Retailers Win Big on Black Friday, Cyber Monday 2018: The Data Behind a Record-Breaking Cyber Week

By Christie Albano

Early returns from the 2018 holiday shopping season reveal that months of prep work have paid off big time for retailers.

While there was some talk about the lack of crowds at stores on Black Friday, ecommerce saw its best year yet throughout the 2018 Cyber Week that spans the seven days from Thanksgiving Thursday to Cyber Wednesday. Let’s take a look at the data.

Black Friday Sets the Tone for a Record-Breaking Cyber Week

For decades, Black Friday has reigned supreme as the most important shopping day of the year, and 2018 did not disappoint.

In 2018, Black Friday set the tone for a record-breaking Cyber Week, with retailers seeing an average 307% increase in orders on Black Friday compared to a typical day.

Apparel and jewelry retailers, in particular, were the big winners, seeing increases in orders upwards of 400% compared to a typical day. Notably, these increases in orders came despite slight decreases in site traffic compared to Black Friday 2017, indicating successful targeting efforts from these retailers.

Among Black Friday shoppers, nearly one-third did their research first. Across the board, an average 30% of Black Friday shoppers viewed a product that they bought at least once during the two weeks prior.

Cyber Monday Builds on the Black Friday Momentum

If Black Friday set the tone for a record-breaking week for ecommerce, Cyber Monday sealed the deal. In 2018, retailers pulled in 1.3x as many ecommerce purchases on Cyber Monday than they did on Black Friday.

And while there was substantial variation in the total number of orders placed throughout the week, the average order value stayed relatively steady. The same holds true for the number of products per order.

Cyber Week 2018 Proves the Best Yet for Retailers

Talk of a record-breaking Cyber Week isn’t just fluff. Each day in the 2018 Cyber Week saw an increase in ecommerce revenue compared to 2017, with the two biggest increases coming from unexpected places: Saturday and Tuesday — the days immediately after the two blockbusters of the week.

While each day of the week also saw increases in site traffic, these spikes were less pronounced than the increase in revenue. Once again, this finding indicates that retailers were successful at targeting customers to get the right shoppers onsite.

Finally, each day of Cyber Week 2018 saw an increase in the number of customers who placed orders compared to 2017. Altogether, this data suggests that even though retailers had less traffic in 2018 than they did in 2017, they did a better job of converting customers once they landed onsite in 2018 compared to 2017.

Cyber Week is Only the Beginning

With a record-breaking Cyber Week in the books, retailers have a lot to hang their hats on. But data reveals it’s only the beginning.

In 2018, an average of 57% of Cyber Week purchases came from first-time buyers.

And if patterns from 2017 hold steady, we can expect approximately 21% of these first-time buyers to make a second purchase within four months, one-quarter of which will make their second purchase during the holiday season.

Of course, with the right second purchase strategy, perhaps retailers can increase the amount of repeat shoppers compared to 2017 and turn the record-breaking performance of the 2018 Cyber Week into the gift that keeps on giving.

Gearing Up For an Extended Holiday Shopping Season

What can retailers do to prepare for the rest of the holiday shopping lies ahead? Look no further: We’ve got three ways retail marketing teams can use data to win the extended holiday shopping season.

Christie Albano

Christie joined the Data Insights & Strategy team at Bluecore soon after graduating with her Master's in Statistics. As a Data Analyst at Bluecore, Christie analyzes behavioral and transactional data to power data-driven strategy both internally and for enterprise clients.