Digital MarketingEcommerce5 takeaways from the record-breaking Cyber Weekend

5 takeaways from the record-breaking Cyber Weekend

Cyber Monday was the largest online shopping day in both U.S. and Amazon history, while Cyber Weekend saw a surge in sales globally and on mobile devices.

It’s official: Cyber Weekend broke all the ecommerce records, at least in the U.S. Over the past five days, American consumers spent $24.2 billion online. And $7.9 billion of those sales happened yesterday, making this year’s Cyber Monday the largest online shopping day in U.S. history.

While Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales grew 23.6% and 19.7%, respectively, the other three days actually experienced higher growth. Additionally, Cyber Monday also blew Prime Day out of the water as Amazon’s largest-ever shopping day, selling more than 180 million items over five days.

Cyber Weekend sales vs. last year

Here are five takeaways from the record-smashing weekend:

The biggest year for mobile commerce

Analyzing 1 trillion visits to U.S. retail sites, including 80 of the country’s 100 largest, Adobe found that Cyber Weekend was the biggest-ever for mobile commerce. Smartphones and tablets accounted for more than 65% of retail site traffic, a 32.1% growth YoY. And while desktop still drove the lion’s share of sales (50.2%) mobile commerce grew 43% YoY.

Smartphone sales were especially strong on Cyber Monday—$2.1 billion, 48.1% higher than 2017—particularly between 10 p.m. and 1 a.m. EST. Large retailers, which Adobe classifies as those with more than $1 billion in annual ecommerce revenue, saw 6% higher conversion rates on smartphones, which shows that improving the mobile shopping experience is paying off.

Cyber Weekend sales by channel

Direct website traffic has traditional been the biggest revenue driver, with a 25.3% share of Cyber Monday sales. However, that number is down 1.2% YoY, while paid search grew 7.4% YoY to close the gap with a 25.1% share of sales. Organic search made up 18.8% of revenue; email, 24.2%.

On Thanksgiving and Black Friday, the data science team at Sailthru (full disclosure: my employer) analyzed more than 243 million emails sent by its retailer clients. The top-performing subject lines were typically shorter with positive sentiments (“you definitely deserve 50% off) for example) and emojis. Unusually high open rates were also attributed to subject lines that were personalized based on a consumer’s name, browsing history or predicted purchases.

Sailthru-subject line data

Limited inventory cost retailers $624 million in five days

According to Adobe Analytics, the holiday season’s best-selling items included laptops, particularly from Dell and Apple; Nintendo Switches, televisions, Amazon Echos and Rokus; Little live pets, L.O.L Surprise and Fingerlings from the toy category. The hottest products also sold out quickly. Throughout the season, an average of 2.12% of product pages visits have returned out-of-stock messages.

Every day during Cyber Weekend was above average in that regard: 3.26% on Thanksgiving; 2.85%, Black Friday; 2.18, Saturday and Sunday; 2.4%, Cyber Monday. In total, running out of inventory cost retailers $624 million over the five-day period.

Black Friday goes global

While strongly associated with an American holiday, Black Friday sales were up all over the world. Compared with the previous week, data from retargeting company Criteo saw sales increases between 100 and 1000% in 19 countries. Norwegians were the biggest shoppers, followed by Canadian and Brazilian consumers.

Black Friday sales in Norway

Black Friday isn’t limited to the Western world, either. In Japan, people spent 50% more than they had the previous Friday. However, Sunday was this weekend’s biggest shopping day in Japan, while Korean consumers bought more on Wednesday; Black Friday was on top everywhere else.

Clothes were the most premeditated purchase

Retail mar-tech company Bluecore analyzed behaviors and purchases from 161 retailers across the apparel, beauty, footwear, home, jewelry, and technology categories. Data showed that retailers sold 307% more on Black Friday than they do on a typical day. The apparel category saw the largest increase, with 450% more orders placed. At the same time, apparel and home shoppers were the most strategic; 35.3% of those customers viewed products at least two weeks prior to Black Friday.

Bluecore also found that 57% of Black Friday shoppers were new customers. Based on data from the previous year, the company predicted that 21% of them will become repeat customers by February. Looking back to Black Friday 2017, 6% of those first-time customers bought again this year.

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