The Cyber Monday and Black Friday Post Mortem

As the two biggest shopping days of the year, Black Friday and Cyber Monday can make or break many brands’ final quarter or even entire year. To prepare marketers for the rest of the holiday season and provide a summary of this year’s major shopping days, we analyzed Black Friday and Cyber Monday data from 2014 and 2015 from Yesmail clients spanning a variety of verticals including Retail, CPG, Hospitality, Consumer Services, Financial Services and more.  
Below are some highlights from our analysis.  

Finally…Great delivery rates on key shopping days: average delivery rate across Yesmail clients for both Cyber Monday and Black Friday was 99%. 
Many brands do not typically follow deliverability best practices and expand their mailing volumes and frequency suddenly and aggressively. This typically causes bulking or even blacklisting at major ESPs like Gmail, Yahoo!, Aol, and Hotmail which precludes emails from landing in their intended recipients’ inboxes. The 99% average delivery rate Yesmail clients achieved is a testament to the importance of having a dedicated deliverability team in charge of your mailing strategy.

Email volume increased as email-driven purchases made a killing: Cyber Monday email volume jumped by 87% from 2014 to 2015 while Black Friday’s grew by 31%. 
Perhaps not surprisingly, the number of email-driven purchases for both Cyber Monday and Black Friday also grew. What could be surprising is the growth rate they exhibited. Email-driven orders on Cyber Monday more than doubled year-over-year while email-driven orders placed on Black Friday grew an astounding 1.5 times from 2014.

Similarly, email-driven revenue for both Black Friday and Cyber Monday more than doubled with Black Friday revenue growth still slightly outpaced that of Cyber Monday. The reason this is notable is that, while Black Friday email volume grew only by 31% (as opposed to Cyber Monday’s 87%), the orders and revenue generated by emails on that day more than doubled year-over-year.

Here’s why this finding is particularly interesting…
According to ShopperTrack, in-store Black Friday revenue has decreased by over $1 billion year-over-year and by, but at the same time ecommerce on Black Friday registered unparalleled growth. With so many retailers offering the same Black Friday deals and discounts both in-store and online, people likely opted for the convenience of ecommerce. This could also account for the fact that Black Friday demonstrated even larger annual growth than Cyber Monday, both in number of orders and revenue. 
With the rise of online in consumer preference and behavior, Black Friday could, in the near future, shift to ecommerce instead of its traditional brick-and-mortar environment.

Black Friday is for mobile, Cyber Monday – not so much: In 2015, 47% of Cyber Monday emails were clicked on a mobile device, up 20% from 2014 while 55% of Black Friday emails were clicked on a mobile device, up 18% from 2014. 
While the use of mobile is growing consistently for both days, the discrepancy in mobile activity between Black Friday and Cyber Monday is very interesting. In both 2014 and 2015, consumers opened and clicked on emails from their mobile devices CONSIDERABLY more on Black Friday. 
The answer: context.
Black Friday is an official holiday when most consumers are largely off work/school and are spending time with their families. On that day, they’re typically not sitting at a desk or in front of a computer, but are enjoying their time off (either in front of the TV with their smartphone or tablet in hand, or on-the-go with their smartphone in hand.) Contrastingly, Cyber Monday is the first day after the holiday weekend when consumers are back to work (or school), some of them at a desk, in front of a computer, just in time to take advantage of the online deals brands have been promoting. 

Author Bio

Ivy Shtereva

As a Director of marketing at Yes Lifecycle Marketing, Ivy is responsible for multichannel strategy and implementation across the email, database, web, and direct marketing channels. She is dedicated to improving the quantity and quality of incoming leads through a combination of quality content, effective communication strategy, and timely follow-up. Ivy is committed to making Yes Lifecycle Marketing the undisputed thought leader in the industry when it comes to executable digital recommendations and has made significant strides to achieving this goal by authoring Yes Lifecycle Marketing's one-of-a-kind quarterly benchmark reports. In her free time, Ivy loves to travel to obscure US destinations to capture the true ‘local taste’ of every state (as long as meat is not involved). She’s an avid Chicago Bears fan and consistently exhibits Bears bias in setting her fantasy football lineups.