Recapping Black Friday and Cyber Week 2020: E-commerce reaches new heights as consumer inflow grows +10% compared to last year - seasonal ‘Toys’ purchases explode

New research data covering the Black/Cyber Week (interviews conducted November 26th to December 6th) is now available in our dashboard. Compared to mid-March, e-commerce purchases grow to +86% in the Netherlands, +70% in Norway and +50% in Germany.

‘Toys’ is the product category that grows most in November – this is likely due to gift shopping for the holiday season. In the Netherlands, online growth in Toys is at +87% at the end of October and is now at +355% (compared to mid-March). In Norway, online purchases in Toys increase from +77% at the end of October to +206% at the end of November. And in Germany online Toys purchases grow from +36% to +189% after November. The only other category that shows triple digit growth across all three countries is Home deco/Furniture - the bulk of that growth also comes from the Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales.

German and Norwegian consumers act on their purchase intentions during Black/Cyber Week; Dutch consumers act more spontaneous

The share of consumers who intend to purchase on Black Friday and/or Cyber Monday is stable from the first half of September up until mid-November (just preceding the sales). There is no significant growth in purchase intent over time, so consumers know early on if they are going to shop during Black Friday and/or Cyber Monday, or not.

However, we do see a significant difference in intention to buy and actually buying between the Netherlands, Germany and Norway. In Norway, 48% state they intend to buy on Black Friday and/or Cyber Monday just before the event, while 49% ends up actually buying. And in Germany, intention also lines up with actual behavior as 40% states they would buy and 43% actually purchases. But in the Netherlands, 31% of Dutch consumers intend to buy just before the event – and 42% of consumers end up making a purchase.

Interestingly, the more spontaneous (or less planning) nature of Dutch consumers is also evident if we look at Christmas gifts purchases. At the turn of November we see that only 53% of Dutch consumers buys Christmas gifts, buying Christmas gifts. And the corresponding share among Norwegian and German consumers is 34% and 29% respectively.

The more spontaneous nature of Dutch consumers (and more planning nature of German and Norwegian consumers) is also validated across other multi-country value surveys conducted by various research institutes. And in addition, our previous research also shows that the general share of online purchases that are spontaneous is around 40% of all Dutch consumers’ purchases and 35% among Norwegian and German consumers’ purchases – with the remaining share being planned purchases.

Black/Cyber Week gain +10% and lose -5% in consumers

In general, we can conclude that Black/Cyber Week manages to attract another +10% of all consumers this year - that did not shop on Black/Cyber Week last year. But at the same time, the event loses about 5% of consumers – that shopped last year but chose not to do so this year. This means that for both Black Friday and Cyber Monday, the net gain in new consumers is about +5% of all consumers, equivalent to about a +10% growth vs last year. And Black/Cyber Week still have a lot of potential, as around 50% of consumers have not yet shopped at the event.

The characteristics of the different Black/Cyber Week shopper segments differ dramatically, and the patterns are consistent across all three countries.

Potential Shoppers is oldest in terms of demographical composition: the mean age is 52 years old, and only 17% of shoppers are aged 18-34. As a consequence only 27% in this group have children living at home and a significant share are retired. It is also the only of the four groups that is male dominant (52% males/48% females). This segment makes the majority of purchases in brick-and-mortar stores, and therefore has the lowest share of total spend in online stores.

Loyal Shoppers is the youngest segment: shoppers are aged 41 years old on average, and 40% are aged 18-34 years old. In line with New and Lost Shoppers, they are female dominant (55% females/45% males). What signify loyal shoppers is their shortage of spare time: 43% have kids at home and they contain the largest share of consumers that work full-time. Because of this, they have the highest disposable income and they are the most digital group: 49% of their total spend is conducted online.

New Shoppers and Lost Shoppers are quite similar in profile: both slightly more female dominant but older than Loyal Shoppers with a mean age of 45 years old. 35% of the consumers in these segments have kids at home. Both of these segments are equally digital in terms of expenditure offline vs offline, with the exception that new shoppers are more driven by the flexibility of online and the good prices – something that has to be considered for merchants to sustain loyalty in this space.

What is next?

Stay tuned for an end of year recap.