Pattern 2021 Cyber Weekend Trends & Insights

Newel Cobb

December 2, 2021

If there was any hope that Black Friday and Cyber Monday 2021 would be a return to normal after the uncertainty of 2020, that hope was effectively doused as economic uncertainty impacted sales across the board.

This year’s Turkey 5 saw less traffic and less excitement as supply chain issues impacted the market and shoppers shifted their holiday shopping habits.

Here’s a look at some of the trends that defined Black Friday and Cyber Weekend 2021 and what they spell for future holiday shopping.

Black Friday underperformed pre-pandemic levels

While there was lots to be optimistic about this year, that optimism was short lived. In general, many brands underperformed on Black Friday, which was a somewhat muted event compared with the 2020 sales event. Black Friday traffic at retail stores dropped 28.3% from pre-pandemic levels in 2019, and even online shopping on Black Friday took a dip.

Though online traffic was up 47.5% year over year, sales fell short of breaking the record of $9 billion spent the Friday after Thanksgiving in 2020. According to Adobe Analytics, who analyzes more than one trillion visits to U.S. retail sites, this year was the first ever that growth reversed from the year prior.

That said, the market is not unanimous. Mastercard Spending Pulse reported that Thanksgiving weekend retail sales across the entire market went up 14% year over year. While that may include a significant number of purchases outside the realm of holiday shopping, it may also suggest Black Friday sales were flat and slightly waning rather than dramatically down. Mastercard also reported, however, that ecommerce sales, which have been consistently skyrocketing year to year, only grew 4.9% from last year.

A few categories stood out for growth

According to Mastercard, three categories that were key drivers for Cyber Weekend’s growth were apparel (+51.2%), department stores ( up +19% due to comping such a bad year over year ), and jewelry (+78.4%).

2020 shopping habits stuck around

Because so many brick and mortar businesses changed their operations and/or closed last year due to Covid-19, omnichannel ecommerce became a critical player in the economy, and online marketplaces saw a significant bump in sales and traffic as a result. With more reasons to be cautious and fewer in-person options for purchasing things like groceries and other goods, consumers were trained to shop online year long, and that training carried over into 2021.

Many shoppers avoided going out for Black Friday because they could simply purchase products online at similar prices. There was also a renewal of Covid-19 fears as news of the Omicron variant dropped in the days leading up to Black Friday. Many shoppers who may have been hesitant to get back to business as usual on Black Friday this year saw a renewal of that hesitancy.

Discounts weren’t as deep

While there were a few “killer deals” offered on Amazon during the Cyber 5, there weren’t many to be found elsewhere. In general, consumers had fewer financial incentives to get out and shop on Cyber Weekend in 2021.

The average promotional discount across major retailers heading into Black Friday was 33.4%, compared to an average discount of 37% that was offered in October and the early part of November. Cyber Monday discounts were also weak this year. Discount levels for electronics were at -12% vs. -27% last year and discount levels for appliances were at -8% vs. -20% last year, in just two examples.

Consumers started shopping early

Earlier holiday shopping was in part the result of a major media scare that pushed consumers to do their holiday shopping earlier due to the fear that supply chain issues would prevent their gifts being in stock had they waited till the traditional post-thanksgiving buying period. A survey from the National Trade Federation, the retail industry’s leading trade group, found that 61% of consumers had already started purchasing holiday gifts before Thanksgiving. Pre-Black Friday sales were actually quite good, but those sales were spread throughout the months of October and November, and monthly sales overall were negatively impacted by the lower Turkey 5 turnout.

Interestingly, this year’s early holiday shopping trend mirrored last year’s, but for different reasons. In 2020, Amazon pushed their Prime Day event back to October, and it ended up hurting Black Friday sales because consumers had already done their Christmas shopping by the time it started. It’s possible some shoppers continued that trend this year.

Stock outs caused issues

The consumer fear of stock puts was based in fact. Adobe Analytics reported that out-of-stock messages on retailers’ websites were up 124% through Friday versus pre-pandemic levels. On Cyber Monday, the number of out-of-stock messages was up 8% compared to the week before.

The most compelling statistics are those for the entire month. In total, during the month of November (Nov. 1 - Nov. 29), out-of-stock messages went up a whopping 169% vs. pre-pandemic levels (January 2020) and 258% vs. November 2019 levels. Adobe has predicted that this trend will continue through the end of the year.

Shopping carts grew, but so did inflation

Consumers saw the final price point of their shopping carts jump 13.9% on Cyber Monday, indicating there are shoppers buying bigger ticket items, but there is a wide gap between the spend of low-income shoppers vs. high-income shoppers.

