Ecommerce Research / Holiday Ideas & Strategies

Cyber Week 2019 Trends Report: Off-Day Sales Grow, Black Friday Dominates, and Mobile Purchases Continue to Rise

Corinne Watson / 12 min read

Cyber Week 2019 Trends Report: Off-Day Sales Grow, Black Friday Dominates, and Mobile Purchases Continue to Rise

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Another Cyber Week is in the books. Black Friday and Cyber Monday —  the two largest online selling days of the year — are officially over.

Retailers and ecommerce staff around the globe are breathing a sigh of relief, and checking out their revenue from the past few days. They’re looking at this years’ Black Friday and Cyber Monday marketing campaigns to see which performed well, and how that might inform what they do for 2020.

Before we dive in to the data and trends, it’s important to point out that BigCommerce reports on Cyber Week gross merchandise value (GMV), average order value (AOV), and sales differently than other sites.

Same Store Sales Reporting & Why It Matters

While you can find all-up industry data and stats on a variety of media sites, we focus on reporting same-store sales year-over-year and breaking those down by verticals so you can benchmark your success.

All information shared in this report includes only data from stores that were online and selling on BigCommerce over Cyber Week 2018 so that we can look at year-over-year trends. This removes any stores added to the BigCommerce platform over the course of 2019.

Our goal is to provide an accurate view of the aggregate success of existing retailers during Cyber Week 2019 as compared to Cyber Week 2018 — to see what grew and what didn’t grow by industry and vertical.

Here are some top level findings.

Cyber Week 2019 Trends

  • Thanksgiving and the Sunday prior to Cyber Monday both saw the highest YoY GMV increase at 26%. GMV increase from Thanksgiving 2017 to Thanksgiving 2018 was 14%, and Sunday in those same years saw an 8% increase.
  • Cyber Monday doubled in YoY GMV increase from 6.3% to 13%, and had the highest AOV at $122.20. Cyber Monday growth paled in comparison to Black Friday: YoY GMV increased from 16% to 23%, average order size rose from $109.60 to $119.60, and had the largest volume of orders with 313k.
  • Mobile orders (including tablet) came in at 49% of total orders — and they were the primary revenue source every day of Cyber Week except for Cyber Monday, on which mobile GMV dropped to 41.6%. Most people were back to work on Monday after Thanksgiving, and they were likely close to desktop computers for easy shopping. Given the high volume of sales on Cyber Monday, this significantly lowered the Cyber Week mobile GMV percentage overall.
  • Webstores continue to have the highest AOV of all sales channels, followed by Facebook, though Facebook’s AOV is significantly lower than branded websites. Amazon’s AOV is almost double that of eBay. Fashion & Jewelry brands saw a drop in traffic from Facebook, from 70% of GMV coming from the channel in 2018 down to 49% in 2019. Home & Garden took 16% and all others fell below 3%.

While those stats may help to inform your planning in 2020, benchmarking yourself against the industry and your specific vertical is one of the best ways to understand your success and brainstorm your tactics for next year.

Below you’ll find aggregated data across tens of thousands of online brands that shows:

  • Year-over-year same-store sales and orders data
  • Year-over-year device breakdown (desktop v. mobile and iOS v. Android)
  • Average order value by vertical

And you’ll get all of this information broken out in aggregate across Cyber Week and in individual days, including:

You’ll also hear from a few of this year’s most successful brands on which channels worked and what they did to grow their Cyber 5 sales.

Most Successful Cyber Week 2019 Tactics

  • Selling on or through Facebook & Instagram.
  • Email marketing, specifically prior to Thanksgiving.
  • Selling on Amazon.
  • Content and commerce integration and strategies.
  • Site UX & Checkout Optimization.
  • Inventory Preparation.
  • Influencer Marketing & Social Media Engagement.

Without further ado, let’s take a long, hard look at what 2019’s Cyber Week had in store for online sellers.

Cyber Week Revenue & AOV Show Solid 2019 Increases

All up, same-store sales across all verticals increased over Cyber Week 2019 in comparison to Cyber Week 2018 — by about 21%. Thanksgiving and Super Sunday saw the biggest percentage point increases at 26%. Average Order Value, or AOV, also saw a nearly 10% increase YoY.

