The last quarter of the year, often referred to as the ‘golden quarter’ is the most crucial time for many UK retailers. However, with a worsening cost-of-living crisis, a decrease in consumer confidence and a potential distraction of the world cup meant that it would be a nail-biting year for many retailers. In fact, retail experts predicted the overall Christmas trading season could be the worst in at least a decade as shoppers cut back.
Despite these doom and gloom predictions, same store sales across our global affiliate network increased by an overall 19%. We saw especially positive sales growth from our networks in Brazil (+85%), France (+41%) and Germany (+37%).
In the UK, unsurprisingly, sales dipped slightly compared to the peak of online trading in 2020-2021. This year, we saw a trend for retailers pushing their seasonal promotions much earlier in November to boost sales, shift stock and potentially help customers spread the cost of Christmas. It meant higher year-on-year growth was seen elsewhere in November such as during Singles’ Day.
Cyber Month is the new Cyber Week
With growth starting earlier in the month, Cyber Week continues its trend of extending beyond its traditional period. When it did hit, order and sales growth increased during the week before Black Friday. On Monday, 21st November, we saw sales increase by 42% YoY and by 17% on the Wednesday. This earlier purchasing behaviour would have been driven by increasing cost of living squeezes and compounded by ongoing and unpredictable Royal Mail strikes.
Overall, Black Friday still drove the highest volume of sales and orders, although ever so slightly down on the peak we saw in 2021.This decline matched the increase seen in Shoppers heading in-store in comparison to last year. Business intelligence specialist Springboard reported that footfall was +4.6% higher than Black Friday 2021 across all destinations.
Key verticals: Fashion remains king
The performance was positive across many core verticals. The Apparel & Accessorises vertical saw the highest share of sales (45%) across the ‘Cyber 5’, followed by the High-end and Luxury Goods and Health & Beauty verticals. These are core verticals for Black Friday discounts.
Home Improvement has continued to soar, and Rakuten Advertising tracked 30% increase in orders and 24% increase in sales.
The Travel vertical also performed well. Sales growth peaked at 112% on Sunday, 27th November and averaged at 82% growth across the week. Although AOV was down, it’s a positive sign for this vertical going into 2023 and highlights how other verticals benefit from the sales boom that Cyber Week brings.
Interestingly, some premium retailers opted-out of discounting altogether and still saw strong growth across Cyber Week. It reinforces the trend for consumers moving away from fast fashion and investing in high-quality products.
Content, Influencer and Subnetwork publishers saw significant growth leading into Cyber Week as consumers were likely researching their potential purchases. These publisher types remain crucial for driving awareness early in the funnel.
Coupon sites were expected to drive increased performance in 2022 due to deal-hungry shoppers making up for inflationary cost adjustments, but sales remained flat as shoppers held their course.
Cashback and Loyalty sites did not see much change in traffic from 2021. They remained stable and were able to take market share away from many other publishers, by offering coupons, deals, editorials and or product reviews on top of their rewards for shopping. Overall, across all our networks, Cyber Week 2022 provided invaluable insights into how shopper behaviour continues to evolve. If you’d like to learn more about Cyber Week performance across our other regional networks, please visit our blogs below: