owned websites however, Black Friday was the highest revenue day, not Cyber Monday. This statistic was true for every single ecommerce client we manage.
A few key factors played into this notable shift.
First, and not to anyone’s surprise, online shopping on Black Friday was at an all-time high this year due to COVID-19. Many customers who would have traditionally spent Black Friday shopping in person transitioned to solely online shopping.
Second, in years past, many brands increased the value of their deals on Cyber Monday. In the last few years as e-commerce has shifted to be a larger force in holiday shopping, brands have implemented the same promotional discount for the entire Cyber Weekend. This year proved no different, as most brands simply leveraged the same promotion over the course of the entire Cyber Weekend, so customers knew they were going to get the best deal no matter when they shopped.
Lastly, the majority of our clients allocated more spend to Black Friday than they did on Cyber Monday, in anticipation of this shift, which fueled growth.
2. Year-Over-Year Growth in Revenue
71% of brands we work with saw an increase in their ecommerce sales year over year during their entire cyber promotional period — many seeing increases of over 30%, and some seeing 79% growth YOY.
Online shopping for our digital advertising clients was up 21.5% on Black Friday and 15.1% on Cyber Monday compared to last year.
Of course, it’s important to mention that some of the YoY growth came from increases in budget. However, the revenue growth exceeded that of budget.
3. Brands Started Promos Earlier
Across the board, brands started promotions even before Thanksgiving this year. The trend has evolved from Black Friday savings, to Cyber Weekend, now to essentially a whole Cyber Week of sales.
Brands who started their promotions before Black Friday typically saw great returns on the first day of promotion, then saw a sales dip over the days leading to Thanksgiving, and then had their highest revenue day on Black Friday.
Brands who didn’t start their promotions earlier in the week missed out on thousands of dollars in revenue — and their business was likely cannibalized by competitors who did offer promotions earlier in the week.
Many brands worry about starting their promotions too early and discounting their products for too long. And while there is certainly a sweet spot for promotion length, beginning your cyber sales earlier in the week is certainly an opportunity to propel your revenue for a longer period of time. One of our beauty brands began their promotion on the Monday before Thanksgiving, and their sales on that day were significantly higher than their sales on Cyber Monday!
In addition, starting your promotions earlier allows you to compete with big box retailers that are also selling your products. Some retailers, such as Sephora, only offer bundles deals and ‘buy more save more’ promos on Cyber Weekend, so by offering a true percentage discount on your product, you can win sales from customers who would otherwise have bought from their favorite retailer.