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Cyber Week benchmarks show revenue from partnerships grew despite COVID-19

30-second summary:

  • With COVID-19 potentially preventing customers from flocking to stores before sunrise on Black Friday, retailers have had to adjust their schedule in advance for 2020. Most posted their Black Friday deals weeks in advance, hoping to get as much wallet share as possible.
  • Consumers shopped earlier and took advantage of retailers’ early promotions in the weeks leading up to Black Friday and Cyber ​​Monday 2020. Also, as in the past, they focused on those two shopping days. A drop in purchases on Cyber ​​Monday could mean that shoppers had already found the deals they wanted and were done with their Christmas shopping before Cyber ​​Monday got around.
  • With more days to shop for the same deals, shoppers may have split their orders and browsed between websites as they had more time to find the products they wanted.
  • While the average order value fell in the weeks leading up to Cyber ​​Week as well as on Black Friday and Cyber ​​Monday 2020, it was only a few percentage points. This is likely due to brands offering bigger deals on certain items to make up for losses suffered over the year.
  • Black Friday and Cyber ​​Monday underperformed in 2020 as customers got access to deals and offers weeks before Cyber ​​Week. Despite a poor performance on the traditionally most powerful days, sales rose for the entire month of November. This seems to confirm that the “extended business window” strategy has paid off overall for retailers.
  • While retailers made more money year over year (a 27% increase in sales in November 2020), affiliate profits remained relatively stable year over year. We can’t be entirely sure why, but a potential factor could be a surge in low paying categories (like new electronics).

After a year of ups and downs like no other in history, no one knew exactly what to expect from Black Friday / Cyber ​​Monday (BF / CM) this year. Impact has been tracking partnership benchmarks since the beginning of the pandemic and providing insights into changes in consumer behavior. What happened during Cyber ​​Week this year?

Impact’s data scientists looked at key metrics during the 2019 and 2020 BF / CM buying period to find out. They found that Impact’s retail and shopping customers saw their partnering income grow in the 2020 peak season.

In the weeks leading up to Cyber ​​Week, brands saw sales growth despite the problems caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The main results of the research include:

  • Consumers shopped earlier than the Black Friday and Cyber ​​Monday deals advertised earlier, which resulted in the 2020 “Christmas shopping window” being postponed and widened.
  • Buyers spent more time looking for deals in 2020 than they did in 2019.
  • The weeks leading up to Cyber ​​Week surpassed Black Friday and Cyber ​​Monday in 2020.

The methodology behind the benchmarks

The year-on-year (year-over-year) impact was tracked using daily benchmarking across the retail and purchasing industries to compare Cyber ​​Week 2019 and 2020 year-over-year growth. Our data was retrieved using a cohort of hundreds of brands in the retail and purchasing sectors that shared the same business data year after year.

Impact’s analysis began four weeks before Cyber ​​Week on October 29, 2020 and ended on Cyber ​​Monday on November 30. This period provides a full view of consumer behavior before and including Cyber ​​Week.

Six trends from Cyber ​​Week data

1) Consumers shopped earlier as Black Friday and Cyber ​​Monday stores started earlier

  • Up until Cyber ​​Week 2020, clicks increased an average of 118% each day. In some cases, they increased by up to 290% compared to 2019.
  • Clicks increased 77% and 46% respectively on Black Friday and Cyber ​​Monday.
  • Overall, clicks in November increased 108% compared to 2019.

Key to take away

With COVID-19 potentially preventing shoppers from flocking to stores before sunrise on Black Friday, retailers had to adjust their schedule in advance for 2020. Most posted their Black Friday deals weeks in advance, hoping to get as much wallet share as possible.

2) Consumers bought significantly more in the weeks leading up to Black Friday and Cyber ​​Monday 2020 than in 2019

  • Purchases rose 49% in the weeks leading up to Black Friday and Cyber ​​Monday.
  • Purchases rose 12% on Black Friday and 17% on Cyber ​​Monday.
  • In November, purchases rose 35%.

