While 2020 proves to be the biggest online holiday shopping season to date, this increase is due to a year-long behavioral shift toward online shopping
Adjusted growth rate to account for 2020 online shopping habits shows decreases in purchase activity this holiday season
December 4, 2020 — Similarweb, a leading provider of digital market intelligence, today released a report on the 2020 Holiday Shopping Season. Driven by COVID-related demand, elevated digital shopping levels throughout 2020 established a new baseline. When considered against this new baseline, Amazon’s 2020 holiday performance to date has lagged behind 2019.
In a normal year, product views increase 135% on Black Friday and purchases rise a staggering 169% vs. the leadup week. In 2020, the leadup week features both elevated product views and purchases (34% and 54% increase), as consumers have shifted their shopping habits to be online, all year. Based on the elevated levels, this requires Similarweb to calculate an adjusted growth rate for 2020, determined by assessing the spike in purchases on Black Friday and Cyber Monday versus the two weeks prior in 2019 and applying the multiplier to our 2020 estimations.
The adjusted growth rate shows Black Friday purchases are actually down 23% and Cyber Monday down 44%, versus +18% and -14% respectively on an unadjusted basis.
“The initial results for Amazon’s Black Friday and Cyber Monday are complicated. In raw terms, purchase volume for Black Friday was up YoY, and Cyber Monday was down. However, if we adjust the numbers to account for the unique shift to digital commerce we’ve experienced in 2020, both days failed to generate the ‘lift’ in purchasing we’ve seen historically from Black Friday and Cyber Monday.” — Greg Malen, VP Solutions at Similarweb
Unlike Prime Day, where the top purchased categories mirrored an “average” shopping day on Amazon, Black Friday and Cyber Monday introduce a heightened demand for Toys & Games.
Consumers shopping for their kids propelled the category into the top five (excluding Grocery & Foods), with a 7% growth rate on Black Friday YoY; however, the growth rate was not sustained on Cyber Monday.
A persistent theme throughout the pandemic is the propensity of consumers to shop for their homes. Tools & Home Improvement and Patio, Lawn, and Garden are two categories that have grown significantly throughout 2020. Both categories featured double-digit growth on Black Friday and Cyber Monday.
At first glance, it might be a bit surprising to see a decrease within the Video Games category, given the launch of the Xbox Series X and the PlayStation 5. High demand and low inventory led to an increase in product views throughout the holiday, but a decrease in purchases, as Amazon (and others) struggle to keep the consoles in stock.
The power of the homepage is highlighted in the fact that Amazon-branded products control five of the top ten slots on Black Friday and eight on Cyber Monday. This trend is consistent with October’s Prime Day when Amazon-branded products controlled eight of the top ten and half of the top fifty products.
One major distinction between the two events is purchase volume — overlapping ASINs were purchased 2-4x more frequently on Prime Day than on Black Friday and Cyber Monday. This highlights that consumers felt more comfortable buying their Amazon-branded devices on Prime Day, and potentially that Black Friday and Cyber Monday are a better showcase for more long-tail items in the Amazon Marketplace.
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