Digital Marketing December 9, 2019
The Numbers Are in! Black Friday & Cyber Monday
- Traffic to the top 100 shopping sites increased by 137% on Black Friday and 112% on Cyber Monday.
- Conversion rates among all big-box retailers improved, with amazon.com peaking at 12.5% during Cyber Monday.
- Year-over-year shopping category traffic was stable, though some sites, namely kohls.com and costco.com, saw dramatic gains.
在线视频The following analysis is based on traffic and trends relating to the top 100 shopping sites, specifically focusing on apparel, general merchandise (marketplaces), and consumer electronics, for the timeframe of November to December 2019.
Traffic Gains – 2019 Shopping Season
As a whole, the top 100 shopping sites saw an average of 147.3M daily visits during August-October, and traffic increased by 22% during the month of November, fueled in part by Black Friday – when traffic jumped to 349M (+137%). Cyber Monday, the second day of December, brought these sites 312.3M visits, an increase of 112% over the baseline.
在线视频While most of the dramatic shifts in traffic occurred among smaller (relatively speaking) retailers, such as ugg.com with a 909% increase in traffic, and hollisterco.com, with a 539% gain, we did see some big-box retailers gain traffic as well. For example, bestbuy.com had the second-highest relative increase in traffic, increasing its baseline traffic by almost 600%. The top consumer electronics retailer reached 20M visits on Black Friday alone. Kohls.com also saw a dramatic increase of 507%, reaching 12M visits on Black Friday.
在线视频This year we again had the opportunity to examine not just traffic trends, but also daily traffic conversions. As expected, conversion rates soared throughout the shopping holiday. Amazon.com, with the highest overall conversion rate (8.7% in the 6 weeks before Black Friday), saw its conversion rate rise by 2.8 points on Black Friday, and an additional close-to-one point on Cyber Monday.
在线视频Another interesting point to note, while the weekend between Black Friday and Cyber Monday isn’t traditionally considered a shopping weekend, we did see improved conversion rates for some of the sites (walmart.com, target.com, and bestbuy.com) indicating they were successful at bringing in more ripe consumers.
在线视频Reviewing the traffic to these sites on Black Friday and Cyber Monday in 2019 compared to 2018, we found no significant increase on the group level. That said, a few sites did see some shifts – these are mostly “smaller” (relatively speaking) sites: vans.com, stockx.com, and torrid.com; each saw around a 50% increase in seasonal traffic. Moreover, marshalls.com launched an e-commerce platform in September, helping it gain an expected 284% increase in Black Friday traffic. However, the biggest absolute lift in traffic this year went to kohls.com – which gained 2.7M additional visits this year, a 28.7% increase over last year, and costco.com, which saw an additional 1.1M visits this year, 18.5% ahead of last year.
Marketplace Category Trends
在线视频The marketplace category is by far the biggest group of sites, with 65.6% of traffic, and is – mostly fueled by amazon.com – responsible for nearly 50% of the traffic to the sub-category.
在线视频While amazon.com clearly dominates the sector, we do find that it consistently loses traffic share during general shopping holidays: moving from 49.5% of the sub-category’s traffic in August-October to just 45% on Black Friday and Cyber Monday. This happens as, during peak sales, consumers are more eager to search for deals, rather than stick to their go-to favorite.
Sites that gain from amazon.com’s decreased share include mostly walmart.com, taget.com, and kohls.com – each gaining at least 3 points of traffic share on Black Friday over the baseline. However, looking at traffic share year-over-year displays that the most dramatic winners are kohls.com and costco.com that increased their relative share of traffic by 1 point and 0.5 points, compared to last year.
How Do They Do It? Kohls’ and Costco’s Strategy Breakdown
We’ve established that kohls.com and costco.com saw some of the most significant traffic gains, not only in the 2019 season but also compared to last year. To get a better sense of how they did this, we take a look at their traffic channels, both on the baseline, and during the month of November in 2019 and in 2018.
As seen above, kohls.com continues to double down on display and paid search – increasing by 11.5 points over the baseline this year and by 5.7 points over last year, indicating that their paid tactics from last year must have been effective, if they chose to replicate, and broaden them.
On the other hand, costco.com opts for a more diverse strategy. Instead of putting all of its acquisition eggs in one basket, they increased their share of affiliate traffic (+1.2 pts), email traffic (+1.1 pts), display ads (+1.0 pts) and social (+0.5 pts). The channel with the most dramatic YoY increase in share is email, up 1.9 points over last year’s shopping month, likely indicating a replicated successful tactic from last year.
The five-day shopping period between Thanksgiving Day and Cyber Monday fared well as the kickoff to the 2019 shopping season, considering top shopping sites saw dramatic increases in terms of both traffic and conversions. Some retailers did far better than others – namely kohls.com and costco.com, with dramatic year-over-year gains, as they continue to utilize the marketing tactics that were proven successful last year. We will continue to track the leading online shopping sites throughout the season, to uncover their ongoing strategy into the 2019 holidays.
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