Preliminary numbers are in for Black Friday and Cyber Monday and, once again, retailers were not disappointed. Here's a quick recap of the results from 2018 Black Friday and Cyber Monday and a look at the trends retailers can use to tweak their marketing strategy for the remainder of the holiday season.
Black Friday - Online Shopping was the Star
Mastercard projected that final sales for Black Friday will total $23 billion, a 9% increase from last year.¹ While this alone is great news for retailers, for eCommerce stores the new was even better with $6.22 billion in online spending being reported by the end of Black Friday—a 23.6% increase from 2017.²
According to Retail Dive, this increase in online spending may help explain the overall decrease in brick and mortar foot traffic. As retailers aligned sales prices across multiple dates and channels, they made Black Friday part of a larger Thanksgiving selling strategy, effectively changing consumer behavior. Consumers not only spent more online than ever before, they spent earlier, with Thanksgiving Day becoming one of the fastest growing online shopping days.
However, not all retailers were celebrating. Due to heavy onsite traffic, many of the big name stores, such as J. Crew and Lowes, ran into technical issues causing site crashes, glitches, and frustrated customers who were unable to complete their purchases. While most of the stores extended their sales to accommodate customers who ran into these issues, it does show that even the largest stores can be caught unprepared.
Cyber Monday - The Belle of the Ball
With sales projected to round out at $7.9 billion (a 19.7% increase from last year), Cyber Monday will likely be the highest day of online-selling during the holiday season and, potentially, in US eCommerce history.³
Interestingly, mobile devices accounted for $2.83 billion in sales on Cyber Monday—36% of all sales. Mobile also accounted for 54.3% of visits to retail sites, a 32.1% increase over last year.
Convenience Eclipses Convention
Beyond the excitement that comes from a successful Thanksgiving shopping weekend, retailers can use trends seen during this 5-day shopping period and punch-up their holiday marketing strategy. The major theme of this past weekend was convenience over convention.
Historically, in-store sales were reserved for Black Friday and online sales were reserved for Cyber Monday; however, retailers are flipping the script and, in turn, changing consumer behavior. By creating online sales that last all weekend, retailers are relying on the shoppers who would rather shop from the comfort of their own home instead of hitting the shops bright and early on Friday morning. The numbers point to a growing online trend with $58.5 billion spent this month alone—nearly a 20% increase from last year.
For stores who have both an online and brick and mortar presence, this means throwing out the old rule book of treating your in-store and online shoppers differently. No more online only sales, or in-store only events. Consumers crave a singular, personalized experience across channels. With a 65% increase in consumers opting to buy online and pick up in store, retailers are starting to understand the importance of meeting their customers’ expectations through an integrated cross-channel experience.
Speaking of customer experience, if you’ve been putting off ensuring your online store is mobile friendly, it’s time to get on the bandwagon. So far this holiday season, smartphones have accounted for 42.6% of sales, a 43% increase year-over-year. Bottom line: if your site and checkout process isn’t mobile friendly, you're probably leaving some some serious cash on the table.
While the holidays are far from over - the Thanksgiving 5 have given us a nice preview of what to expect for the rest of the year-high online sales, mobile shopping increases, and cross-channel experiences.
If you're looking for some last minute holiday inspiration, make sure to download the 12 Days of Holiday Campaigns Guide for access to 12 campaigns you can set up today and run through the holidays and beyond.