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Black Friday Index 2018: What were the key trends?

Author's avatar By Expert commentator 30 Nov, 2018
Essential Essential topic

Black Friday saw a 41% uplift in sessions over the Black Friday weekend period and 59% more conversions

With another Black Friday and Cyber Weekend done and dusted, we’ve crunched the numbers to uncover how retailers performed and the key trends for 2018.

This year once again saw record online sales, with Adobe announcing that US consumers spent $7.9bn online on Cyber Monday alone.

Across Croud’s global retail clients, the numbers matched up to this trend, with an average 141% year-on-year uplift in online revenue. In line with this, there was also a 41% uplift in sessions over the Black Friday weekend period and 59% more conversions.

Conversely, average order value (AOV) increased by only 0.5% on average, suggesting that more customers are taking advantage of Black Friday and Cyber Weekend promotions.

Cost-per-clicks down on 2017

Across Croud’s retail clients, shopping costs-per-click unsurprisingly increased week on week over the Black Friday weekend, but, when compared with 2017, costs were actually down 30% for shopping ad clicks.

The impact of discounts

Discounts and offers over the Black Friday and Cyber Monday period varied from simply offering free delivery to discounts in excess of 50%.

Those retailers offering heftier discounts predictably saw a considerably higher uptick in both sessions and revenue, but AOV was generally lower for those retail brands offering higher discounts. This means retailers need to carefully weigh up the benefits of driving short-term sales with the potential risks of attracting low-value customers.

Cyber week

The traditional cut-off point at midnight on Cyber Monday is gradually disappearing, with many offers running for the full week and beyond. Amazon’s ‘Cyber Monday’ sale, for instance, ran from Monday 26th to Friday 30th November.

Having said that, Black Friday still drove the lion’s share of online revenue across Croud’s retail clients - continuing 2017’s trend. In the US, however, Cyber Monday claimed a bigger chunk of sales, as shoppers begin to return to work after the extended weekend.

What worked well?

From a digital marketing perspective, several key trends emerged across Croud’s retail clients over the period. These included:

  • ‘Early access’ messaging was more prevalent within remarketing and current customer segments across paid social.
  • Countdown ads were the top-performing creative on paid search for many retailers, building anticipation for Black Friday.
  • Smart Shopping campaigns were the top-performers across paid search for the majority of retailers.
  • Merchant promotions were widely used to promote discounts, free delivery, and more.

Check out Croud's full infographic below.

Croud Black Friday Index 2018

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