It’s also worth pointing out that the Wednesday prior to Thanksgiving saw a significant YoY GMV increase at 20% (compared to previous Wednesdays in November at 11.6% and 4.4% increase respectively), and the Tuesday prior saw the month’s highest AOV at $97.10.

Given the late holiday this year, this is not entirely surprising. It suggests that consumers want as much time as possible to get holiday purchases out of the way and, as a result, retailers are promoting pre-Cyber Week sales through email and social media marketing targeting existing customers and brand enthusiasts.

Here is how it broke down:

Cyber Week 2019 GMV Increase YoY

Thanksgiving and Super Sunday saw a 26% lift in GMV

  • Thanksgiving: +26%
  • Black Friday: +23%
  • Small Business Saturday: +25%
  • Super Sunday: +26%
  • Cyber Monday: +13%
  • Cyber Week: +21%

Cyber Week 2019 AOV Increase YoY

  • Thanksgiving: +7.7%
  • Black Friday: +9.1%
  • Small Business Saturday: +7.4%
  • Super Sunday: +5.5%
  • Cyber Monday: +7%
  • Cyber Week: +9.9%

Cyber Week Mobile Sales Generated 42% of Total Revenue

Mobile orders all up (including tablet) came in at 49% of total orders — and were the primary revenue order source through the week except for Cyber Monday, on which mobile GMV dropped to 41% and desktop drove 54% of revenue.

Desktop continues to have higher AOV, followed by tablets and then mobile devices. In some verticals, tablets have higher AOV than their desktop counterparts, though much lower percentage of GMV all up.

Here is how it broke down:

Cyber Week 2019 GMV by Order Source

  • Desktop: 48%
  • Mobile: 45%
  • Tablet: 4%

Cyber Week 2019 AOV by Order Source:

  • Desktop: $126.74
  • Mobile: $96.57
  • Tablet: $107.97

Cyber Week 2019 AOV by Device:

  • iPhone: $98.33
  • Android: $93.13

Webstores Drive the Highest AOV of all Sales Channels

Webstores continue to have the highest AOV of sales channels, followed by Facebook.

Fashion & Jewelry brands experience the biggest revenue lifts through the Facebook channel, at 49% of total GMV driven through that vertical. Automotive took 28%, Home & Garden took 16% and all others fell below 2%.

On Amazon and eBay, vertical revenue is more evenly distributed. You can, however, see key differences in the verticals that do well on each marketplace. On Amazon, Fashion & Jewelry and Home & Garden are the primary successful sales verticals. On eBay, Toys & Games and Automotive are the primary successful sales verticals.

Here is how it broke down:

Cyber Week 2019 Sales Channel AOV 

  • Amazon: $64.14
  • Facebook: $72.03
  • eBay: $34.84
  • Webstore: $111.91
  • Buy Buttons: $68.01

Percent of GMV by Vertical on Facebook: 

  • Fashion & Jewelry: 49%
  • Home & Garden: 16%
  • Automotive: 28%
  • Sports & Outdoors: 2%
  • Toys & Games: 2%
  • Health & Beauty: 2%
  • Food & Beverage: 1%

Percent of GMV by Vertical on Amazon: 

  • Fashion & Jewelry: 18%
  • Home & Garden: 17%
  • Toys & Games: 6%
  • Sports & Outdoors: 34%
  • Health & Beauty: 6%
  • Automotive: 11%
  • Food & Beverage: 6%

Percent of GMV by Vertical on eBay: 

  • Toys & Games: 11%
  • Automotive: 0%
  • Home & Garden: 26%
  • Sports & Outdoors: 9%
  • Fashion & Jewelry: 4%
  • Health & Beauty: 49%

Vertical Specific Trends: AOV, Conversion Rate, Order Source, and More

The Automotive and Fashion & Jewelry verticals saw the highest YoY GMV increases.

The Automotive and Home & Garden verticals saw the highest increase in AOV — while the Food & Beverage vertical saw a slight drop in AOV on several days during Cyber Week.

