Cyber Monday delivered the anticipated hike in sales revenue and commissions for Affiliate Window, but the phenomenal success of Black Friday meant it stole the headlines as it pulled neck and neck with the historically largest pre-Christmas shopping day in the UK retail calendar.
The shift also hints at changing online purchasing patterns in the UK as British shoppers ape US retail behaviour.
Combined, Black Friday and Cyber Monday saw sales leap by a third across the 1,500 retailers on the Affiliate Window network. Boosted by a significant 22% increase in the amount the average shopper spent, commissions also spiked by nearly 40%. Sales registered a more modest 10% rise.
It is only when the data is unpicked across the two days that a more interesting picture emerges. In 2012 Black Friday accounted for 44% of the revenue recorded, whereas – boosted by the average sale rising by £17.20 (or 26%) – it was neck and neck with Cyber Monday.
“With the initial figures for Black Friday and Cyber Monday now tallied they show how consumers spread their shopping across both days,” says Kevin Edwards, Strategy Director at Affiliate Window. “There is no doubt there were significantly more offers and deals available on Friday this year that contributed to the huge spike we saw. It will only be with further interrogation of the data that we’ll understand who the winners and losers were but it is also worth considering how much the average basket grew by this year, perhaps highlighting growing consumer confidence in the state of the economy as well as a greater willingness to purchase online.”
Additional factors may again explain for the shift. Black Friday coincided with pay day for many and the fallout from RBS’s payment outage across its banking network that left millions unable to complete online transactions for three hours, is yet to be fully understood.
Black Friday is a relatively new addition to the UK retail landscape, aping the US sales frenzy that occurs on the day after Thanksgiving. Typically retailers have focused their attentions on Cyber Monday, the first Monday in December when British brands usually experience their biggest pre-Christmas sales push.
Their efforts this year may have been swayed by Black Friday bookending Cyber Monday for the first time in several years, offering retailers the opportunity to build Christmas buying momentum.
Amongst individual performers, one well known clothing brand running a code that began on Friday, saw a 76% boost in year on year revenue and a 62% increase in sales, again underlining the positive impact of promotions on average order value.
Both large and small retailers running exclusive or compelling promotions across well known retail publishers such as vouchercodes.co.uk and Quidco have also seen significant uplift. One major high street retailer witnessed a near 300% increase in commission payouts and 250% increase in revenue on Black Friday but experienced slight dips on Monday.
There is still much number crunching to be done, particularly in understanding how specific consumer offers drive demand and impact competitors. At this early stage the picture is overwhelmingly positive, showing how consumers are increasingly confident online shoppers as indicated by the significant boost in average basket recorded, but the data also shows how the monolith of Cyber Monday may also now be a thing of the past.
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