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Looming Shipping Cutoffs Lead to Holiday-Weekend Discounting

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Looming Shipping Cutoffs Lead to Holiday-Weekend Discounting

While discounting is the name of the game during the annual Black Friday – Cyber Monday weekend, data suggests retailers and brands have ramped it up this year due to anticipated shipping cutoff dates and delivery hassles, according to Salesforce.

Retailers and brands in the US offered the heaviest discounts of the week on Saturday, increasing their discounts at a 60% higher rate year-over-year than those in other parts of the world, according to a bulletin Monday morning.

Rob Garf, Vice President of Strategy and Insights at Salesforce, said
with anticipated shipping cutoff dates looming soon after Cyber Week, online demand is expected to stay at peak levels this Cyber Monday as consumers search for final deals and avoid late deliveries.

“Consumer behavior during Cyber Week mirrors much of what the industry experienced throughout the pandemic,” he said. “Shoppers embraced digital and store pickup for health, safety, and convenience – creating a new baseline for online traffic and sales that will remain well after the pandemic.”

Salesforce said the 12% growth in US digital traffic on Thanksgiving was lower than expected, but things picked up the next day. Website traffic to retailers and brands globally grew 17% on Friday and 28% on Saturday YoY, while the US saw 22% growth on Friday and 28% growth on Saturday, year-over-year.

Salesforce combined data and holiday insights on the activity of over one billion global shoppers across more than 40 countries powered by Commerce Cloud, as well as billions of consumer engagements and millions of public social media conversations through Marketing Cloud, and customer service data powered by Service Cloud.

Some additional findings released Monday morning follow:

  • Growth in digital traffic driven by influx of new digital shoppers on Black Friday: With fewer people going to stores — and remaining in the comfort and safety of their homes — shoppers turned to their phones and desktops on Black Friday. 22% growth in unique digital shoppers globally contributed to significant traffic — and sales — growth on Black Friday. This comes on the heels of a 40% increase in unique shoppers in the first half of the year. Mobile comprised 71% of traffic and 56% of orders, while desktop saw 26% of traffic and 41% of orders YoY globally on Black Friday. Despite economic and health uncertainty abound, average order value (AOV) on Black Friday remained essentially flat from last year across all devices — $105 AOV globally and $106 AOV in the U.S.
  • People bought more essentials online: The top three categories for digital sales growth globally on Black Friday were Food and Beverage (+112%), Home (+70%) and Electronics (+68%). The acceleration of people buying essential products online — i.e. groceries, spirits and snacks — translated to massive growth on Black Friday. For historical perspective, Food and Beverage grew a mere 15% YoY in 2019.
  • Consumers dramatically increased time shopping online: Consumers globally spent an astounding 116.6M hours shopping online on Black Friday, representing a 20% growth YoY. This equates to every person with internet access shopping for an average of 1.5 minutes online (assuming 4.3B people globally with internet access). The combination of new people embracing online shopping since the onset of the pandemic, along with people spending more time on retailer and brand websites, contributed to this growth.
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Ina Steiner
Ina Steiner
Ina Steiner is co-founder and Editor of EcommerceBytes and has been reporting on ecommerce since 1999. She's a widely cited authority on marketplace selling and is author of "Turn eBay Data Into Dollars" (McGraw-Hill 2006). Her blog was featured in the book, "Blogging Heroes" (Wiley 2008). Follow her on Twitter at @ecommercebytes and send news tips to ina@ecommercebytes.com. See disclosure at EcommerceBytes.com/disclosure/.