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Black Friday and Cyber Monday: Research reveals top 5 trends to help boost revenue

September 28, 2023

New research from Wunderkind leverages five years of historical data to identify the key trends that will set the stage for this holiday retail season.

No, it’s not too early to think about holiday shopping, especially if you’re a retailer hoping to break away from the pack this coming Black Friday and Cyber Monday.

According to eMarketer, holiday retail sales increased by 4.8% in 2022 and are expected to increase another 4.5% this year. To help brands maximize their holiday revenue potential, our 2023 Holiday Shopping Trends report analyzes five years of consumer trends.

For example, brick-and-mortar retailers may be tempted to put a greater emphasis on Cyber Monday to compete with e-commerce rivals. However, the data shows that Black Friday still edges out Cyber Monday in Cyber Week revenue. Wunderkind clients reported notable increases in revenue during November (12.3%) and December (10.3%) 2022, yet Cyber Week alone generated between 6-9% of annual revenue for these brands. We expect shopping will peak again on Black Friday in 2023.

So as this big weekend approaches, here are the top trends brands should consider:

1. Gen Z is ready to shop

The majority of Gen Z consumers (78%) say they don’t plan to reduce discretionary spending, despite economic uncertainty. With an estimated $360 billion in spending power, they will be a driving force for consumer spending this holiday season.

If Gen Z is your target demographic, now is the perfect time to double down on your marketing towards them. Use purchase triggers (such as back-in-stock notifications) to send targeted messages to this group via their preferred channels. With more spending power and fewer financial concerns, aim to incorporate them as a key audience in your Cyber Week strategy.

2. Cart abandonment skyrockets

While Black Friday/Cyber Monday sees major lifts in conversion rates, abandoned cart rates increase too. Cart abandonment on Black Friday is over 100% higher than on other days in November, followed closely by Cyber Monday. Prioritizing list growth ahead of the holiday season will help identify more site traffic for subsequent follow-up to these potential customers.

Additionally, make sure to use first-party data capture to identify web visitors during the holidays. This will allow you to target potential customers with tailored messaging, as well as retarget them (based on which pages and products they viewed) to provide an enjoyable and relevant experience that’s optimized for conversion.

3. Median AOV rises

The median average order value (AOV) during Cyber Week increased by 26% from 2018 to 2022, reaching $144 million in median AOV last year. This trend is expected to continue in 2023 and beyond. To stand out from competitors and drive increased spending, brands must leverage personalized messaging at scale with tailored recommendations, exclusive offers, and discounts.

To make the most of this increased spend, upsell higher-ticket items through one-to-one messaging—whether it be via email, text, or onsite ads. If consumers are willing to spend more with you, make it easy for them. Create a seamless experience using onsite product recommendations and tailored ads. While discounts are a huge focus, you can also use this opportunity to sell a higher volume of more expensive products.

4. Email + text FTW

Owned channels remain crucial for brands as they are scalable, efficient, bring high returns, and don’t rely on third-party data. While text messaging conversions are growing fast (increasing by more than 4x since 2018), email still leads with 19.2% of total conversions. By comparison, Google Ads offers an average conversion rate of just 3.75%, making owned channels like email and text a standout opportunity.

Wunderkind client Tamara Mellon put their text and email strategy under the same roof to focus on the power of their owned channels over the holidays. As a result, 7.6% of their total digital revenue was driven by behavioral texts alone during BF/CM.

5. Mobile commerce reaches a crescendo

In 2021, mobile commerce outperformed desktop for the first time, accounting for 49.7% of conversions. Last year, mobile reached majority status with 53.4% of conversions, 8% higher than desktop. It’s important that brands ensure their websites are mobile-friendly and optimized for user-experience to cater to their customers’ shopping preferences.

To create an easy mobile journey, try these steps:

  • Send shoppers abandoned cart texts with links to products they’ve previously viewed to encourage them to convert and close the sale on their phone.
  • Meet consumers where they are. Text them to let them know their favorite products have dropped in price, or are back in stock during the holiday sale rush.
  • Create a three-click journey: Tailored message offering a discount, encouraging the consumer to check out an item similar to a previous purchase. Customers view the product and apply their Black Friday discount code. Check out.
  • Use MMS messaging to engage with customers. This could include static images, gifs, and videos to tell your brand’s story and engage shoppers.

Identity resolution is crucial

Clearly, Black Friday/Cyber Monday is an opportunity to reach new customers, as most retailers experience more site traffic than any other time of year. But while acquiring new customers during the holidays is important, it’s equally important to retain these customers throughout the rest of the year.

However, many retailers that don’t use an identity resolution provider can ID only about 5% of their web visitors. While many brands believe that they are identifying their core customers on their site, in reality, they’re leaving a large volume of potential customers unidentified.

Your website is the most effective vehicle for brand perception. According to our report, 46% of customers list brand websites as the most trusted channel of product information, followed by other brand-owned channels at 27%. Nearly 25% of high-income US shoppers say they are primarily influenced by owned brand marketing.

To achieve a positive brand perception in the market, it is essential to focus on building a strong brand image. Afterward, use your owned channels to capture the attention of these higher-spending consumers and guide them toward sales at every opportunity.

To learn more, read Wunderkind’s full 2023 Holiday Shopping Trends report for free.


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