Last week, I aggregated an enormous number of predictions about Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and some that included perspectives on the holiday season in general. Black Friday and Cyber Monday are over, though “Cyber Week Deals” are not. Overall, the results have been positive. Certainly from my own shopping experiences, people were out in force on Friday both online and in stores. Did the results match up to the hype? Let’s take a look.
Overall Results: Black Friday and Cyber Monday
- Based on Black Friday weekend results, which NRF counts as the five days from Thanksgiving Thursday through Cyber Monday, the trade organization reiterated its holiday season forecast of 4.3-4.8% year over year sales, which are strong comps on top of an already strong season.
- Thanksgiving Day brought in $3.7 billion in online sales, a growth of 28% year over year. Adobe predicted a 16.5% increase YoY.
- Black Friday brought in $6.2 billion in online sales, a growth of 23.6% year over year.
- As of 7 p.m. ET on Monday, Adobe was projecting $7.9 billion in Cyber Monday online sales, a 19.7% increase year over year. This was more than Adobe initially predicted: $7.7 billion for 17.6% YoY growth. Adobe predicted that Cyber Monday would be the fastest growing online shopping day of the year, but reported thatSaturday and Sunday combined grew 25% YoY, faster than both Black Friday and Cyber Monday combined.
- Over 165 million people shopped over the weekend, slightly over the number predicted. RetailMeNot predicted that 78% of shoppers planned to shop over the weekend, and Swagbucks predicted 85%, significantly higher than NRF’s 67% of actual shoppers.
- Average spending was down approximately $20 YoY, but total spending was up.
- Consumers aged 35-44 spent an average of $413 over the weekend, which was about $100 more than the total average per consumer. Compare that with Deloitte’s prediction that consumers will spend $1,536 each over the entirety of the holiday season. And AT Kearney’s prediction that under-35s would spend the most between Black Friday and Cyber Monday
- Almost half (48%) of consumers did less than 25% of their gift shopping over Thanksgiving weekend, and overall consumers have more than half of their planned shopping left to do.
- Salesforce predicted that 40% of holiday shopping would happen during Cyber Week, and while they don’t yet have the denominator (all holiday shopping), Rob Garf, Salesforce VP of Industry Strategy and Insights confirmed that the totals the company saw over Cyber Week are on track to hit that prediction.
The consensus seems to be that while overall sales were up for Thanksgiving weekend, it was online that won big (ShopperTrak reported a 1.7% decline in store traffic on Black Friday vs. 2017). However, stores certainly aren’t out – plenty of consumers hit the stores over the weekend, and it was 35-44 year-olds who outspent the expected Millennials.
There has been some speculation that Thanksgiving’s early appearance might have actually hamstrung younger age groups’ spending, who potentially resisted Black Friday and Cyber Monday while waiting for the end-of-the-month paycheck. NRF also reported a higher-than-expected interest in self-spending, rather than gifting, and high confidence among shoppers that there will be plenty of deals still to be had closer to Christmas day. So far, all of this points to the better-than-expected results continuing through the holiday season, rather than kicking off strong and then fizzling out.
- For the period of November 1-26, 2018, Adobe found that desktop represented 60% of online purchases, followed by 30% smartphone and 10% tablet. Adobe had earlier predicted that mobile will represent 48.3% of visits and 27.2% of revenue for all online holiday shopping.
- For “Cyber Week,” mobile had 62% of traffic share and 45% of order share, according to Salesforce. The company predicts that mobile devices will account for 68% of traffic and 46% of orders over the entire holiday season.
- Mobile devices accounted for 68% of online traffic and 54% of orders on Thanksgiving. Fifteen percent more order were placed on mobile phones on the holiday.
- Mobile devices accounted for 67% of all digital traffic on Black Friday, up from 61% on the same day last year, and secured the most orders at 49% order share, beating Salesforce’s prediction of 46% of orders – Salesforce
Mobile continues to dominate traffic, but still has some work to do to catch up to desktop conversion rates. However, it also continues to grow as a channel for holidays, both in terms of traffic and in terms of sales. One thing to remember, though, is that Thanksgiving weekend represents a particularly concentrated use of mobile, with almost double the predicted share for the whole of the season.
- NRF reported a 73% growth in the use of Instagram to find deals, and a 45% increase in the use of Pinterest.
- Salesforce reported growth in social traffic on both Black Friday and Cyber Monday, with Cyber Monday’s social traffic growing 16%, and social traffic on Thanksgiving Day up 41%. Adobe predicted that social referral traffic would see 11% less revenue per visit compared to 4Q2016 – the only channel expected to see a decline, and also that shoppers would use social media sites for gift ideas 25% less than last year.
- Salesforce reported that retailers sent 3.5 billion emails on Black Friday, and another 4.1 billion on Cyber Monday – significant increases over the 3 billion and 3.3 billion, respectively, sent in 2017. Sprout Social shared that in 2017, retailers received an average 92% increase in social messages per day in November & December vs. the rest of the year.
The demise of social’s influence on the holidays is premature. Not only do consumers apparently still turn to social channels for both inspiration and deals, they are increasingly clicking through on the things they find – in part because retailers and the platforms are getting better at building those connections.
What People Will Buy
- Thursday was heavily a consumer technology shopping day, with Apple’s iPhone and iPad, Amazon’s Kindle and Echo, and Sony’s PS4 the most talked-about products, according to Salesforce. TVs inserted themselves into the most talked-about list on Black Friday, but the Kindle knocked it back out of the list on Cyber Monday.
- Nintendo Switch, Fingerlings, LOL Surprise, Beats, Hot Wheels, Hatchibabies, and Little Live Pets were among the top selling products over Thanksgiving weekend, according to Adobe. It looks like Pomsies, Grumblies, Jurassic World, and even Harry Potter LEGOs did not turn out to be toys that were as hot as Adobe predicted.
Every year there are unexpected hot toys and unexpected busts. The question will be, who will have the inventory to sell and who won’t? Also, while apparel and accessories did better last year than expected over the holiday season, it’s clear consumers are still thinking technology first in 2018.
Sources from: Forbes
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