This year’s Black Friday/Cyber Monday weekend didn’t bring major surprises, but it did break with tradition and set new records. We’ve put together a recap of the biggest sales weekend in ecommerce and what’s on the horizon as we head into 2021.
Cyber 5, the five-day shopping period from Thanksgiving through Cyber Monday, was a huge weekend for ecommerce. According to data from Adobe Analytics, consumers spent a record $34.36 billion on retail websites, up from $28.49 billion for the same period last year, and online sales rose 20.6% year over year. While this percentage is up from 17.7% last year, it is lower than projected estimates, as shoppers took advantage of retailers’ pre-Thanksgiving discounts and shopped earlier to avoid out-of-stock items and shipping delays. More than half of all shoppers (52%) said they took advantage of early seasonal sales, according to an annual survey released by the National Retail Federation (NRF) and Prosper Insights & Analytics.
The overall number of consumers who shopped in stores and online during the Thanksgiving holiday weekend came in at 186.4 million, a slight drop from last year, according to the NRF survey.
As expected, in-store shopping was down due largely to the pandemic and store closures on Thanksgiving. In fact, traffic to stores on Thanksgiving fell 55% from last year, and traffic on Black Friday dropped 37%. “Shipageddon” is expected to push last-minute shoppers who missed holiday shipping deadlines to the store, especially the week before Christmas.
77% of holiday shoppers said they were more interested in supporting small, local businesses struggling during the pandemic this year, according to the NRF survey. On Small Business Saturday, the number of online shoppers was up 17% compared with last year. Small businesses saw a 501% increase in online sales on Cyber Monday.
As carriers continue to contend with capacity challenges, retailers have worked to manage consumer expectations around product availability and shipping delays for the holidays, displaying disclaimers on their websites and urging shoppers to buy early.
This messaging around shipping delays appears to have been effective, as shoppers said they will shop earlier this year knowing delivery times may be longer. Retailers also helped incentivize early shopping by offering pre-Thanksgiving discounts—some of which even kicked off in October.
Curbside, drive-through and in-store pickup options have become increasingly popular this year due to COVID-19 concerns. In addition to providing convenience, these offerings increase retailers’ capacity to fulfill online orders and help shoppers avoid delivery delays. On Black Friday, in-store and curbside pickup increased 52% over last year, according to Adobe. Curbside pickup sales grew 30% year over year on Cyber Monday. Salesforce reports that retailers who offered these options during the first days of Cyber Week increased digital sales at a 26% higher rate than retailers that did not.
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