Peak Season Forecast Part I: Black Friday, Cyber Monday and Singles’ Day shopper base to grow ~10% in 2021 – growth-driving newcomers are young, convenience-loving consumers

In this first part of AfterPay Insights’ general Peak Season forecast, we look at the expected size of Peak’s biggest sales events (St. Nicholas, Halloween, Singles’ Day, Black Friday and Cyber Monday) in the Netherlands, Germany, Norway and the United Kingdom. Which sales events are most successful in converting consumers to actually making a purchase? Which events attract most newcomers? And who are they?

Our end of September survey results collected among Dutch, German, Norwegian and British consumers indicates that the awareness of the Peak Season sales has not changed since 2020. But more consumers intend on making a purchase during at least one of the Peak Season sales in 2021.
Newcomers drive Peak Season growth. Particularly Black Friday is successful in converting aware consumers to paying customers in 2021.

The increased shopper base is a result of the increased purchase intentions of ‘newcomers’: shoppers who did not purchase during Peak 2020 but who do intend to shop during Peak 2021. The inflow of these newcomers, with Black Friday attracting most newcomers, will drive overall Peak Season growth in 2021 in all the aforementioned countries.

Looking at the newcomers through a demographic lens, we see that they are younger, more likely to be female and over-represented in the pre-family and family life stages with children at home. These shoppers are evolved online shoppers: they shop online more than other consumers and conduct a larger share of their monthly spend online.Their online shopping behavior is mainly driven by the fact that online shopping is convenient. Newcomers are slightly more price sensitive: even though they would like to increase their overall online shopping, their financial situation limits them from doing so. The convenience and price-awareness aspects are likely the key drivers for these shoppers to increase online Peak Season purchases in 2021.

What do these developments look like per sales event in the Netherlands, Germany, Norway and the United Kingdom? Read on to find out.

The Netherlands: 40% of consumers intend to shop online during Peak ’21, +6% more than ‘20

In the Netherlands, this Peak Season will be dominated by Black Friday as it continues its reign as the King of Sales in 2021, followed by St. Nicholas at 11% and the other events at below 10% each. One quarter of Dutch consumers (26%) state that they intend to purchase on Black Friday this year. This figure measured 21% in 2020 – Black Friday is expected grow significantly in 2021. And the same goes for the other sales event this Peak Season. In total, 40% of Dutch consumers declare that they will purchase on at least one of the sales events this year – an increase of +6% compared to last year.

In terms of converting aware consumers to actual customers, Black Friday takes the lead in the Netherlands: 63% of Dutch consumers are aware of Black Friday and 40% intend to purchase. For Cyber Monday, Singles’ Day and Halloween the conversion rate is around 25%.

Overall, consumers’ awareness of the different sales events has not changed significantly compared to 2020. But the share of consumers who intend to increase purchases has increased, mainly among consumers who did not make a purchase during Peak Season last year (“newcomers”). Looking at the share of ‘newcomers’ we see that they make up 8% of Dutch Black Friday Shoppers in 2021. And 3% of St. Nicholas and Cyber Monday Shoppers are newcomers to those respective sales in 2021. These newcomers drive the overall growth of the Peak Season sale events in the Netherlands.

Besides newcomers, purchases during the sales events are upheld by Peak “loyalists”: 70-75% of Dutch consumers who intend to purchase at an event this year also purchased on the same event last year. For example, among the 26% of consumers who intend to purchase on Black Friday in 2021, 18% also purchased on Black Friday last year. This means that 72% of Black Friday shoppers can be defined as loyal. Loyalty is lowest among Cyber Monday Shoppers, indicating that these consumers see Cyber Monday more as a potentially interesting opportunity than that purchasing during that day is engrained in their intended shopping habits.

Germany: 50% of consumers intend to shop online during Peak ’21, +10% more than in ‘20

Just like in the Netherlands, Black Friday reigns as the King of Sales in Germany during Peak 2021: four out of ten German shoppers (41%) intend to purchase on Black Friday this year, a significant increase from 32% in 2020. Cyber Monday follows Black Friday as the most popular Peak sale to shop at, but the difference in overall size is significant. Overall, 50% of Germans intend to purchase on at least one of the sales events in 2021– an increase of +10% compared to last year.

In terms of converting aware consumers to actual customers, Black Friday also takes the lead in Germany: out of the 73% of German consumers who are aware of Black Friday, 56% intend to purchase. This is the highest conversion rate of any event surveyed across all four countries, although the conversion rates for the other sales events are considerably lower.

