Two weeks ago we put together our predictions for Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Having analysed our data, we are now able to see if these predictions were correct. In this roundup we look at the key trading dates to see if Cyber Monday did remain king and investigate the role of mobile over this busy period.

Consumers will be able to get a better deal – This was certainly the case. Across our advertiser base we saw numerous promotional offers. This ranged from huge savings on certain products to blanket discounts across the board. With advertisers keen to get a slice of the action and secure the prime promotional placements, there were some fantastic deals on offer across Black Friday/Cyber Monday. This led to sales peaks as we will see when we cover off the data for this period.

Advertisers that act early will gain a clear advantage – Again we saw this prediction come true. Advertisers were quick to secure additional promotional activity across publisher sites and certainly reaped the rewards. One particular advertiser within general retail gained an early initiative by ensuring additional placements and inclusion in publisher newsletters for Black Friday. They also carried specific offers geared towards high ticket items. For the first time we saw Black Friday really become a fixture as advertisers offered discounts for the whole weekend. The fact Black Friday fell just before Cyber Monday this year would have certainly helped, although we didn’t see the corresponding Friday last year perform significantly well.

There will be other contenders to the throne but Cyber Monday will remain king.

There were a lot of predictions being made about when the busiest shopping day would be. With the buzz around Cyber Monday across the affiliate channel we anticipated this would be the largest day in terms of sales (as it was last year) and our data shows this to be the case. There is a clear spike in transactions on Monday December 2 and is almost identical to the peak we witnessed last year. However it is noticeable Black Friday experienced a peak this year for the first time, driven by advertisers who opted to lead with their promotions on the Friday. 

It was also widely touted Cyber Monday may be too soon for consumers to do their Christmas shopping so the following Monday was predicted to see a peak. Experian even went as far as coining the phrase ‘Middle Cyber Monday’. While we did see sales pick up on December 9, volumes were well off what we saw on Black Friday/Cyber Monday.

Experian has reported they saw more online traffic on December 9 than they did on Cyber Monday but this was not something replicated across our data. Traffic for us peaked on Black Friday but a superior conversion rate on Cyber Monday led to a greater volume of sales.

We also predicted average order values would be lower on Cyber Monday due to the heavy discounting on offer. We witnessed lower AOV on Cyber Monday but interestingly, Black Friday had a reasonably strong AOV. This is because Black Friday is typically geared towards higher ticket items. It was also extremely encouraging to see AOV for each day was above and beyond what we saw last year. AOV on Cyber Monday was 17% above what we saw in 2012.

Consumers will fall into two camps

A further prediction was there would be two sets of consumers, those that purchased early to take advantage of the Black Friday/Cyber Monday offers, and those that waited for last minute discounts. We clearly saw the first peak, but it is too early to look at later performance at the moment. We will report back on this data once it is available.

Mobile will play an increasingly important role

Last year saw 6% of sales across the network originate from a mobile handset on Cyber Monday. We predicted this would be eclipsed this year. While the share of handset sales was up this year, it hadn’t increased by as much as we expected at 6.45%. However, Black Friday did see a surge in handset sales with 10% of sales originating from a handset.

We typically see our mobile sales peak at weekends and the top performing day for mobile devices was Sunday 17th November where we saw 30.2% of sales originating from a mobile device (handset and tablet).

Roundup of Stats

Finally, we would like to leave you with some additional stats of our performance over this period.

  • Traffic peaked on Black Friday with 2.7 million visits to our advertisers
  • On Cyber Monday, traffic converted at 7.14%
  • AOV peaked at £94.34 on November 4th
  • Highest AOV in December was £77.83 on 3rd December

In summary, our predictions were pretty close to the mark. Cyber Monday was indeed the busiest day in terms of driving sales. It could have been even more significant had it not been for the widely reported issues with Natwest and RBS meaning some customers were unable to use their cards. It was also evident mobile played a key part over this period with a significant share of traffic, strong conversion rates and high average order values.

Black Friday became a fixture in the UK for the first time. It is perhaps a little surprising just how big it was this year considering Black Friday activity in 2012 was minimal.

Finally, strong average order values for this period paint a positive picture of an economic recovery and a growing confidence to spend increasing amounts online.

For a more in-depth coverage of our stats over this period, please download a copy of our trends white paper and check out the infographic below: