Now that Cyber 5 (the five days between Black Friday and Cyber Monday) has passed, it’s officially the holiday season. Online stores in all industries are preparing for a final year-end push, and projections are strong. Sales forecasts for the 2021 holiday projected over $206 billion in sales across all sectors –– a growth of over 14 percent compared to 2020. Research indicated that eCommerce will account for nearly 19% of 2021 holiday sales.
Black Friday and Cyber Monday always account for the lion’s share of holiday shopping –– so what were the Black Friday Cyber Monday eCommerce results for 2021?
BFCM eCommerce Results 2021
To the surprise of many, Black Friday eCommerce sales dipped slightly from $9 billion in 2020 to $8.9 billion in 2021. The dip hit physical retailers even harder, as Black Friday retail sales dropped more than 28% compared to 2019, though retail traffic was higher this year than in 2020.
Like Black Friday sales, 2021 Cyber Monday sales fell by 1.4% compared to 2020 –– the first year-over-year drop in Cyber Monday sales ever. Last Cyber Monday, shoppers spent 10.8 billion, and this year that spending dropped to 10.7 billion.
Several factors that contributed to the dip in BFCM online shopping in 2021:
- Holiday shopping –– and holiday sales –– started earlier this year than ever before. Some shoppers were crossing items off their holiday lists as early as September. Since 2020, Black Friday has morphed into Black November, so many shoppers could grab BFCM deals as early as November 1.
- Recent supply shocks encouraged customers to buy items while they were still available, which meant many consumers weren’t willing to wait until Cyber Monday to finish their holiday shopping. Additionally, some high-demand products simply weren’t available in quantities consumers were used to, which resulted in a slight reduction in Black Friday sales.
- While retail was down compared to 2019, it was up compared to 2020, which means local shopping likely contributed in part to the dip in 2021 Black Friday eCommerce sales.
- News of the Omicron variant of COVID-19 broke over the shopping weekend, which likely dampened demand as consumers prepared for more pandemic uncertainty leading into 2022.
The good news is that projections are still robust for eCommerce holiday sales in 2021. The slight dip in Cyber Monday sales isn’t enough to offset the tremendous growth of eCommerce throughout the 2021 holiday season. Even though Black Friday and Cyber Monday were down, holiday sales of goods and services from September through the end of November are higher than ever.
Additionally, global supply chain challenges impacted supply during the shopping weekend, but the supply shock didn’t reduce demand. As items become available again throughout December, many shoppers will make the last-minute purchases they missed out on during BFCM.
Online sales are a quintessential part of the modern shopping experience –– this year, consumers knew they didn’t have to wait for Cyber Monday to get excellent deals, so they shopped earlier than usual. The normalization of electronic commerce throughout 2020 and 2021 indicates many opportunities for eCommerce website growth in 2022.
Tips for eCommerce through the Holidays into 2022
The outlook is excellent for many types of eCommerce growth in Q4 2021, so online businesses will likely continue to drive eCommerce revenue throughout the 2021 holiday. Online stores can make the most of the remaining holiday with a few simple tips.
Don’t Let Up On Holiday Marketing Just Yet
Review the metrics of your eCommerce PPC campaigns. Keep what’s working, and either cut or adjust what isn’t. Compare this year’s results to last year’s results, continue running A/B tests, and use these final weeks to get creative with your marketing strategy.
Use Social Media to Drive More Sales
Leverage social media to drive more sales as part of your digital marketing strategy. Social media is a fun, free way to connect with your customers. It can help convert sales and make lasting impacts that will increase your word-of-mouth marketing and customer lifetime value.
Driving traffic from social media to your eCommerce site is a great way to reinforce your presence, no matter which eCommerce platform you use. Remember to incorporate customer service best practices in all of your interactions to win loyalty from your followers.
Tighten Up Your Inventory
Many sellers experience a brief lull after Black Friday and Cyber Monday. It’s not wise to get too comfortable, though, especially if you’re a small business. The first two weeks of December are the perfect time to assess your stock levels of raw materials and finished goods and top up on all the essentials.
Also, year-end is a great time to evaluate your eCommerce inventory practices and identify opportunities for improvement, like getting more organized or switching to a more sophisticated inventory software solution.
Assess Your Shipping
It’s wise to periodically review your packaging materials and shipping procedures to curb unnecessary shrink. Year-end is a great time to shop for different suppliers or negotiate with your current ones.
A minor adjustment in packaging materials or procedures could add up to tons of savings when compounded through the following year, so it’s worth evaluating your eCommerce shipping practices in search of money-saving opportunities.
Additionally, try promoting digital products like gift card codes and eBooks with more vigor. Every product and service you sell without shipping decreases costs and improves the bottom line.
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