After reaching record numbers last year, traffic to eCommerce websites declined 10% YoY, coinciding with a 1.4% decrease in spending between Thanksgiving (Nov. 25) and Cyber Monday (Nov. 29), the five-day period known as Cyber 5. Using Similarweb eCommerce solution, Shopper Intelligence, Mackenzie Cahill, our Director of Retail & CPG gives her take on the top trends of the biggest eCommerce shopping days of the year.
1. Brick and mortar slowly comes back
With the majority of Americans vaccinated, consumers felt safer shopping in-stores — foot traffic increased nearly 48% YoY Black Friday. At $8.9 billion, sales for online retailers were down from a record $9 billion.
Increased in-store shopping particularly benefited hybrid retail giants, those that sell goods online and in-store. For instance, Target’s online sales flattened, but visits to its store locator page grew a whopping 268%.
While certainly up from 2020, foot traffic remained 28.3% below 2019 levels indicating that onsite retailers still have much legwork for a full comeback.
2. Consumers satiate their senses in-store
Shoppers returned to their senses – literally – in stores. Sales volume of beauty products declined 1% on amazon.com on Black Friday as consumers returned to stores to see, sniff, and swatch cosmetics and skincare. Traffic to digital furniture retailers dipped a more dramatic 36%, as consumers tested the comfort of couches, mattresses, and other home goods in-store as well. Top retailers like wayfair.com and overstock.com saw traffic drop 27% and 43%.
These numbers indicate early Black Friday deals were not enough to pull the same level of consumers as last year and that more innovative Cyber 5 strategies may be needed next year.
3. Timing takes a back seat
Despite lagging Cyber 5 numbers, eCommerce sites performed strongly in November, reflecting retailers’ success in pushing holiday shopping earlier, such as Black Friday sales in October. This year, Americans spent nearly $110 billion Nov. 1 through Cyber Monday, a 12% increase.
On Black Friday, 7% of all transactions occurred by 3:00 am, similar timing to the 17-day lead up, showing shoppers weren’t prompted to change their wake up to snag the best deals.
4. Supply chain fears soar
The global supply chain crisis strongly influenced shopping patterns, including:
- More in-store shopping to avoid shipping delays
- Fewer offers and discounts due to widespread unavailability of popular items
- Declines in revenue for key categories due to shortages. For instance, with sell-outs on popular items like gaming laptops and chipsets, consumer electronics revenue declined by 20%.
5. Artificial inflation abounds
Inflation recently reached its highest levels since the 1990s, propelling revenue gains to exceed unit sales for key Amazon categories.
For example, Amazon Beauty revenue increased 15% YoY on Thanksgiving and 4% YoY on Black Friday, whereas sales volume grew just 8% and then declined 1%.
Large brands, however, appeared to artificially inflate their prices prior to the shopping event. Prices for Amazon’s 46 top-selling beauty products were 28% higher during the 17 days prior to Black Friday than August-October this year.
As Cyber 5 approached, beauty bigwig Revlon revved up prices for its bestselling One-Step Hair Dryer Brush. The handy hair tool rang up at $22.00, a serious 63% discount for the shopping holiday.
Listed at $59.99, the original price was 45% more than the August-October average price of $41.50, a 45% difference. Also, different styles of the product are discounted at different rates, contributing to consumer confusion regarding the real, accurate price.
6. Consumers crave and convert
Consumers spent less time browsing, signaling stronger purchase intent for key categories including:
Toys & Games
Product views for Amazon’s Toys & Game category tanked 25%, yet, unit sales were up 10%, bringing in 11% more revenue. As shoppers rang up their wishlists, conversion rates jumped over a percent YoY to 4.7%, and increased nearly a percent over the lead-up period.
Though page views for Amazon’s Apparel category declined, Black Friday conversion rates grew to 6.3% from 4.9%. Days later, Cyber Monday conversions reached 6.2%, up from last year’s 5.4%
7. Amazon still earns A+ Cyber 5 performance
Despite increased in-store shopping, digital retail king Amazon remained a Cyber 5 winner. Daily average sales over the five days jumped 63% vs. the 17-day lead-up, 13 percentage points (ppts) higher than 2020. Likewise, revenue increased 85%, up 17 ppts YoY.
Amazon shoppers visiting other retailer sites slightly ticked down. However, top rival Walmart’s eCommerce shoppers more likely shopped at Amazon; target.com shoppers remained flat.
Downloads of Amazon’s app also exceeded that of Walmart, Target, and other competitors Black Friday week. On Nov. 24, there were more than 136,000 downloads from the Google Play Store— a 26% increase from the previous day—which surpassed Walmart’s 110,000. Amazon has stayed in the lead for daily app downloads into December.
8. Apparel skewed active
Although conversion rates rose, Amazon apparel shoppers still hunted for deals across websites — 37% also visited Target and 42% checked out Walmart.
Websites specializing in athletic gear performed well in particular, reflecting consumer desires to get back in shape post lockdown. Traffic to lululemon.com, for example, ramped up 346% on Black Friday, the third most of any D2C brand’s website. On Cyber Monday, traffic to reebok.com grew 224%, the most growth for any apparel domain. Under Armour and Adidas followed with 187% and 171% gains respectively.
How’s that for a winning performance?
How we did it
To pull our insights, we used Similarweb Shopper Intelligence, which provides insights on consumer and purchase behavior for digital top dogs including Amazon and online marketplaces such as Walmart, Chewy, and Best Buy.
To get your own insights for the new year, schedule a demo today.
Insights and blog co-authored by Mackenzie Cahill, Director of Retail and CPG.
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