With the growth and popularity of Black Friday and Cyber Monday, the Thanksgiving weekend has often represented one of the biggest, if not the biggest, shopping times of the year for consumers and retailers alike.
2016 has proven to be no different, as the weekend’s turnout exceeded expectations – making it one of the most historic string of days in eCommerce to date.
As the dust continues to settle, retail analysts have been scrambling to crunch the numbers and identify what trends took shape this year. From social media to major marketplaces, just about every channel saw momentous volumes of traffic.
As such, Google Shopping Black Friday and Cyber Monday traffic was apparent throughout the weekend as well.
2016 Google Shopping Black Friday and Cyber Monday Trends
Black Friday is generally considered an in-store shopping experience. Long lines, frantic crowds, and just a general sense of chaos can often become associated with the post-Thanksgiving shopping day.
Brick-and-mortar locations have served as nesting grounds for the best deals in retail over the years. But, as the ecommerce industry continues to emerge as a retail leader, the day is beginning to trend more and more toward the digital side of things.
This was incredibly evident this year as online sales totaled a whopping $3.34b, according to Adobe Digital Insights.
The growth, which was a 21.6% increase over the previous year, doesn’t come as a total surprise considering the ever-growing popularity of Cyber Monday. But it should be taken as a strong indicator of Google Shopping Black Friday trends moving forward.
Mobile making its mark
It’s safe to say that the shift to mobile is more than just a trend at this point.
Mobile optimization has become a top priority this year for both platforms and consumers alike – and the Thanksgiving shopping weekend continued to back those claims.
Adobe Digital Insights segmented all traffic between Thanksgiving and Cyber Monday. While desktop continues to hold majority of the shares, mobile is pacing closely behind.
- Desktop Share of Visits: 53%
- Desktop Share of Sales: 69%
- Mobile Share of Visits: 44%
- Mobile Share of Sales: 31%
The emphasis on mobile was discernible in Google Shopping Black Friday traffic as well. According to Think with Google, in regards to online shopping, Black Friday had the highest mobile shopping searches of any day during Thanksgiving week – with Thanksgiving Day coming in at a close second.
From a day to a week
Black Friday has typically reigned supreme as the dominant shopping day when compared to its Monday counterpart. However, this year, Cyber Monday stole the show.
Consumers spent roughly $3.4b online, slightly edging out Black Friday totals of $3.34b.
But if Friday’s online sales numbers are any indication, retailers are beginning to do away with day-specific promotions and are starting to gravitate toward extended sales offers.
“The biggest trend I noticed was a greater decline in the balance between Black Friday and Cyber Monday performance,” said Stephen Kerner, Retail Search Manager at CPC Strategy.
“This year, Cyber Monday sales beat out Black Friday sales online, with performance remaining strong for the entire week and beyond; essentially creating ‘Cyber Week’.
Because shoppers are able to get the same deals throughout the week online, I can definitely see this trend continuing.
As long as retailers continue to spread promotions out during this time, I feel like we’ll definitely continue to see an increase in online sales around the Thanksgiving weekend for the next several years.”
The National Retail Federation reported that only 9% of consumers finished their holiday shopping by the end of the Thanksgiving weekend. With the large majority still browsing, many retailers are beginning to extend promotions past the weekend.
Looking at Google Shopping Black Friday and Cyber Monday data
While we can take a look at Google Shopping Black Friday and Cyber Monday trends from an overall perspective, we also wanted to dive into the numbers and see how they compared year-over-year (YoY).
We looked at 35 CPC Strategy clients that we managed between 2015 and 2016, and compared their YoY numbers to see how they held up over the holiday weekend.
Our analysis aggregates data from specific days in 2015 and 2016. The comparable dates in 2015 are 11/18/15 through 12/2/15, while the dates taken into account this year are 11/17/16 through 11/30/16. These dates begin one week before Thanksgiving and extend until the Wednesday following Cyber Monday.
- YoY Cost on Google Shopping – Ad spend is where we saw the most significant differences between 2015 and 2016. Comparing the same time frames year-over-year, there was a 10.97% increase in cost for retailers on Google Shopping.
- YoY Revenue on Google Shopping – While cost saw a slight increase between 2015 and 2016, so did revenue. Analyzing the total conversion values across all designated accounts, there was a 4.18% increase in revenue this year.
- YoY Cost of Sale on Google Shopping – The average cost of sale was particularly interesting, as there wasn’t much variance between the correlating years. From Thanksgiving weekend in 2015 to 2016, there was only about a 1% increase in the average cost of sale on Google Shopping among these accounts.
- YoY Average Cost per Click (CPC) on Google Shopping – The average CPC among accounts being reviewed saw a decrease between the two years. During the designated dates in 2015, the average CPC was $0.87. In 2016, we saw a decline of over 9%, bringing the average CPC down to $0.79.
“Overall, I would say that the Google Shopping Black Friday and Cyber Monday weekend was a huge success,” said Jostin Munar, Retail Search Manager at CPC Strategy.
“For one of our clients, we saw revenue boosts of 69%, 97% increase in orders, and 11% ROI improvement when looking at the YoY numbers.
Along with those boosts in performance, we also saw increases in the average CPC, year-over-year, for this particular client.
What’s great to see is that, despite the higher CPCs on this account, with the appropriate strategy we were still able to improve ROI compared to last year’s shopping weekend.
We were able to achieve success by ensuring that we were zoning in on all of the appropriate terms and stayed aggressive where we saw fit.”
Electronics and apparel typically do well during the Google Shopping Black Friday and and Cyber Monday weekend, and this year was no different.
However, we did notice spikes in less popular verticals this year as well.
“What I think was most interesting was that aside from traditional Apparel and Electronic retailers, we were able to see gains in very niche verticals like Home Hardware and various hobby driven verticals,” Munar went on to say.
“That leads me to believe that more and more people are looking to purchase nice products online.
This year didn’t just continue to highlight your traditional “door busters” on popular shoes or TVs, but introduced many different retailers to the success of eCommerce during this weekend.
With all of the success that we saw this past weekend, I wouldn’t be surprised if this trend of niche purchasing continues online in 2017.”
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