Affiliate Window smashed all previous peak network trading records on Monday 3rd December as the effect of Mega Monday kicked in.
We decided to share some of these insights as well as explore the background to this retail phenomenon.
The two most generally anticipated days of the shopping calendar in the run up to Christmas are Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Falling the day after Thanksgiving, Black Friday is a US phenomenon that has hit these shores. Cyber Monday falls on the Monday after thanksgiving in the US but has also been adopted in the UK, with this falling on the first Monday in December. It is widely predicted to be the largest online shopping day in the UK. For the purpose of this article and to avoid confusion with the US Cyber Monday – we have dubbed this ‘Mega Monday’
Peak season trading
Working with a number of the largest advertisers in the UK, we are able to build up a picture of peak season trading and understand the impact of these events. We are also able to see the impact of advertisers that are running specific promotions at this time and analyse how mobile commerce has played an important role in this peak period.
Looking at data across the network, we have seen noticeable peaks for both Black Friday and Mega Monday. The chart below plots the volume of transactions against the average order values across the network. We see a peak in both the number of transactions and the average order values on ‘Black Friday’ with both being at the highest level they have been throughout November. Cyber Monday (US) had minimal impact across the network but we again see the anticipated peak Mega Monday that had been widely predicted. We recorded the highest volume of sales by a considerable margin, although average order values were lower. This is not particularly surprising considering a number of advertisers across the network were offering discounts to stimulate consumer activity during this peak period.
It has also been possible to look at individual advertisers to see the impact that promotions had on sales figures and average order values. With these days widely anticipated to see record amounts of money spent online, it was important for advertiser offers to stand out amongst their affiliate base as well as appealing to consumers. If not offering a discount it is highly likely consumers would purchase from a competitor brand where there was a discount to be had.
Impact of a price match promise
An advertiser in the retail sector focused their promotion around ‘Black Friday’ and launched a price match promise with bespoke creative for the event. This had a noticeable impact on the campaign with the volume of transactions and average order values peaking significantly during this event.
They also saw a peak for Mega Monday but also had a very strong start to December in terms of sales volumes, albeit with lower average order values.
An electrical retailer also ran an exclusive promotion with a leading affiliate partner on Mega Monday and as well as driving an increase in the volume of transactions (although lower than Black Friday) it was also effective in increasing average order values for this period – although both of these peaks were seen on the Tuesday rather than Mega Monday.
With more consumers embracing mobile commerce, it is interesting to analyse the impact this has had upon the devices that are being used during these peak periods. While there is no real evidence to show that mobile has been used more readily during these periods, it is interesting to note the change in consumer behaviour between weekdays and weekends. The share of sales through tablet devices peak noticeably at weekends indicating these devices are used more readily at home to transact.
Consumer confidence in mobile
What is interesting is that around 4.5% - 5% of sales have been coming through mobile handsets in the run up to Christmas, indicating that consumers are increasing confident in transacting through their phones. It is important for advertisers to optimise their mobile experience and also to ensure affiliate tracking is in place.
Predictions of the largest online shopping day continue to be made. Some are predicting the 17th December could surpass Mega Monday, although this could be risky in terms of delivery dates to arrive in time for Christmas. However, we will be sure to keep you posted on what we see through the network.
If you would like to see how our stats from this period compare to what we saw as a network in 2011, you can read about the confusing picture during peak season and how we made sense of Christmas stats.
Check out our infographic that will be released at the beginning of next week for some additional insights. You can also receive more general network updates from us by signing up to our monthly strategy newsletter.