Black Friday and Cyber Monday are without a doubt the biggest shopping events of the year, with people around the world looking for the best bargains. Retailers begin offering early Black Friday deals throughout the first weeks of November, ramping up as the big day nears. Then Cyber Monday arrives, sending the sales into yet another week. According to Adobe, Cyber Monday in the USA is expected to remain the year’s biggest shopping day, driving a record $11.2 billion in spending, increasing 5.1% YoY. By comparison, Black Friday online sales are projected to grow by just 1% YoY at $9 billion.
Black Friday vs. Cyber Monday
In recent years consumer behavior has shifted with many buyers preferring to spread their shopping out over the entire season. Thus, the line between the two deal days has blurred, with retailers offering the same deals throughout the whole week — and even before and after.
What is Black Friday?
Black Friday has been around longer than Cyber Monday. It's often the busiest shopping day of the year because it kicks off the holiday season. Its roots go back to the 20th century when police in Philadelphia started using the term "Black Friday" to refer to heavy, disruptive traffic on the day after Thanksgiving. The term spread and businesses latched onto it. Having a profitable Black Friday is crucial for many retailers as almost 30% of annual retail sales occur between Black Friday and Christmas.
What is Cyber Monday?
Cyber Monday, is the Monday after the Black Friday weekend. It gives shoppers the last chance to snatch up great deals. The term “Cyber Monday” was coined in 2005 by the National Retail Federation (NRF), which needed a name for the flurry of online sales that occurs the Monday after Thanksgiving. It's traditionally when online retailers take over. Buyers go from in-store shopping on Black Friday to their smartphones looking for amazing savings. In fact, 37% of digital sales on Cyber Monday were made on mobile devices in 2020. The days which follow Cyber Monday are commonly referred to as "Cyber Week."
What will Black Friday and Cyber Monday 2022 reveal about consumer behavior?
The changes brought about by the last few years are here to stay. And it’s becoming ever more important for brands to meet customers where they are, adapt to the platforms where they’re shopping and deliver the personalized experiences they expect. Online-only shopping makes up the bulk of customer behavior during Black Friday and Cyber Monday (56%) — and so, there aren’t as many queues in front of shops anymore. According to research by Emarsys, seeking the biggest discounts (41%), taking advantage of free returns (37%) and grabbing deals early (28%) are top priorities for consumers this season.
Key factors affecting this holiday shopping season
According to Statista, more than half of U.S. and Canadian consumers are intending to cut back on their Black Friday and Christmas shopping spending to varying degrees due to the impact of rising inflation rates. With fewer health and safety concerns this year but more worries around inflation and rising prices, where does that leave Black Friday and Cyber Monday 2022?
Sales will stretch out over a longer period
Shoppers are counting on discounts to provide much-needed relief. Early shopping helps customers spread out their spending and spare their holiday budgets. Research by Salesforce found that 42% more shoppers worldwide plan to start buying gifts earlier this year. While shopping sprees leading up to Black Friday are nothing new, inflation will be the key factor driving early purchases this year. Retailers like Target are picking up on this trend allowing shoppers to request a price match if an item they buy goes on sale for less later in the season.While shopping sprees leading up to Black Friday are nothing new, inflation will be the key factor driving early purchases this year. Retailers like Target are picking up on this trend allowing shoppers to request a price match if an item they buy goes on sale for less later in the season.
Rise of Buy Online, Pick-Up in Store
Buy Online, Pick-Up in Store (BOPIS) continues to be a popular option for shoppers this holiday season. In fact, this form of purchasing more than doubled in 2020 and will continue to grow until 2024. This omnichannel model brings together the convenience of shopping online while giving buyers the ability to go to the store and collect their items at a time and date that’s most convenient for them. For retailers, it’s also an opportunity to up-sell and cross-sell as 70% of consumers collecting or returning parcels make impulse in-store purchases.
Price will matter more
In the past few years, shoppers gravitated towards frictionless experiences, but in 2022, they will go a step ahead. While looking for comfort and convenience, consumers are extremely price-conscious this year. In fact, according to research by Salesforce, nearly half of all shoppers will ditch their regular brands for a lower-priced competitor. That means that 2.5 billion shoppers might decide against a product in favor of one that better fits their budget. To avoid having to compete on low prices alone, retailers should generate buzz by providing exclusive or limited items, offering loyalty programs or focusing on features such as product sustainability.
Supply chain disruptions could resurface
Last year, product shortages and shipping delays led to a challenging holiday shopping season. During November 2021, out of stock messages were up by 169% compared to pre-pandemic levels. In 2022, soaring fuel prices are piling up on top of the existing global shipping issues. From domestic labor shortages to limited supplies of shipping containers, some items may not make it in time for Christmas. However, earlier and longer-lasting shopping deals will hopefully help prevent disruptions. Retailers may be better prepared to avoid empty shelves this time around. Many have planned ahead by looking for local suppliers to supplement their inventory and adjusting their ordering strategies to compensate for possible hiccups.
More payment options: Buy Now Pay Later
Buy Now Pay Later (BNPL) purchases increased 230% since the beginning of 2020. High demand for BNPL services will make it a popular payment option this Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Over the past couple of years, more and more retailers started partnering with companies that allow shoppers to pay for a purchase in installments. These types of payment programs used to be exclusively available for larger investment-type purchases, but now shoppers can pay for a $50 jacket in installments. Retailers that offer a BNPL option are expected to enjoy a conversion rate uplift of between 20% to 30%.
Why a PIM system is crucial for Black Friday and Cyber Monday
On Black Friday and Cyber Monday more than ever, it’s essential that your brand’s product content is consistent across all your channels. The quality of your product information informs the consumer’s experience with your brand, and in this holiday shopping season, impressions are everything. Shoppers looking for the best deal will quickly move on if your product content is insufficient.
Updating and expanding a product catalog is a heavy-duty process that involves adding new products from suppliers and manufacturers, updating hundreds of SKUs on multiple channels, onboarding digital assets and creating engaging product descriptions. This can be a lot, especially given that the holiday season lasts no more than two months.
But as you're dealing with high volumes of complex data from various sources and managing seasonal changes (like special prices and increased stock numbers), a PIM system can put an end to your product data chaos and help you respond to quickly changing customer demands.
The right PIM system enables brands to:
- Import, integrate and consolidate product data from multiple sources such as ERP, CRM, Data Pools, DAM supplier and vendor sources and other file systems to a single repository
- Validate and clean product data to improve quality and completeness
- Optimize the SEO of product pages on various distribution channels
- Establish all the necessary processes to transform product data into trustworthy product information ready to be distributed to a wide range of channels
- Localize and enrich product content to meet globalization demands
Taking all the above trends together, the overall lesson is that businesses need to carefully calibrate their holiday season offering by adapting to consumers’ behaviors, preferences and concerns and showing an understanding of exactly what and how they want to buy. Focusing on relationship-building instead of one-time transactions can mean that the efforts made on Black Friday and Cyber Monday will bring rewards long after the holidays are over. Part of preparing for next year will involve analyzing which products sold where and when and for what prices. But to gain these kinds of insights, brands need to keep tight control over product content.