The rise in Automotive and Home & Garden AOV may suggest consumers are becoming increasingly comfortable with making purchases of high cost and oversized goods online, due to advances in fulfillment like BOPIS, hassle-free returns policies, and innovative packaging solutions.

The decrease in Food & Beverage signals a rise in offline sales for that vertical, especially as brick-and-mortar stores create more experience- and convenience-driven shopping experiences.

Here is how each vertical broke down.

The Automotive Vertical

Automotive vertical GMV rose 63% Cyber Week 2019

Same-store automotive brands on BigCommerce earned 63% more in GMV YoY.

Automotive Cyber Week 2019 YoY GMV

  • Thanksgiving: +66%
  • Black Friday: +66%
  • Saturday: +73%
  • Sunday: +68%
  • Cyber Monday: +51%

Automotive Cyber Week 2019 Average Order Value

  • Thanksgiving: $252.05 (+10.6%)
  • Black Friday: $273.82 (+8.5%)
  • Saturday: $241.68 (+9.03%)
  • Sunday: $222.62 (+13.7%)
  • Cyber Monday: $267.95 (+7.3%)

Automotive Percent of Orders by Source

  • Desktop: 43%
  • Mobile: 51%
  • Tablet: 4%

Automotive AOV Orders by Source

  • Desktop: $265
  • Mobile: $233
  • Tablet: $247

Automotive average Cyber Week conversion rate

2.6%

Automotive Brand Highlight

We caught up with Enjuku Racing owner Ken Harrison to hear more about this automotive brand’s Cyber Week experience.

What channels were the most effective in driving sales this year? 

We sell on BigCommerce, Amazon, and eBay. BigCommerce is by far our biggest revenue source. The Google Ad campaigns we have in place were a very big factor to customers landing on our store. We have a very strong social media following and effectively use Facebook and Instagram ads as well.

Did your brand do anything different to prepare for Cyber Week this year than last? 

We tried to think outside the box this year and created a cash giveaway promo that seemed to be a big boost for us.

Were there any shopping trends you saw this year that were different than previous Cyber Weeks?

We did notice a slightly lower average order value, which we are still trying to evaluate and find out why that was.

What is your plan for the rest of the year? 

We will continue to work with our distributors to offer discounts on miscellaneous brands and using our marketing channels to drive sales. We plan to increase our customer experience to make it even easier to use our store.

The Fashion & Jewelry Vertical

Cyber Week 2019: Over half of Fashion & Jewelry orders purchased via mobile devices.

Same-store fashion & jewelry brands on BigCommerce earned 17.15% more in GMV.

Fashion & Jewelry GMV

  • Thanksgiving: +19%
  • Black Friday: +8%
  • Saturday: +30%
  • Sunday: +35%
  • Cyber Monday: +9%

Fashion & Jewelry AOV

  • Thanksgiving: $90.35 (+5% YoY)
  • Black Friday: $85.68 (Flat YoY)
  • Saturday: $85.32 (+4% YoY)
  • Sunday: $86.70 (+5% YoY)
  • Cyber Monday: $88.47 (+8% YoY)

Fashion & Jewelry Percent of Orders by Source

  • Desktop: 40%
  • Mobile: 55%
  • Tablet: 4%

Fashion & Jewelry AOV Orders by Source

  • Desktop: $96.89
  • Mobile: $76.54
  • Tablet: $93.34

Fashion & Jewelry average conversion rate

4.8%

The Food & Beverage Vertical

Cyber Week 2019: GMV up on Thanksgiving for Food and Beverage vertical

Same-store food & beverage brands were the only vertical to actually decrease GMV YoY on a particular holiday — Cyber Monday. While Thanksgiving through Sunday saw an increase in GMV, Cyber Monday decreased 12%. Averaged across all days of Cyber 5, the Food & Beverage vertical earned around 0.5% less in GMV YoY.

