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Cyber Monday Was The Biggest Online Sales Day In History

Frenetic Sales on this Cyber Monday and Black Friday

In spite of gloomier signals for the world economy, online shoppers had an absolute field day on this years Cyber Monday. Not only Monday, but Black Friday too. Let’s have a gentle dive into some stats about this new cultural tradition.

For UK Readers – The History of Black Friday

Black Friday was an American tradition (now global) and is the Friday that follows Thanksgiving. Thanksgiving is always celebrated on the 4th Thursday of November. Black Friday traditionally is viewed as the start of the Christmas shopping season in America and so became a focus of sales. Although only Thanksgiving Day is actually observed as a Public Holiday, the following 4 days have become a traditional sales period.

The origin of the term Black Friday is not known for certain. But in the 50’s factory owners sometimes referred to it as Black Friday as lots of workers called in sick to extend the Thursday off to a 4 day weekend. In turn, long holidays tend to involve shopping trips.

Then in the 1960’s certain Police districts used the term. This is due to the sudden increased footfall and congestion at the start of the Christmas shopping season. But there had long been a push for the Christmas shopping period to extend back to Thanksgiving.

Cyber Monday is a Marketing Term

Over the years it has evolved to include Cyber Monday, thanks to the influence of ecommerce marketers Ellen Davis and Scott Silverman. The term dates back to 2005.

Now For Some Hard Data…

Cyber Monday scored $7.9 billion in US sales, a record

It was up almost 20% on the previous year, which is just a phenomenal rate of growth.

And in 2017 it racheted up $6.6 billion, which was up on 2016 by by over 100%, when it scored just shy of $3 billion.

This year Black Friday was only just pipped to the post by Monday, it tallied just under 6 and a half billion dollars.

This was 24% up on 2017.

Not all Good News

Whilst this was very impressive for ecommerce businesses, one place negatively effected by this was the high street.

BBC reports that UK Shopping centre footfall was ‘worst since recession‘ this November. This seems to be due partly to the success of online sales, namely Cyber Monday and Black Friday.

This was deduced by shopper analytics firm Springboard, that studies shopping center visitors. Although the reduction of 3% doesn’t sound that great, its compounded by similar falls in 2016 and 2017 and collectively, shopper visits are now near recession levels. The same thing is expected for December.

Barclays also reported an increase in UK card transactions on Black Friday – some 1000 per second, up year on year by 10%. Whilst the number was up, average spend actually decreased by 12%, so less was actually spent in the highstreet.  Seperate data indicates the volume of sales were up >40% online this year.

Some UK highstreet retailers actually stopped running promotions on Black Monday in 2017. But an increase in sales offers was observed for 2018 by, a sales tracking company. This suggests that retailers have felt the pinch and are forced to promote more aggresively.

So, UK ecom businneses are increasingly pressured to adopt a sales strategy for Black Friday. It is worth looking at the tactics of major retailers, and having something in place for 2019.

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