Commerce Rev

2020 Cyber Week Results Analysis

Huge ecommerce sales growth in the second and third quarters of 2020 seemed to suggest that holiday spending would be bigger than ever this year, and many retailers were preparing their stock and fulfillment for a record number of orders. Cyber Week 2020 did result in record sales, but did the pandemic alter customer behavior? Now that the biggest holiday shopping days of the year have come and gone, we will analyze the outcome and reflect on what this means for online retailers moving forward.

The Numbers

$60 Billion total US sales

Salesforce reported $60 billion in online retail sales during 7 days of cyber week. Thanksgiving through Cyber Monday, excluding Sunday, accounted for $29.65 Billion in sales, which was an average of 22.09% growth over 2019. Small Business Saturday saw the largest growth at 30.19% year over year.

$9 Billion online Black Friday sales

This year 20% fewer shoppers planned to shop in-store, but sales still rose 21.6% over last year. Mobile ordering accounted for 40% of Back Friday spending. 36% of holiday shoppers reported that they chose to shop Black Friday rather than other days because they expected the best deals to be on Friday.

$10.8 Billion online Cyber Monday sales

This year 20% fewer shoppers planned to shop in-store, but sales still rose 21.6% over last year. Mobile ordering accounted for 40% of Back Friday spending. 36% of holiday shoppers reported that they chose to shop Black Friday rather than other days because they expected the best deals to be on Friday.

44% More online shoppers vs 2019

The total number of shoppers in-store and online fell by 3 million, but online-only shopping still rose by 44%. This is likely a result of the pandemic and most people’s desire to maintain social distancing.

55% of Customers plan to shop mostly online for the holiday season

These consumers say they won’t feel comfortable shopping in person until the pandemic is over. 76% of people in a sample size of 1,500 said a crowded mall would deter them from shopping. Another 25% reported that they won’t feel comfortable returning to stores until a vaccine is ready.

Revenue from Curbside Pickup increased by 95% over 2019

Retailers that offered curbside pickup saw sales 29% increase over last year and retailers without curbside options saw 20% higher revenue. The total number of companies offering curbside pickup increased 52% over 2019.

10% of US traffic came from Social Media

However, this traffic accounted for only 4% of orders placed during cyber week. Perhaps suggesting that more customers used multiple devices to shop, researching on mobile and purchasing on desktop.

Desktop Growth Outpaced Mobile

Growth of desktop paid search clicks outpaced mobile every day of the Cyber Five except Sunday. This seems to suggest that fewer shoppers were on the move. The pandemic is the likely cause for this development as well.

41% Growth for Grocery Category on Amazon

Groceries take the top spot for YoY growth. Shoppers seem to be growing more comfortable with buying groceries online and are now willing to take advantage of sales to buy commodities as well as gift items such as electronics. Beauty and Personal Care came in second with 34% growth, and Electronics came in third at 29%.

$10.8 Billion online Cyber Monday sales

This year 20% fewer shoppers planned to shop in-store, but sales still rose 21.6% over last year. Mobile ordering accounted for 40% of Back Friday spending. 36% of holiday shoppers reported that they chose to shop Black Friday rather than other days because they expected the best deals to be on Friday.

209% Growth in Ad Spend

Advertisers ramped up spending to account for increased competition and available impressions, which grew 109% over 2019. The high levels of competition raised CPCs to such a degree that ad spend outpaced ad sales in all major categories except Electronics.

CPCs Rose 33% on Thanksgiving and 38% on Black Friday

Heightened CPCs were likely to blame for negative RoAS in most categories outside of Electronics. The Electronics category saw a 191% YoY increase in RoAS.

Gear Up for 2021

Sales numbers set record highs, but overall growth percentage was less than previous years. Predictions for the week were aggressive to say the least, and actual sales fell short of those lofty goals, so what happened?

The most often suggested, and perhaps likely reason for lower than expected sales is that Amazon moved their “Prime Day” to October. Retailers spreading sales throughout the last 3 months of the year likely exacerbated the for lower-than-expected growth during Cyber Week as well.
We saw that budget alone is not enough to drive advertising results. Retailers experienced far less return on ad spend than expected during Cyber Week 2020. Sponsored Product ACoS decreased only 6.81% week-over-week on Black Friday, and ACoS increased on Cyber Monday by 15.19% week-over-week. Similarly, Sponsored Brand ACoS decreased 17.32% on Black Friday, but increased over the weekend and remained elevated up 1.46% week-over-week on Cyber Monday. The change in date for Prime Day may be partially to blame for the increasing competition and CPC costs, therefore lowering RoAS, as retailers started gearing up early for the holidays.

Cyber week 2020 taught us that customers are still willing to spend money during a pandemic and that ecommerce sales are only going to keep growing. Customers seem to value convenience and personalization more than ever and present a more digital-first mindset. Every channel in your ecommerce mix needs to do its part in presenting an optimized and consistent brand image. Your presentation and advertising need to align with customer goals to be successful. Commerce Rev will analyze your business goals and help ensure you build a winning strategy for 2021 that maximizes your spending and profitability.
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