Food & Beverage GMV

  • Thanksgiving: +14%
  • Black Friday: +3%
  • Saturday: +4%
  • Sunday: +3%
  • Cyber Monday: -12%

Food & Beverage AOV

  • Thanksgiving: $90.43 (-5% YoY)
  • Black Friday: $95.23 (+6% YoY)
  • Saturday: $88.12 (+5% YoY)
  • Sunday: $88.61 (+0.6% YoY)
  • Cyber Monday: $99.75 (-5% YoY)

Food & Beverage Percent of Orders by Source

  • Desktop: 50%
  • Mobile: 40%
  • Tablet: 4%

Food & Beverage AOV Orders by Source

  • Desktop: $108.13
  • Mobile: $79.15
  • Tablet: $94.22

Food & Beverage average conversion rate

6%

The Health & Beauty Vertical

Same-store health & beauty brands on BigCommerce earned 14% more in GMV.

Health & Beauty GMV

  • Thanksgiving: +8%
  • Black Friday: +21%
  • Saturday: +15%
  • Sunday: +17%
  • Cyber Monday: +6%

Health & Beauty AOV

  • Thanksgiving: $89.08 (+13% YoY)
  • Black Friday: $85.98 (+5% YoY)
  • Saturday: $81.25 (+1% YoY)
  • Sunday: $81.46 (+3% YoY)
  • Cyber Monday: $91.93 (+1% YoY)

Health & Beauty Percent of Orders by Source

  • Desktop: 43%
  • Mobile: 51%
  • Tablet: 3%

Health & Beauty AOV Orders by Source

  • Desktop: $94.84
  • Mobile: $74.22
  • Tablet: $86.62

Health & Beauty average conversion rate

7.4%

The Home & Garden Vertical

Black Friday 2019: Home & Garden vertical saw 11% increase in AOV

Same-store home & garden brands on BigCommerce earned 15.6% more in GMV.

Home & Garden GMV

  • Thanksgiving: +17%
  • Black Friday: +25%
  • Saturday: +14%
  • Sunday: +16%
  • Cyber Monday: +8%

Home & Garden AOV

  • Thanksgiving: $114.29 (+5% YoY)
  • Black Friday: $129.01 (+11% YoY)
  • Saturday: $105.63 (+4% YoY)
  • Sunday: $90.78 (-3% YoY)
  • Cyber Monday: $120.93 (+5% YoY)

Home & Garden % Orders by Source

  • Desktop: 50%
  • Mobile: 41%
  • Tablet: 5%

Home & Garden AOV Orders by Source

  • Desktop: $128.92
  • Mobile: $89.75
  • Tablet: $107.49

Home & Garden average conversion rate

4.1%

Home & Garden Brand Highlight

Solo Stove homepage

We caught up with Solo Stove CEO John Merris to get a first-hand take on Cyber Week for a home & garden brand.

What channels were the most effective in driving sales this year? 

Ecommerce for sure. Email, SMS, and Social were all very effective as well.

Did your brand do anything different to prepare for Cyber Week this year than last? 

Preparing for the holiday sales season isn’t something that happens in the weeks leading up to the holidays. It is truly something we start thinking about in January.

This year we focused heavily on list growth and better engagement throughout the year because we knew it would pay off when the holidays rolled around. It’s definitely about the “long game.”

Were there any shopping trends you saw this year that were different than previous Cyber Weeks?

We launched add-on accessories this year, which allowed us to increase AOV and orders per customer. Bundles did extremely well for us.

What is your plan for the rest of the year? 

We will continue to promote holiday shopping, especially gifting through the end of the year, and then shift into holiday planning for 2020 as soon as January 2 rolls around.

How will you capitalize on the holiday success for 2020? 

More of the same. In addition to list growth and engagement, we are planning now for product launches that will make a huge splash in November/December 2020.

Home & Garden Brand Highlight

Burrow Homepage

We also heard from Alex Cubo, VP of Ecommerce at Burrow, about how their Cyber Week stacked up.

What channels were the most effective in driving sales this year? 

Our product is a considered purchase, and so several channels are involved in each shopper’s journey. However, for peak promotional periods with sales that people expect, most sales are captured through bottom funnel channels such as branded search.

Did your brand do anything different to prepare for Cyber Week this year than last? 

This is only our third Cyber Monday as a company, so our data points are few. However, we’ve done extensive research and analysis into our transactional and ad platform data to ensure that our pricing architecture, placement, and positioning were fully optimized to maximize value.