Rising prices across the board for fuel, groceries, and other products meant consumers spent less during holiday sales events. A record high of 11.5% of Americans said they will not be buying holiday gifts this year, and high-income shoppers are expected to spend five times more than low-income shoppers, according to a survey by Deloitte.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that consumer prices grew 6.2% in October compared to a year ago, and that inflation is reflected in online marketplaces where you typically see lower prices.

One report from Profitero tracked 20,000 of Amazon’s most popular products, identifying 1,600 that were among the most popular in October 2020 and October 2021. They found the price of those products had increased 7.5% in a year. Other marketplaces had higher prices on the same products—Walmart’s cost 4% more than Amazon’s, and Target’s were 15% more expensive.

Combined with consumer fears and stock outs, inflation is a significant reason why Black Friday fell short this year.

Brick and Mortar closings boosted ecommerce

While Cyber 5 sales didn’t perform exceptionally well, there are some highlights from the week that are worth noting. Thanksgiving Day in-person sales dropped 90.4% from 2019, but the holiday saw a year over year lift in online sales as armchair shoppers cozied up to buy holiday gifts online after turkey dinner, making Thursday the best day of the sales event.

What this means for brands

In the early 2000s, it was a common joke that each year Black Friday got earlier and earlier, creeping into Thanksgiving day, and even the Wednesday before Thanksgiving. That punchline has become a reality.

While a lot of holiday shopping has historically been done during the Turkey 5, the sales event has become less relevant this year. For two years in a row, we’ve seen early shoppers move early on gift-buying.

That being said, there will always be the ones who wait. Late holiday shoppers will still be purchasing gifts well into December, and many of them will run into supply chain woes.

The best thing that your brand can do right now is keep your product in stock online so that when your competitors go out of stock, your product will be ready for shoppers to purchase. It’s especially important to stay in stock on Amazon, because that’s the first place many customers will look.

Need help managing your inventory, distribution, and marketplace strategy? Learn more about Pattern as a global marketplace manager.

Explore Our Ecommerce Resource Library

Find relevant content to accelerate your ecommerce business. Stay on top of industry trends and best practices.

Sept 27, 2022

Global Ecommerce Weekly News: 27th September 2022

Get up to date with this week's ecommerce headlines from around the globe. --- Amazon News --- Amazon drives renewable energy push with 71 new projects Amazon is planning to add 2.7 gigawatts of clean energy capacity through a couple of new projects as the company attempts to use 100% renewable energy by 2025. The ecommerce business will soon have a total of 329 renewable energy projects, generating 50,000 gigawatt hours of clean energy, which is equivalent to powering 4.6 million US homes every year. [Read more on Reuters](https://www.reuters.com/business/sustainable-business/amazon-drives-renewable-energy-push-with-71-new-projects-2022-09-21/) Amazon launches Prime Early Access Sale Amazon is launching a new 2-day shopping event for its Prime members only, beginning on the 11th of October. Across 15 countries, Prime customers will have access to the shopping event, with thousands of deals on offer globall, ranging from fashion to electronics to essentials. The event has the purpose of giving Prime users the chance to spread the cost of items over the winter months, 6 weeks ahead of Black Friday. [Read more on Charged Retail](https://www.chargedretail.co.uk/2022/09/26/prime-early-access-sale/) --- Other Marketplace News --- Shopify unveils new localisation tool Shopify is launching a new localisation tool, called Translate & Adapt, which works with Shopify Markets to offer localisation for sellers who are looking to expand into new markets. The tool translates a user’s online store into different languages, including product pages and information pages. Merchants are also able to create different shipping terms for each market using the new tool, which allows international expansion and offers a more localised consumer experience, unveiling new potential. [Read more on Ecommerce News](https://ecommercenews.eu/shopify-launches-new-localisation-tool/) Etsy is set to invest hundreds of millions into its marketing platform Etsy CEO claims that the company is on route to spend more than $570 million USD on marketing this year. Even during a time of macroeconomic pressure, inflation and rising interest rates, the company is preparing itself and its sellers for the upcoming holiday season and is focused on retaining interest from buyers. [Read more on Yahoo News](https://uk.news.yahoo.com/etsy-600-million-on-marketing-ceo-154054219.html) --- Other Ecommerce News --- Meta looks to cut costs by 10% in the coming months Meta employees are facing job redundancies as the company plans to cut its costs by 10% over the next few months. Meta reported a 22% YoY increase in costs and expenses, totalling over $20 billion USD. The cuts are expected to come in the form of job redundancies as a result of department reorganisations rather than formal layoffs. [Read more on Charged Retail](https://www.chargedretail.co.uk/2022/09/22/meta-to-slash-costs-by-10-over-coming-months/) DHL teams up with Quadient to offer smart locker deliveries in the UK DHL and tech company, Quadient, have partnered to offer smart lockers parcel pick-up throughout the UK. The new contactless, secure locker stations will give recipients more choice and flexibility to receive their parcels at a time and location best suited to them. The partnership plans to install 500 locker stations across the country by the end of 2022. [Read more on Charged Retail](https://www.chargedretail.co.uk/2022/09/21/dhl-partners-with-quadient-to-offer-smart-locker-delivery/) The online fashion market is set to be worth nearly $170 billion USD in 2025 The European online fashion retail market is set to grow 50% by 2025, with an online turnover of $170 billion USD, which is 33% of the retail branch’s total. Cross-border marketplaces prove to be the largest drivers of this growth, with online websites and apps like Vinted largely pushing the market’s online growth. Zalando recently became the largest cross-border fashion retailer/marketplace, responsible for 11.7% of the online market’s share. [Read more on Ecommerce News](https://ecommercenews.eu/online-fashion-market-worth-e175-billion-in-2025/)
Sept 22, 2022

