As each year passes, retailers wonder if Black Friday can still deliver. Are consumers losing interest? Do discounts cost more than they’re worth in the long run?
And yet, Thanksgiving week continues to drive sales. Figures from Barclaycard suggest that on Black Friday itself, sales volumes were 7.2% higher than in 2018.
Web data from our own clients shows that this year once again saw a spike in ecommerce traffic on Black Friday. But Black Friday itself doesn’t tell the whole story.
Black Friday is starting earlier…
The shape of our Black Friday graph hasn’t altered too much over the last three years. Traffic jumps on Black Friday, dips a little over the holiday weekend, and picks back up as Cyber Monday sets in.
But the spike is getting a little smaller each year. Does that mean that Black Friday is losing its appeal?
In fact, what we’re seeing is that eCommerce traffic is spread out over the preceding week, and even earlier into the month. Black Friday has become Black Friday Weekend, seeped into Black Friday Week, and even moved towards becoming Black November.
Brands are changing how they approach deals. Hourly sales, with limited stock on a single day, are gradually making way for a longer sales period.
… and finishing later
Traffic remained higher-than-normal over the weekend, peaking on Cyber Monday. Once again, pageviews on the online shopping day were up on the previous year.
Data from Adobe indicated that the event had grown 16.9% year-over-year in the U.S., with smartphones driving 54% of traffic to retail sites.
The bottom line
Black Friday can no longer be viewed as a single day of sales. Shoppers are looking for online deals from early November, and beyond Black Friday into the Christmas period.
To get a slice of consumers’ attention, marketers need to get creative. It’s vital to start planning well in advance of the holiday season, build excitement, and let shoppers know to look out for deals.
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