In recent years, Black Friday marketing has reliably delivered additional traffic and sales (see our analysis of Black Friday 2019 eCommerce traffic). But with more people working from home and buying online during this unprecedented year, eCommerce traffic for Black Friday 2020 looked a little different.
Web data from our own clients once again shows peaks on Black Friday and Cyber Monday, but we need to dig deeper to uncover the real story.
In previous years, we saw traffic building through Black Friday week - the three peak days of Thanksgiving Thursday, Black Friday and Cyber Monday - then remaining at about 120% through Cyber Week (the week containing Cyber Monday) and towards Christmas.
This year, we saw smaller peaks:
- Thanksgiving Thursday is gone
- Black Friday 173%
- Cyber Monday only 142%
Significantly, Cyber Week was gone too. That whole week including Cyber Monday averaged 103%, slightly lower than the week before Black Friday week. And if you just take the last five days to exclude the Cyber Monday peak, traffic for the end of Cyber Week was only 95%.
So Black Friday sales worked, but not how they normally do. What was different this year? I think it was two things:
- It’s been a great year for online businesses, so some are close to maxed out – either by their website, or their ability to source product and fulfil orders – and they did not feel the need to do so much Black Friday marketing.
- More customers were already making a lot of their purchases online because of Covid-19, so there was less potential for the Black Friday effect to make them switch purchases from offline since they were going to buy online anyway. It seems like one effect of Black Friday deals was to make them bring purchases forward by a week, hence the drop-off in Cyber Week.
The bottom line
It's been a strange year and customers are behaving unpredictably. If marketing was ever a “fire and forget” process, it certainly isn’t today. You need marketing tools that don’t just do all the types of personalization that you need, but also have drag-and-drop marketing rules so you can adapt quickly.
Find out what strategies, tactics and tech to focus on in 2021 from 10 eCommerce marketing experts in our eBook: 10 eCommerce marketing trend predictions for 2021.