How an Amazon SEO Agency Should Be Serving Your Brand

If you’re in the global ecommerce space, you are most likely aware of Amazon, and probably selling your products on the marketplace. With over $470 billion in sales in 2021 alone, Amazon stands as the third largest company in the world based on revenue. The ecommerce giant is a household name in the U.S. and working hard to grow its market share across five continents worldwide.

Having your products available on Amazon and being competitive there, though, are definitely two different things. If you want to really succeed on Amazon, you’ll need specialized insight into how Amazon works and how to make it work for you. So, for many brands, it’s a great idea to work with an Amazon Search Engine Optimization (SEO) agency.

At Pattern, Amazon SEO optimization service is one of our key competencies. We understand that technology, data-driven insights and expertise  are the most important tools brands can leverage to win top listing spots on digital marketplaces. With expert teams and years of experience, we help brands conquer the Profitability Death Spiral as they compete with other products and sellers online. We offer Amazon SEO agency services as a core solution to brands that need more resources to get ahead. 

What is an Amazon SEO Agency?

An Amazon SEO agency serves brands by improving their products’ rank and listing performance on Amazon. They make strategic decisions about ad spending and placement that lead to higher traffic, conversions, and revenue for ecommerce brands.

A great Amazon SEO Agency partner will:

Prioritize Your Success

Unfortunately, many Amazon SEO agencies profit in unfair ways from your brands’ perceived success based on the ROAS numbers they provide. This is done through including branded search terms in ROAS reports, which naturally skew listing performance

Let’s say, for instance, your brand is called “Annie’s” and you sell lollipops. Your brand has a very high likelihood of winning the top listing spots on Amazon for lollipop search terms that are paired with “Annie’s,” your brand name. So, SEO agencies will spend your ad money on those terms and report a very high ROAS. 

To avoid scenarios like these, it’s best to look for an agency that either calculates their profits on metrics other than your ROAS scores or weighs branded search terms differently in the performance metrics reports. Regardless of your Amazon SEO agency’s cost structure, you should align onbranded search terms before committing to a scope of work.

Provide Detailed Competitive Insight

A great indicator of a high-quality Amazon SEO agency is the level of insight they can provide into your competitors’ listing positioning and how it compares to yours. Data fanaticism is so important at Pattern that we’ve developed proprietary technology to display this exact information with precise detail for every brand we work with. In fact, you can find our free version here to see how you compare to some of your top competitors based on ASIN.

It’s certainly possible to improve your Amazon search performance with blind spending strategies. But a truly great solution will help you to know where your dollars are at their most powerful and competitive.

Reduce Your Ad Spend Over Time

Amazon’s A10 algorithm prioritizes customer satisfaction—it wants to show consumers the best products that align with their search intent to improve conversions and sales. So, the best way to gain momentum on Amazon is to work on incremental wins. 

Improving your performance on more obscure search terms that align with your customers’ search intent is a great way to increase ROAS for the long term. A10 will reward your success with better rankings on higher-volume search terms and the virtuous cycle can help you conquer your most-coveted listing spots. And the best part? This process of gaining momentum, if done right, will naturally decrease your ad spend over time as Amazon recognizes your value and works with you to keep your products at the top of consumers’ search results.

Amazon SEO Optimization and More

As an Amazon SEO specialist, Pattern knows how to help your brand win better success for long-term profitability on Amazon. With our data-driven tools and brilliant teams of ecommerce experts, we help brands with listing management, content optimization, Amazon ad strategies, and more.