Overall, consumers’ awareness of the different sales events has not changed significantly compared to 2020. But the share of consumers who intend to increase purchases has increased, mainly among consumers who did not make a purchase during Peak Season last year (“newcomers”). Newcomers make up 12% of German Black Friday and 5% of Cyber Monday Shoppers in 2021. These newcomers drive the overall growth of the Peak Season sale events in Germany.

Besides newcomers, purchases during the sales events are upheld by Peak “loyalists”: ~70 of German consumers who intend to purchase at an event this year also purchased on the same event last year. For example, among the 41% of consumers who intend to purchase on Black Friday in 2021, 29% also purchased on Black Friday last year. This means that 70% of Black Friday shoppers can be defined as loyal. Loyalty is lowest among Cyber Monday Shoppers, indicating that these consumers see Cyber Monday more as a potentially interesting opportunity than that purchasing during that day is engrained in their intended shopping habits.

Norway: 45% of consumers intend to shop online during Peak ’21, +8% more than ‘20

In Norway, Black Friday is equally big as in Germany: 40% of Norwegian consumers state they will make a purchase. Cyber Monday comes in second place with 11% of shoppers intending to purchase. The other sales events are significantly less attractive to Norwegian consumers: only ~5% of consumers intend to make a purchase. As 32% of Norwegian consumers purchased on Black Friday 2020, the sales event is expected grow substantially in 2021: +8%. The share of consumers who intend to buy at the other sales events is only slightly higher this year. Overall, 45% of Norwegian consumers declare that they will purchase on at least one of the sales events this year – an increase from 37% in 2020.

In terms of converting aware consumers to actual customers, Black Friday is successful in Norway: out of 79% of Norwegian consumers who are aware of Black Friday, 40% intend to purchase – a conversion rate of 51%. But significant for Norway are the low conversion rates for Halloween and Singles’ Day at around 15%. These sales events are quite well known, but they are apparently less attractive to Norwegian consumers.

Overall, consumers’ awareness of the different sales events has not changed significantly compared to 2020. But the share of consumers who intend to increase purchases has increased, mainly among newcomers who did not make a purchase during Peak Season last year. Newcomers make up 11% of Norwegian Black Friday and 5% of Cyber Monday Shoppers in 2021. These newcomers drive the overall growth of the Peak Season sale events in Norway.



Besides newcomers, purchases during the sales events are upheld by Peak “loyalists”: ~65-75 of Norwegian consumers who intend to purchase at a Peak Season event this year also purchased on the same event last year. For example, among the 40% of consumers who intend to purchase on Black Friday in 2021, 30% also purchased on Black Friday last year. This means that 73% of Black Friday shoppers can be defined as loyal. Loyalty is lowest among Cyber Monday Shoppers, indicating that these consumers see Cyber Monday more as a potential interesting opportunity than that purchasing during that day is engrained in their intended shopping habits.

United Kingdom: 47% of consumers intend to shop online during Peak ’21, +8% more than ‘20

Of all Peak Season sales in the United Kingdom, Black Friday is largest: three out of ten British shoppers (30%) intend to purchase on Black Friday in 2021, a significant increase from 24% in 2020. The other sales events during Peak 2021 are significantly less attractive to British consumers. In total, 47% of British shoppers declare that they will purchase on at least one of the sales events this year – an increase of +8% from 2020.

In terms of converting aware consumers to actual customers, Black Friday is successful in the United Kingdom: out of 76% British consumers who are aware of Black Friday, 40% intend to purchase – a conversion rate of 40%. Cyber Monday has the lowest conversion rate in the United Kingdom at 20%; the sale is relatively unattractive to consumers (as of September 2021).

Overall, consumers’ awareness of the different sales events has not changed significantly compared to 2020. But the share of consumers who intend to increase purchases has increased, mainly among newcomers who did not make a purchase during Peak Season last year. Newcomers make up 9% of British Black Friday and 5% of Cyber Monday Shoppers – half of all Cyber Monday Shoppers in 2021. These newcomers drive the overall growth of the Peak Season sale events in the United Kingdom.

Besides newcomers, purchases during the sales events are upheld by Peak “loyalists”: ~70-80% of British consumers who intend to purchase at a Peak Season event this year also purchased on the same event last year. For example, among the 40% of consumers who intend to purchase on Black Friday in 2021, 21% also purchased on Black Friday last year. This means that 70% of Black Friday shoppers can be defined as loyal. Loyalty is lowest among Cyber Monday Shoppers, indicating that these consumers see Cyber Monday more as a potentially interesting opportunity than that purchasing during that day is engrained in their intended shopping habits.

What is next?

In Part II of the AfterPay Insights Peak Season Forecast we will talk about the products that consumers intend to buy online during each sales event, as well as a mini deep dive into Fashion during Peak. Stay tuned!