Cyber ​​Week

Key to take away

Consumers shopped earlier and took advantage of retailers’ early promotions in the weeks leading up to Black Friday and Cyber ​​Monday 2020. Also, as in the past, they focused on those two shopping days.

A drop in purchases on Cyber ​​Monday could mean that shoppers had already found the deals they wanted and were done with their Christmas shopping before Cyber ​​Monday got around.

3) Buyers had more options to choose where to spend their money

  • Conversion rates decreased by an average of 33%, with a few days in the weeks leading up to Cyber ​​Week only being -60%.
  • On Black Friday and Cyber ​​Monday, conversion rates decreased by 37% and 43%, respectively, compared to 2019.
  • In November, the exchange rates fell 31%.

Cyber ​​Week

Key to take away

With more days to shop for the same deals, shoppers may have split their orders and browsed between websites as they had more time to find the products they wanted.

4) The average order value (AOV) has stalled slightly

  • In the weeks leading up to Cyber ​​Week 2020, the AOV had decreased by an average of 3% compared to 2019.
  • The AOV declined 14% and 4% respectively on Black Friday and Cyber ​​Monday compared to 2019.
  • In November, the AOV decreased by 31%.

Cyber ​​Week

Key to take away

While the average order value fell in the weeks leading up to Cyber ​​Week as well as on Black Friday and Cyber ​​Monday 2020, it was only a few percentage points. This is likely due to brands offering bigger deals on certain items to make up for losses suffered over the year.

5) The weeks leading up to Cyber ​​Week 2020 surpassed Black Friday and Cyber ​​Monday. Fortunately, the November performance still resulted in an holistic increase in sales

  • In the weeks leading up to Cyber ​​Week, revenue grew 42% year over year from 2019.
  • On Black Friday, sales were down 4% year over year. Cyber ​​Monday also saw a 20% drop in sales.
  • In November, sales were up 24% year over year from 2019.

Key to take away

Black Friday and Cyber ​​Monday underperformed in 2020 as customers got access to deals and offers weeks before Cyber ​​Week. Despite a poor performance on the traditionally most powerful days, sales rose for the entire month of November. This seems to confirm that the “extended business window” strategy has paid off overall for retailers.

6) Affiliates saw limited profits on payouts

  • Withdrawals started slowly but increased in the last two weeks leading up to Cyber ​​Week 2020, with an average increase of around 12% in the days leading up to Cyber ​​Week.
  • Payouts were down 17% on Black Friday compared to 2019, while payouts were down 32% on Cyber ​​Monday.
  • For the month of November, payouts only increased 2% year-on-year.

Key to take away

While retailers made more money year over year (a 27% increase in sales in November 2020), affiliate profits remained relatively stable year over year. We can’t be entirely sure why, but a potential factor could be a surge in low paying categories (like new electronics).

Cyber ​​Week 2020 was different from previous years, but partnership income continued to grow

Cyber ​​Week 2020 didn’t have the usual early morning shoppers environment, long lines, and crowded stores. Instead, most consumers bought online over the course of the weeks, not just on Black Friday and Cyber ​​Monday.

With the pandemic largely hampering in-store buying options, many brands and retailers decided to post their vacation deals weeks before Cyber ​​Week. This led to a postponement of the “Christmas shopping window” as more sales were achieved in the weeks leading up to Cyber ​​Week than on Black Friday and Cyber ​​Monday.

The Christmas shopping window in 2019 started a day before Thanksgiving, as opposed to 15 days before Thanksgiving in 2020.

Despite the slowdown on Black Friday and Cyber ​​Monday, November saw a net increase in purchases, clicks, revenue and affiliate payouts.

While the pandemic certainly affected Cyber ​​Week, an impromptu game plan by retailers and partners proved effective in convincing consumers to shop till they drop … or, in the case of this year, to fall off their chairs buying online.

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