Contact us to learn more about our SEO optimization services.

Sept 20, 2022

Global Ecommerce Weekly News: 20th September 2022

Get up to date with this week's ecommerce headlines from around the globe. --- Amazon News --- Amazon to raise pay and add extra work benefits for delivery drivers Following the rise in fuel prices and protests by Amazon workers, the ecommerce giant is raising its delivery drivers’ pay and adding more work benefits. Amazon has mentioned that it will be investing $450 million into rate increases along with an education program and a Delivery Service Partners program. [Read more on Charged Retail](https://www.chargedretail.co.uk/2022/09/14/amazon-to-raise-delivery-drivers-pay-and-add-more-work-benefits/) Amazon announces it will give away shipping software to merchants at no cost Amazon has recently announced that it will be giving ecommerce merchants free software to manage shopper orders on and off its platform as it extends its reach. The ecommerce giant will be ending monthly costs for sellers using Veeqo, a shipping software it recently acquired and instead offer to them a new, free shipping software. [Read more on Charged Retail](https://www.chargedretail.co.uk/2022/09/16/amazon-to-give-away-shipping-software-to-merchants/) --- Other Marketplace News --- Walmart unveils new virtual fitting rooms In an effort to drive clothing sales, Walmart has launched virtual fitting rooms while competitors reduce spending amid the cost of living crisis. The virtual try-on tool can be used by Walmart customers to virtually measure the clothing items and see how the products would look on them. Shoppers will now be able to see how over 270,000 clothing items on Walmart’s ecommerce site would look on their bodies. [Read more on Charged Retail](https://www.chargedretail.co.uk/2022/09/15/walmart-launches-virtual-fitting-rooms-to-drive-clothing-sales/?utmsource=Retail+Gazette+Subscribers&utmcampaign=2da7f0f8f8-EMAILCAMPAIGN202209150742&utmmedium=email&utmterm=0d23e2768b6-2da7f0f8f8-61040615) THG slashes sales and profit expectations The Hut Group has slashed its forecasts for 2022 as rising interest rates, inflation and energy costs take a toll on consumers. Previously, THG estimated its sales growth to be between 22-25% but after a recent evaluation, has lowered this prediction to between 10-15%. Initial predictions did not take into account the negative effects of ceasing sales in Russia and Ukraine along with the impact that the cost-of-living has had on consumer spending. [Read more on Charged Retail](https://www.chargedretail.co.uk/2022/09/15/thg-slashes-forecast-as-cost-of-living-crisis-hits-consumers-wallets/) --- Other Ecommerce News --- DHL and Post Office team up to provide click and collect services Through a partnership between delivery company, DHL and Post Office, a new click and collect service is to be tested at Post Offices before rolling out to over 1000 branches across the UK. Online shoppers will now have the option of choosing their local Post Office as a collection point, and DHL will fulfil the delivery aspect, opening up networks for both parties. [Read more on Charged Retail](https://www.chargedretail.co.uk/2022/09/14/post-office-partners-with-dhl-express-to-provide-click-and-collect-services/) US consumer watchdog plans to further regulate the BNPL sector The US Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) has raised concerns regarding the collection of consumer data and the fast-growing nature of the BNPL sector, which includes companies such as Affirm and Klarna. The CFPB is worried that these companies could be negatively impacting consumers’ financial health and aims to put better regulations in place to ensure consumers are safe and empowered. [Read more on Charged Retail](https://www.chargedretail.co.uk/2022/09/16/us-consumer-watchdog-to-start-regulating-bnpl-sector/) Japanese ecommerce market estimated to grow by 6.9% in 2022 The ecommerce market in Japan, largely dominated by domestic online retailers including Reakuten and Mercari, is set to reach $194.3 billion USD in 2022, after seeing an annual compound growth rate of 5.2% between 2018 and 2021. This makes Japan the fourth leading ecommerce market globally, following China, the US, and the UK. [Read more on Charged Retail](https://www.chargedretail.co.uk/2022/09/13/japan-ecommerce-market-to-grow-by-6-9-in-2022/) Ecommerce brands are spending more on TikTok ads TikTok may soon be surpassing Facebook and Google as the most lucrative advertising channel, with ecommerce brands spending 60% more on TikTok ads in Q2. Facebook is still ahead as the top choice for ecommerce advertisers but only grew by 5.6% from Q1, while Google grew 20.5% in Q2, and Snap declined 10.8% in Q2. [Read more on SearchEngineLand](https://searchengineland.com/ecommerce-brands-spent-60-more-on-tiktok-ads-in-q2-387876)