Were there any shopping trends you saw this year that were different than previous Cyber Weeks?

Black Friday and Cyber Monday are ubiquitous at this point, so we’re seeing stronger, earlier performance in the moment.

What is your plan for the rest of the year? 

We’ll reposition our funnel and reach to prime our position for the start of 2020.

How will you capitalize on the holiday success for 2020? 

We’ll leverage learnings and the massive influx of new customers to continue to refine our understanding of the customer and the consumer landscape in general, and adapt those learnings to 2020.

Home & Garden Brand Highlight

Saltwater Aquarium Homepage

We also heard from Kenneth Brown, owner at SaltwaterAquarium.com, about their Cyber Week.

What channels were the most effective in driving sales this year? 

We found a mix of Google Ads & Facebook to be the most effective ways of building hype and driving direct revenue-generating content over Cyber Week. Just make sure you increase the ceiling of your budgets because, with a successful launch, you’re likely to reach them very early on the largest of shopping days.

Did your brand do anything different to prepare for Cyber Week this year than last? 

This year we started planning months earlier than previous years. Not only with purchasing inventory, planning sales, working on promotions, but taking the time to build specific partnerships in order to get the work done. It’s one thing to just take someone’s hard-earned money on an order; it’s another to inventory, pick, pack, ship fast, communicate, and provide the customer service needed to make the transaction flawless and memorable.

Were there any shopping trends you saw this year that were different than previous Cyber Weeks?

There seemed to be a larger move to traffic and sales at exactly midnight. I think about 10 minutes after midnight we had 285 live shoppers, according to Google Analytics, looking for a deal. More customers stayed home this year and shopping online vs. going to the traditional brick-and-mortar.

What is your plan for the rest of the year? 

To sip margaritas on a beach somewhere… No, honestly the work has just begun. Focusing on taking care of all of the customers that you just interacted with to make sure they have a good experience moving forward. Communication and personal touch is going to be the key to driving repeat business.

How will you capitalize on the holiday success for 2020? 

Success is a funny thing. I’ll call it lessons learned. I always take a notebook and write down everything that went good and everything that was a struggle shortly after a sale like this. Then next year, a few months before Black Friday, I’ll remind myself on the key points to take advantage of and mistakes to make sure they won’t happen again.

One mistake that won’t happen again — we will never run out of packing bubbles and paper before we even get to Cyber Monday…

Home & Garden Brand Highlight

Last but not least, we heard from Jon Paulsen, CEO at UPLIFT Desk, about their Cyber Week.

What channels were the most effective in driving sales this year? 

Almost all through BigCommerce, and a little bit of Amazon.

Did your brand do anything different to prepare for Cyber Week this year than last? 

We concentrated on coming up with good promotions that would excite our customer base.

Were there any shopping trends you saw this year that were different than previous Cyber Weeks?

More B2B sales — businesses want great deals too!

What is your plan for the rest of the year? 

Keep the pedal to the metal.

How will you capitalize on the holiday success for 2020? 

We’ll plan more than we did this year. I think that’s the thing that pays in the end.

The Sports & Outdoors Brands

Black Friday 2019: Sports & Outdoors vertical sees 22% AOV lift

Same-store sports & outdoors brands on BigCommerce earned 14% more in GMV.

Sports & Outdoors GMV

  • Thanksgiving: +15%
  • Black Friday: +17%
  • Saturday: +16%
  • Sunday: +16%
  • Cyber Monday: +5%

Sports & Outdoors AOV

  • Thanksgiving: $140.99 (-0.6% YoY)
  • Black Friday: $162.78 (+22% YoY)
  • Saturday: $146.90 (+4% YoY)
  • Sunday: $139.44 (+0.2% YoY)
  • Cyber Monday: $148.31 (+0.6% YoY)

Sports & Outdoors Percent of Orders by Source

  • Desktop: 47%
  • Mobile: 45%
  • Tablet: 4%

Sports & Outdoors AOV Orders by Source

  • Desktop: $165.48
  • Mobile: $140.10
  • Tablet: $158.28

Sports & Outdoors average conversion rate

3.7%

Sports & Outdoors Brand Highlight

GORUCK Homepage

We caught up with GORUCK Director of Digital Marketing & IT Nathan Thompson to get a first-hand take on Cyber Week for a sports & outdoors brand.

