Recap: Black Friday and Cyber Monday

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This year, Thanksgiving weekend was a huge success for online retailers. For many businesses, 40% of their profit comes from the holiday season, and Thanksgiving weekend and Cyber Monday account for 18-20% of total holiday sales. While Black Friday and Cyber Monday (BFCM) set new sales records, physical stores were less successful. Overall, both days produced well over $3 billion in online sales, growing 21.6% and 12.1% YOY.


After the dust settled and retailers counted their coin, they noticed massive changes in how and where people shopped. Let’s dive into the specific changes that made this year’s BFCM stand out from all the rest.


Mobile investments start to pay off


Once again, mobile commerce caught the attention of retailers as it posted impressive numbers for BFCM. If you were among the 90% of businesses that planned to increase mobile app investments for 2016, you couldn’t have picked a better time.


While physical retailers experienced decreases in both sales and transactions, mobile commerce hit record-breaking sales. For the first time, mobile sales surpassed the $1B threshold for both Black Friday and Cyber Monday. If this is evident of anything, it’s that people are seeing mobile as an effective alternative to shopping on a computer or in a physical store.


On Black Friday, a quarter of global users used a mobile app to shop. Walmart is seeing great returns since investing in their mobile app. On Black Friday and Cyber Monday, 70% of online traffic came from mobile and almost half of all pickup orders were placed via mobile browser or through their app. Although mobile commerce is only a portion of total online sales, ecommerce as a whole had a great Friday and Monday.


Online growth outpaced brick-and-mortar


This Thanksgiving weekend more people shopped online than in physical stores. By doing so, people were able to effectively avoid the anarchy of brick-and-mortar stores. When you can shop anywhere, you don’t have to go visit a store and battle other shoppers for the best products.


Although overall spending was slightly down from last year, online spending was up. BFCM ecommerce sales saw increases in AOV with shoppers’ AOV averaging $170 and $150, per day. For online retailers that offer alternative payments, the spending was even higher.


Retailers that use FuturePay, an instant financing option, showed healthy growth for both shopping days. On Black Friday, FuturePay retailers saw an average increase of 218% for sales and an AOV of almost $380. The growth continued on Cyber Monday, with retailers almost doubling their sales and surpassing an AOV of $300. Shoppers may have been strapped for cash during Thanksgiving weekend, but they were more than willing to shop knowing they could spread their purchases over a period of time.


Not all retailers were ready for spike in online traffic


Thanksgiving weekend, namely Black Friday, is known for the chaos it sparks within brick-and-mortar stores. Except this year there was a shift in where the chaos took place as more people went online. Online stores are much like physical ones – the larger the crowd, the slower the service.


Some retailers were more prepared than others for the inflow of online shoppers. Large traffic spikes caused grief for some well-known retailers. Some had to create temporary checkout queues because their site couldn’t withstand the amount of orders being placed, while others had their page load times average more than 25 seconds. Shoppers don’t expect to wait in lines online and a slow checkout process can cost you big time. For retailers that were prepared, they kept their customers happy with consistently fast page load times. Neiman Marcus, Dell, and Apple all ended the day with average page load times being less than 2.5 seconds.


Although Cyber Monday wasn’t nearly as bad, retailers still had issues with a large influx of web traffic. Some website slowdowns were quickly corrected, while others maintained over the day.


What does this mean for the future?


This weekend gave retailers an excellent opportunity to learn how to improve for the future. The increase in mobile sales should encourage retailers to expand their selling channels and invest more in mobile experiences. What should you take away from this hectic holiday shopping weekend? Don’t let your potential be limited by where and how you sell your products, and plan for continued online growth.


Enjoyed the post? Check out How Mobile Advancements Have Changed M-Commerce and the Customer Experience What You Can Learn from Top Retailers What to Expect From Holiday Shoppers This Season

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