The Black Friday weekend continues to present a huge opportunity for brands and retailers to drive up their sales as customers rush to buy products from their wishlists, do early holiday shopping and make the most of the heavy discounts. Up until last year, Black Friday and Cyber Monday (BFCM) weekend would mean standing in long queues and visiting crowded stores and malls along with some online shopping. However, like many other key events this year, Black Friday 2020 too was unlike any other. 

In our previous blog, we mentioned that the COVID-19 pandemic will shape this year’s Black Friday weekend to be a digital one. We also emphasised the importance of a digital-first approach for this Black Friday and beyond this year. Now, we know that it was indeed a digital Black Friday. Adobe Analytics reported that consumers avoided crowded areas, and shopped online from the comfort of their homes. In this blog, we provide insights from Black Friday 2020, as well as discuss the changing consumer behaviour.

At ChannelSight, we have access to the richest source of sales and behavioural data available through the world’s top brands and online retailers based on which the following insights are given. 

The Changing Consumer Behaviour

Black Friday 2020 was largely a digital one and this was enabled by the widespread adoption of eCommerce this year, particularly by the older generation in the 65+ category. The unavailability of brick and mortar stores during lockdown earlier this year, as well as the need to socially distance, has been a key driver for the adoption of eCommerce, particularly for the older generation.

The growth of online shopping is evident from looking at the record-breaking online sales from Black Friday weekend this year. Consumers largely shopped online either due to lockdowns in their respective countries or to avoid crowds and maintain social distancing. Online shopping surged 22% with online sales reaching $9billion in the US alone on Black Friday this year. This is a new record for digital sales on Black Friday and the second biggest online spending day in US history after Cyber Monday 2019.

Week-Long Black Friday

Black Friday originates from the United States and has only recently become popular in Europe. Based on our data, we saw that majorly online shopping peaked on Black Friday in the United Statues. However, in Europe, the peak was rather spread out during the entire week. For example, in Italy, the peak was on the 17th of November followed by the 23rd and then on Black Friday itself.

 The graph below is a collective graph of the spread-out peak during the Black Friday week. We can see that there was a spike just a week before Black Friday, followed by an upward trajectory in the days building up to the peak on Black Friday itself.

We extrapolate from the data, that the trigger is the Black Friday week rather than the weekend itself. Another contributor to the rather spread out peak is that this year retailers offered an extended period of sales. They heavily advertised these in advance, triggering many consumers to purchase during the week and before Black Friday. Home Depot reportedly extended the deals over a 2 month period to curb the stress and overcrowding that usually take place. As a result, the peak in sales and traffic was spread out over the week rather than the weekend alone. 

Top Performing Industries for Black Friday 2020

The graph below shows the top verticals based on the Year on Year growth based on our data. While some industries experienced negative YoY leads, all the following industries had positive growth in sales. From our data, we can see that Home appliances i.e. White Goods, Security and Home, and Baby and Child experienced significant growth in both traffic and sales. White goods such as washing machines and home automation tools can be expensive purchases. As a result, many households perhaps waited for the BFCM weekend deals usually with heavy discounts.

Black Friday 2020- Top Performing Verticals

It’s interesting to see that consumer electronics experienced a rather modest increase in revenue and surprisingly a negative growth for traffic this Black Friday. 

We saw a strong performance for consumer electronics during Amazon Prime Day 2020. This year, the two events were quite close to each other with Amazon Prime Day taking place in October this year. Perhaps, one reason why consumer electronics did not see a huge increase in traffic and revenue on Black Friday.

Overall, these insights give us a strong idea about the future of retail over Black Friday Weekend and the key role that eCommerce will play in it. With wider eCommerce adoption across demographics and borders, brands and retailers must have an optimised eCommerce strategy. Further, understanding your customers and the change in their behaviour will be key to being successful going forward.

Get in touch with our experts to learn more about how ChannelSight can help you better understand your consumers, and optimise the consumer buying journey.

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