Cyber 5 Recap - 2020

While holiday shopping is still in full swing at the time of this writing, we do have some preliminary numbers for the Cyber 5 2020 (Thanksgiving Thursday–Cyber Monday) and an early look at how Holiday 2020 as a whole is shaping up.  Here are five key observations, so far, for Holiday 2020.  

  1. We’re breaking every ecommerce record and it’s not even close.  No surprise here, but this year marks a record for online sales for Thanksgiving, Black Friday, Cyber Monday and the entire Thanksgiving weekend. Adobe Analytics was predicting two years’ worth of growth being packed into this Holiday Shopping season.  So far, we’re on track.     
  2. It’s less about a single day, and more about the weekend.  This has been the trend for the last few years where retailers and shoppers alike view the Cyber 5 as one big event rather than just the individual days of Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Cyber Monday is still the largest single day, with Black Friday coming in second place.  However, Saturday, now dubbed Small Business Saturday, isn’t far behind. In fact, Thanksgiving this year was only 8% larger in total sales than Small Business Saturday.  Here’s a quick look at how the Cyber 5 performed.  A lot of this growth has come at the expense of in-store shopping.  CNBC estimates that Black Friday in-store traffic was down 52% year over year, while curbside pickup is up 52%.

  1. Shipaggedon is real.  I first heard this term on one of my favorite podcasts—the Jason and Scot Show (Episode 245). Basically, it’s the idea that delivery networks were already strained due to the pandemic-induced boom in online shopping before the holiday rush.  Now, with a record-breaking holiday season on top of a strained system, something has to give.  It’s no joke, and it will be interesting to see how it impacts the rest of holiday shopping.  Both UPS and Fedex have recently announced they are cutting some retailers off from being able to ship more packages. This will likely mean early cut offs for guaranteed delivery before Christmas.  It could also mean a lot of packages just won’t make it in time for Christmas morning.   
  2. Costs are up, but performance is up more.  As a digital advertising agency working with some up-and-coming ecommerce brands, we get an inside look into both ad spend and performance across Google Ads, YouTube Ads and Amazon Ads.  While numbers aren’t finalized yet, we are seeing that costs have indeed gone up from last year, but conversion rates have gone up even more creating really nice year-over-year growth in total sales and total ad performance.  Early analysis shows that CPCs are up nearly 20% year-over-year, but conversion rates are up over 50%.   
  3. Predictions for the remainder of the holiday shopping season.  With more cities across the US seeing surges in new cases of COVID-19, it’s unlikely to see a material shift from online shopping back to in-store shopping.  We should see this record breaking pace continue for the rest of the holiday season.  The wildcard is shipeggedon.  My prediction is that we’ll see a fair number of digital gift cards purchased and printed off, as well as pictures of gifts that are in transit, but won’t be under the Christmas tree.  Online shopping likely won’t slow down too much. Fingers crossed that shipiggedon won’t be as bad as we’re expecting.  

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