Insights Insights | October 7, 2015

How Marketers Can Prepare for Black Friday & Cyber Monday

As soon as the last piece of turkey is eaten, families that chose to close Thanksgiving with a little get together, have now switched to browsing online for the best deals, or navigate retail stores for the best offers.

That’s right, Black Friday is now the busiest shopping day of the year and marks the unofficial start of Christmas shopping season. It’s no longer a one day activity, as most retailers extend their offers throughout the weekend until the following week. With Cyber Monday trailing Black Friday, we have seen some interesting similarities in purchase patterns and consumer behaviour.

So it’s important for marketers to know what their consumers want, to make sure that their store, brand or offer is top of mind on this big shopping day. Using our proprietary analytical engine AiQ, we examined our audience data across US & the UK to understand what shoppers are looking to purchase, what devices are they using to look for deals, and how retail marketers can prepare for Black Friday and Cyber Monday.

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In 2014, Black Friday sales saw a 6x rise in sales when compared to sales on a regular Friday. Consumers were online early to look for offers and deals, as our research showed 3x uplift four days before the event across retail stores.

Though the sales and purchase activity saw a slight dip post Black Friday, it picked up again with Cyber Monday sales, where we saw a 3x uplift in purchase behavior.Black Friday Links-06

Black Friday Links-02In trying to capture consumers’ attention,  most retailers have begun opening their shops by 6 pm in the evening. That’s even before families have had their Thanksgiving turkey!

Online traffic peaked at 9 am on Black Friday last year, with sales starting early, and shoppers wanting to get ahead of the queues to grab the best deals over the five popular days of shopping.

Lunch time saw a significant peak with 1.00 PM being the second most popular hour after 10.00 AM on Black Friday. Similar patterns were observed on Cyber Monday where the morning and noon hours showed peaks in online traffic.

We also found that 60% of users checked out within ten minutes of adding items to the basket, while 90% users checked out within an hour, with transaction pages peaking at 10.00AM. This goes to show how early shoppers start shopping, and how consumers want to maximize on the best deals.

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Black Friday Links-03While looking at what consumers used for Black Friday searches, we found that mobile devices were driving most conversions. Our data indicated that 60% of consumers used mobile devices for purchase as well as for price comparison.  Mobile phones were preferred over tablets as well, as traffic on phones was 2x more than tablets.

We also found that 1 in 3 users bought an item on their smartphone on Black Friday. As far as device preference is concerned, we’ve seen that consumers clearly preferred Apple products as iOS users generated more traffic than Android.

Black Friday Links-04Who’s preparing to shop on Black Friday? And what ‘s on the top of their minds?

We looked at our data from AiQ, and found that while majority of men and women used Black Friday as an opportunity to buy Christmas gifts not all consumers planned their X-mas purchases so much in advance.

And, while Christmas gifts and gift cards were the leading products searched for, a majority of women looked for bargains on fashion. We also saw that both men and women picked up electronic items of their choice, something that they had been stalling in the anticipation of this sale.

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Black Friday Links-15Fashion

When split by gender, women shoppers were most likely to look for bargains on jackets (33%) and shoes (50%). That’s not all. Shawls and scarves were preferred over gloves, with gloves being a smaller purchase item. Men on the other hand, were mostly inclined towards the purchase of shoes.

Home & Furnishing

In the home and furnishing department, kitchen ware and utilities like food processors, juicers, coffee, and tableware were 2 times more popular than other categories. Dining tables and armchairs were the most preferred furniture for the season.


When looking at electronic purchases we found that smartphones (33%) and gaming consoles (23%) generated maximum user interest. Consumers searched for cameras and Ebooks 27% more than they searched for other electronic items. Apple’s Black Friday deal was the most trending content. It was clearly the brand of choice, as Apple’s RED offered minor discounts around Black Friday, and even Apple resellers offered big discounts.

Black Friday Links-10In examining this year’s pre-Black Friday activity, our data indicates that iPhones are 24% more popular than Samsung Galaxy at majority retail stores this season. iPhones are 7.5 times more searched for than iPads and is 6.5 times more preferred than iPods. When it comes to cameras and gaming consoles, cameras are 28% more searched for than Xbox and gaming consoles, with Zuiko Camera Lense trending this season. In terms of fashion, skirts and dresses are 3 times more popular than denims, and consumers are actively searching for jackets as well.

Black Friday Links-11Black Friday Links-12Weather can play a significant part in driving more online sales over the Black Friday weekend. Data from our analytical engine – AiQ has time and again seen that there is 5% more likelihood of users buying online on rainy or cold days.

Black Friday Links-13General chaos at retail stores in the past years can act as another deterrent in shopping at stores this year. This means online retailers need to focus on more marketing spends and programmatic advertising strategies.

Black Friday Links-14And finally, consumers prefer these ‘virtual stores’ as they have better deals. And with smarter devices like smartphones and tablets at their fingertips, consumers prefer spending lesser time in queues, thereby enabling a boost in online shopping.

With Black Friday and Cyber Monday just a few weeks away, it will be interesting to see how this shopping weekend plays out and how retail marketers get the right programmatic advertising strategy in place for the maximum ROI.


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