Who Won (and Lost) Over Black Friday

We saw how Black Friday sales took root around the globe; now it’s time to see how the real deal measured up in the US.  Black Friday and Cyber Monday are finally over, and now that the dust has settled it’s time to take a look at the winners (and losers) of this holiday shopping extravaganza.

A recent trend is that retailers are starting to offer sales starting before Black Friday and Cyber Monday. So to get the whole picture, we analyzed changes in the US shopping industry from October to November.

SimilarWeb’s Industry Analysis tells us that the online shopping industry grew by 14% (MoM, October to November). Thanks to the the jump start on this year’s pre-holiday sales, site traffic to retail sites was more evenly distributed over the week before Black Friday.

Now the moment you’ve all been waiting for! This is what SimilarWeb has to say about the winners of the 2014 shopping craze (based on rank change and site traffic)

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Black Friday Winners – Rank Change Based on Traffic

The holiday season is nothing if not surprising! 2nd tier retailer frys.com came out on top as the biggest winner, jumping up 38 positions in rank and boosting website traffic by a whopping 114%.  Other retailers that cashed in big time included:

  • ToysRUs.com was busy granting the holiday wish list of their smallest customers, who searched for Disney’s Frozen, Lego and X Box. Thanks to the high demand for these and other top-searched goodies, Toys R Us moved up 16 places in rank.
  • VictoriasSecret.com offered free shipping and up to 50% off select merchandise, earning the lingerie site a sweet 57% traffic increase.
  • The fastest-growing online apparel sites of the season were Macys.com and Gap.com, While Slickdeals.net boasted more than a 60% increase in traffic.
  • The winners for specialty product sites in electronics were bhphotovideo.com and shop.lenovo.com, illustrating that electronic and digital products are popular gifts for the whole family.

Check out the following 9 noteworthy sites. While they didn’t change their rank, they all experienced huge traffic spikes. The clear winner was Bestbuy.com. In fact, Bestbuy.com received so much traffic that their site actually crashed a few times.

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Black Friday Successes – Industry Leaders with Massive Traffic

Target.com bested Walmart.com in traffic growth, but still lagged behind in terms of visit quantity. Interestingly enough, both Target and Walmart saw the biggest traffic increase on Thanksgiving Day. Maybe shoppers were anxious to squeeze in some holiday shopping in between their Turkey and pumpkin pie?

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Amazon also made out well this year, as the website’s traffic grew by almost a quarter during the holiday buying bonanza. Amazon.com was the only site out of those we analyzed that had its biggest shopping day on Black Friday

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We’ve crowned the winners….now let’s take a look at the websites that didn’t fare as well this holiday season:

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Black Friday Losers – Rank Change Based on Traffic

  • Another surprise: Popular shoe and clothing retailer Zappos.com failed to impress, dropping 11 positions in rank and realizing only a 7% traffic increase. Maybe Zappos just didn’t stand a chance when coming up against competitors like Amazon.
  • Craigslist predictably lost some traffic during the holidays, but the site is popular and will likely recover fast.
  • While Alibaba made out like a bandit for Single’s Day in China, the company still has a long way to go in terms of dominating the US shopping market. Despite massive ad campaigns and their recent IPO, Aliexpress failed to reach market predictions.
  • H&M and Nike may need to reconsider their holiday marketing strategy if they want to compete with other big retailers, as neither site saw much of a traffic increase.
  • Ikea.com saw their rank drop by 6 with not much of a traffic increase, a clear indicator that furniture is not at the top of every consumer’s holiday shopping wishlist. Still, the brand is strong and people will likely return to buying their beloved Lillbron’s and Ecktorp’s after the holidays are over.

All in all, this has been a successful pre-holiday shopping season, as Black Friday broke the $1 billion barrier in sales. More than ever, consumers are now opting to shop online from the safety of their homes as opposed to braving the holiday shopping frenzy. And who can blame them? It’ll be interesting to see how online retailers will perform in 2015. In the meantime, happy holidays!

About the Author -

Pavel Tuchinsky is a marketing analyst and blog editor at SimilarWeb. He came from the world of International Economics, passionate fan of e-commerce and technology.

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