While online spending increased by 2.3% year on year (YoY) this Black Friday, pandemic disturbance once again gave way to new economic turmoil for brands and shoppers in 2022, leading to another unique festive shopping period.
According to Google Trends, in the UK, Black Friday interest has been going down 14% YoY, this year seeing the lowest level of interest in the last five years. In this blog, we’ve gathered some of the key learnings from this year’s peak shopping season, exploring the evolution of Black Friday, the key search terms used throughout, and how retail giant, Amazon, fared.
The evolution of Black Friday
Since its origins in the 1950s, Black Friday and the extended cyber weekend have grown to become the biggest dates in the retail calendar. This year, online records were broken with $9.1 billion spent on Black Friday according to Adobe Analytics. Shopify also reported record breaking sales, with Shopify merchants seeing a peak of $3.5 million sales per minute at midday on Black Friday.
This sales period continues to expand its reach with many retailers extending their Black Friday sales to days, weeks and even months surrounding the key Friday. This year, 52% of consumers started their festive shopping earlier, and the so-called ‘Super Saturday’ landed earlier this year on the 17th of December.
Changing consumer shopping habits
Back in 2020, the effects of the pandemic allowed ecommerce to reign king as 45% of UK adults received more parcel deliveries during lockdown than before, and Amazon reported its biggest shopping day in history.
Additionally, this year, in-store shopping visits increased by 2.9% compared to 2021, and high street footfall was up 13.9% YoY in the UK on Black Friday, seeing increases in ‘near me’ searches on Black Friday and mid-day Saturday. Shoppers are slowly returning to a ‘new normal’ with increased confidence for shopping in physical stores whilst still continuing to shop online in this hybrid style.
Another change in behaviour was brought about by this year’s economic uncertainty, with ‘by now, pay later’ orders increasing by 78%, and revenues through this method of payment rising by 81% in 2022. Further, prominent themes of this year’s festive shopping period included greater investment in social commerce, a rise in mobile purchases, as well as a growing demand for personalisation. You can read more about 2022’s holiday marketing insights in Croud’s Holiday marketing guide.
Top Black Friday search terms for 2022
There was no sign of Black Friday interest dwindling on Amazon as the marketplace mammoth posted “record breaking revenue”, lining themselves up as the cheapest online retailer in the U.S for the 6th consecutive year. Third-party Amazon sellers alone generated over $1 billion across the promotional window, with exact figures to be announced in Q1 2023.
Rising inflation and shaky consumer confidence painted an uncertain backdrop for Amazon this year. Analysts speculated that Black Friday would fall flat, yet we’ve seen Amazon sellers perform well on this marketplace that’s geared for product discoverability and is already synonymous with discounts, thanks to the record breaking Amazon Prime Days this year alone.
With shoppers increasingly wary of dubious Black Friday discounts as also shown by Which?, Amazon remained the most trusted retailer leading into this year’s Black Friday. According to the independent analyst firm Profitero, the marketplace giant offered an average 14% lower prices across all categories compared to major retailers last year.
Top Amazon categories
Amazon declared the top selling categories as home, toys and apparel. Although Amazon hasn’t yet released specific figures, they have indicated a marked shift in changing consumption, with beauty & personal care more prominently featured on their Black Friday deals and promotions page over more giftable electronics, computers and wider discretionary categories.
Within gifting, browsers were more likely to shop for domestic holiday prep items and decorations than last year, with increased orders across lights, wreaths and garlands.
Cyber Monday growth
Shoppers were discount-hunting but felt less urgency this Black Friday than previous years. This led to greatest revenue growth occurring during the latter half, as Cyber Monday revenue growth (+5.8% YoY) outstripped Black Friday itself (+2.3% YoY) which is likely to be mirrored on Amazon for the first time.
We believe this is due to the fact that Amazon has provided plenty of saving opportunities for discount-hungry shoppers, with the latest Prime Day promotions occurring as recently as last month. As the cost of living crisis worsens across markets, we believe this represents a shift in consumer expectations. Rather than being limited to short promotional windows, consumers are getting used to ever expanding promotions and promotional windows.
Revenue up but margins squeezed
Beyond top-level reports on YoY Amazon growth, brands are wary of the underlying economic conditions and consumer confidence.
Participating in Black Friday and implementing Amazon advertising has led to an increase in visibility and incremental revenue growth across Croud’s client portfolio.
However, this Black Friday has shown us that brands need to take a more comprehensive approach to their Amazon strategy. YoY revenue growth isn’t enough. Brands need to balance growing inventory, supply chain and associated costs in addition to the damage inflation is having on revenue growth and purchasing power.
We’ll be keeping a close eye on Amazon’s financials when released in full in Q1 2023. Amazon sellers have performed well, and there is further opportunity to expand market share whilst also focusing on profitability and margin of safety.
If you’d like to know more about how Croud can help with your holiday marketing strategy, get in touch with our team.