The story of Black Friday goes all the way back to 1950, but the concept has changed several times since then. Today, the one-day sales bonanza has morphed into a four-day event, and even a full week event, and spawned other “retail holidays” such as Singles Day and Cyber Monday. As a result, it is not unusual that stores, both physical and digital, start their sales already at the beginning of November and continue more or less with discounts all the way until Christmas.
Switch in consumer behavior
However, as consumers have become more environmentally conscious in recent years, many businesses have decided to boycott shopping hysteria.
According to Johan Sommar, Avensia’s Chief Strategist, there has been a switch during recent years:
“Until recently, companies could piggyback on the whole Black Friday thing and increase sales. But now need a rather aggressive other to attract existing and new customers. It is not enough to present an OK offer or discount, and I think it will automatically generate high sales and traffic numbers. This also makes the whole question about Black Friday sales more important for most companies to decide on – all in or not at all“, he concludes.
Black Friday Trends in 2021
Today, many companies have an excellent grip on approaching the Black Friday season. They know that their customers have a quite good understanding of regular prices vs. discounts. If a company accidentally (or for purpose) publishes a “dishonest” offer, consumers do not hesitate to tell the world through social media. Transparent and open customer communication is the key to success any time of the year, but even more important during the Black Friday season.
Another trend we’ve seen from recent years is that consumers expect good shopping experiences to a higher degree than before, rather than just discounts. A few years ago, it was not uncommon that e-commerce platforms would crash when consumers rushed to the site. This alone was a special experience and not something that really harmed the company but rather intensified the Black Friday shopping experience.
But today, there are close to no incidents as platforms perform better, and up-time is usually 100%. Consumers are used to a flawless and fast buying journey and no longer accept delays or hiccups. Thanks to more solid systems, e-commerce businesses can avoid the “high-alert mode,” and employees can still focus on day-to-day tasks during the Black Friday sales period.
Access the Black Friday E-Commerce Performance Report
Black Friday Performance 2021
On the whole, the sales associated with Black Friday and Cyber Week were more spread out in 2021, starting earlier and with smaller discounts. Nevertheless, E-commerce still accounted for a large proportion of sales due to the ease of finding and comparing deals and avoiding crowds. However, according to Adobe Analytics, both Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales figures were lower than in 2020. This trend is reflected in the analysis of Avensia’s customers, where the majority of the customers in this report showed lower figures in 2021 than in 2020.
In our report, we grouped our customers into four segments;
- Beauty & Cosmetics
- Sports & Outdoor
- Fashion & Design
- Consumer Goods / Other
The report includes data from customers in various stages of e-commerce site maturity, both those who are long-lasting Avensia customers and those who have launched a new site with Avensia during the past year. We’ve also included customers where Avensia solely acts as a strategic advisory partner. Furthermore, the report focuses on retail customers within B2C and D2C, where the Black Friday concept is mainly used.
In the Beauty and Cosmetics segment, it appears that there was something of a shift back to in-store beauty shopping. As a result, total users on the website were more or less the same during the black Friday month (November) compared to last year’s same period. However, the average months to November regarding web traffic increased by approximately 70%.
Sports and Outdoor retailers fared well during the Black Friday period. Avensia’s customers’ average numbers show no remarkable change in traffic and other KPI’s for November compared to average months or compared to 2020. However, returning visits increased most within this segment in November 2021. Sports and outdoor equipment is one of the top three categories where social media greatly influences sales, not least for Millennial shoppers.
We saw an astonishing traffic loss within the Fashion & Design segment compared to last year’s Black Friday period, approximately 63%! Another trend became clear within this segment, fashion orders placed through buy-now, pay-later(BNPL) were up 35% year-on-year.
Globally, in the Consumer Goods / Other segment, Customers faced more potential for disappointment in this category due to supply chain problems. There was also a divide between big-name retailers and small independents, with many of the latter choosing to boycott Black Friday. As a result, the conversion rate actually decreased during the Black Friday period compared to average months for our customers in this segment.
Get all the KPI results from each segment and global stats in our report!