What channels were the most effective in driving sales this year?

Our top revenue channels were organic search, followed by email and paid search. Display (especially retargeting), affiliates, and social were also effective and helped contribute to the awareness of our promotions (and the success of other channels) during the sale period.

Did your brand do anything different to prepare for Cyber Week this year than last?

More emphasis on segmentation and targeting. In addition to our standard sale announcements, we sent several personalized and targeted emails to ensure our offers were relevant to our list, and to create urgency when we knew a limited-time offer would be particularly appealing to a subset of the list.

We improved our ability to personalize our ads based on a customer’s past purchases or interests, which helped keep the sale exciting for our returning/past customers.

Were there any shopping trends you saw this year that were different than previous Cyber Weeks?

As an ecommerce business, we continued to see more customers wait to make their purchases on Cyber Monday as opposed to Black Friday. This isn’t different than what we saw last year, but it was more pronounced this year.

What is your plan for the rest of the year?

Keep shoppers engaged with an emphasis on shipping deadlines and last-minute gift ideas. As a gear and events company, we will transition to offers that don’t rely on shipping (our events and gift cards) to keep the momentum going as we get closer to Christmas.

How will you capitalize on the holiday success for 2020?

Q4 has a way of exposing the cracks in your current processes. We’ll take what we’ve learned from sales numbers, website/channel performance, and customer feedback as an opportunity to improve our customer experience and offers from start to finish.

The Toys & Games Vertical

Cyber Week 2019: Toys & Games vertical sees highest conversion rate (8.6%)

Same-store toys & games brands on BigCommerce earned 17% more in GMV.

Toys & Games GMV

  • Thanksgiving: +30%
  • Black Friday: +18%
  • Saturday: +20%
  • Sunday: +12%
  • Cyber Monday: +8%

Toys & Games AOV

  • Thanksgiving: $71.83 (+2% YoY)
  • Black Friday: $83.76 (+4% YoY)
  • Saturday: $73.81 (+5% YoY)
  • Sunday: $70.91 (+2% YoY)
  • Cyber Monday: $69.05 (+2% YoY)

Toys & Games Percent of Orders by Source

  • Desktop: 46%
  • Mobile: 47%
  • Tablet: 5%

Toys & Games AOV Orders by Source

  • Desktop: $81.69
  • Mobile: $68.59
  • Tablet: $68.74

Toys & Games average conversion rate

8.6%

Black Friday Becomes the Clear Champion

Both online and in-store shopping activity increased across verticals on Black Friday — in a move that solidified it as the most profitable day during Cyber 5 in 2019.

Customers globally spend more than $40 billion during the 24 hours, according to data from Salesforce.

The Roots of Black Friday

Black Friday first referred to the collapse of the US gold market in 1869. A decade later, in 1961, Philadelphia police used the term “Black Friday” to describe the congestion downtown, where hoards of shoppers were congregating, heading toward the big department stores.

For retailers, it was originally a derogatory term which the industry worked to reinvent – saying that revenue went from red to black thanks to the increase in purchases taking place the Friday after Thanksgiving.

It wasn’t until the 1980s that Black Friday as we know it today began to gain popularity, with anticipation of deep discounts.

Today, nearly all retailers in the U.S. participate in Black Friday and Cyber Week, which has grown to include Thanksgiving, Small Business Saturday (coined by AMEX), and Cyber Monday (which grew out of the dot-com bubble era).

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    Corinne Watson

    Corinne Watson

    Corinne is a writer and researcher at BigCommerce, where she works directly with agency and technology partners to bring their tools, services and ideas to the commerce industry at large. Before BigCommerce, she was an education specialist at Skills Fund, where she built resources and ran trainings to give students access to life-changing skills. Corinne holds degrees in graphic design and psychology. After college, she transitioned into the marketing and research space through a self-taught mindset – and works to bring the value of that skill and mindset to others. When she’s not writing, she’s volunteering with nonprofit organizations, traveling the world, or digging into a new book.

    View all posts by Corinne Watson

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