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Black Friday & Cyber Monday 2021 eCommerce Analysis
Blogs | December 17, 2021
When it came to this holiday season, customers worldwide geared up for the long-awaited deals on all of their favorite products and services. Among the top-selling gift items were clothing and accessories (51%), toys (32%), gift cards (28%), video games (27%), and electronics (24%). And while demand has smoothed out and shoppers have slowly returned to brick and mortar stores, the lingering COVID pandemic has changed how both retailers and consumers approach eCommerce.
Overview of 2021 Cyber Week Sales
During this year’s Cyber Week, shoppers spent a total of $33.9 billion on online purchases. Although this is a 1.4% drop relative to last year, it still marks a 19% increase over the 2019 pre-pandemic numbers. The most successful day out of the week was Cyber Monday, with sales in excess of $10.6 billion. These sales, paired with the $8.9 billion on Black Friday, $5.1 billion made on Thanksgiving Day, and the $4.6 billion made the following Sunday indicates that the number of people flocking to online merchants is still growing.
Amazon, the world’s largest eCommerce platform, had record-breaking Black Friday through Cyber Monday sales this year. With its prices being, on average, 14% less than all major retailers going into the holiday shopping season, Amazon continues to be the leading destination for online consumers. Amid this success, however, it’s essential to factor in the effects of the ongoing pandemic.
Pandemic Impact on eCommerce
The global retail community slowly opened its doors to the public over the past year, and some consumers took this opportunity to return to what we knew as “normal” shopping. Therefore, the 1.4% drop in sales during Cyber Week can be partially attributed to this gradual shift back to brick and mortar stores. However, with eCommerce sales continuing to grow despite these changes, it’s wise to assume that the new “normal” is a continued move to online shopping habits. With eCommerce, consumers can shop from the comfort of their homes and save big with exclusive deals and discounts that can only be found online.
And given the prevalence of online shopping, brands have adjusted their methods to appeal to modern consumer needs. Many retailers decided to jump the gun and kick off their seasonal specials early. With some unveiling their discounted prices as early as mid-October, consumers took advantage of these early bird specials.
As with many of the changes seen this shopping season, this switch was made with the pandemic in mind. According to the National Retail Federation, this tactic helped businesses avoid product shortages amid the supply chain issues caused by COVID disruptions. With issues ranging from mass sellouts of popular items to complications receiving shipments, this pandemic threw the retail industry into a situation no one was prepared for. Back in July of 2021, ‘out-of-stock’ messages on retailers’ websites were up 172% from pre-pandemic levels. Thankfully, now that businesses are more acclimated to these circumstances, heightened measures are being taken to provide consumers with the products they need, when they need them.
New Trend: BPNL Payment Methods
Another positive change in this year’s online sales that’s worth noting is the shift to Buy Now, Pay Later (BNPL). This modern take on the layaway purchasing method has seen immense growth during Cyber week, growing more than 120% YOY. With BNPL, consumers pay off their purchases at their convenience and don’t have to worry about any interest rates sneaking up on them. And given the economic hardships brought on by the pandemic, more shoppers are looking for ways to spend wisely. According to an Adobe report, paying through BNPL was 10% higher in 2021 than 2020 and 45% higher than in 2019.
The Future of eCommerce
Ultimately, the retail industry’s success amidst this unprecedented pandemic has shown the growth potential for eCommerce. Consumers and big-box retailers alike are making the switch to online shopping even while brick and mortar stores steadily regain their footing. To this end, brand management and protection are needed now more than ever to stand apart from competitors. There is plenty of time to prepare for next year’s Cyber Week shopping; get a head start with POTOO.
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