2021 Holiday Shopping and Cyber Week Highlights

Holiday deals continued to reel in more shoppers this year, despite price inflation and some supply chain issues. 

Like last year, consumers shopped earlier in the season. According to Rakuten Advertising data, the Wednesday before Thanksgiving and Black Friday generated almost double the sales and average order value (AOV) compared to the rest of the week. 

Unlike last year, shoppers spent less time browsing for items and instead splurged on higher-priced items like jewelry, luxury goods, and home improvement products. Most verticals and publishers maintained consistently high performance compared to last year and 2019.  

Here’s a deeper dive into the trends we’ve seen before and during Cyber Week: 

Shoppers spent more pre-Cyber Week this year. 

While it’s no surprise that Thanksgiving and Black Friday continue to stand out as top shopping days, the Wednesday before is starting to gain traction as a major spending day. 

This year, according to Rakuten Advertising data, Wednesday’s sales and AOV exceeded all other days of the week. Last year’s AOV was around $130 compared to $156 this year, making it one of the largest AOV days of the season, just $2 less than on Thanksgiving. 

Although consumers still spent a total of $10.7B on Cyber Monday, retailers experienced a slight decrease in sales of 1.4% YoY, according to Adobe.  

As retailers plan for top shopping days throughout 2022, releasing deals earlier can potentially acquire more eager consumers. 

Shoppers spent more on larger orders this year. 

Updated home furnishings and future vacations were top of mind for shoppers this Thanksgiving as more consumers bought larger ticket items. 

Vacations, computers/electronics and home improvement products drove AOV up by 4% compared to last year as shoppers were willing to spend more on higher-priced items. Sales for items like luxury goods and jewelry also increased by 26% compared to the previous year. While many consumers still found Cyber Week deals too expensive, the final checkouts on orders were 13.9% higher on Cyber Monday compared to last year, according to Adobe. 

More Americans also utilized Buy-Now-Pay-Later solutions this holiday season as a post-purchase payment solution which allows consumers to make interestfree installments over a pre-determined period on more expensive items. Retailers who offer this solution can help drive more sales on higher-priced items during these top shopping days. 

Retailers and publishers maintained similar performance to last year. 

While retailers and publishers only saw slight boosts in performance YoY, network performance stayed consistent for most verticals: 

  • Department Stores: As consumers shopper earlier in the week, pre-Black Friday sales between Tuesday-Thursday grew by 11% YoY, while AOV increased from $19 to $120. 
  • Apparel & Accessories: Apparel has experienced a steady increase in sales since 2019. Cyber Week saw a 10% YoY boost in total sales and a 7% higher conversion rate.  
  • High-End / Luxury: Total sales for November increased 44% since 2020. During Cyber week, sales increased 26%, while AOV increased by $38 compared to last year. 
  • Jewelry: During Cyber Week, sales grew by 115% YoY, while AOV increased to $250.   
  • Beauty: AOV grew to $122 this year, a $13 increase from last year. Cyber Week sales increased 11% YoY. 
  • Travel: Travel has been making a comeback with significant YoY growth compared to last year. Vacation sales grew by 33% during Cyber Week, and AOV surged to $481. 

Ready to start building on your holiday momentum? Contact us today to learn more about accelerating your performance marketing campaigns. 

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