We’re here in the middle of Cyber Weekend, from Thanksgiving Day all the way through Cyber Monday.
As the headlines show, ecommerce is growing at a rapid clip year over year worldwide, and this weekend is one of the biggest signals of that growth.
Research shows that Black Friday brick and mortar store visits dropped 9% last year, while ecommerce sales increased 23%. In 2018, $6.22 billion was spend on Black Friday, and more is expected in 2019.
This is a big boon for ecommerce retailers, at the cost to traditional brick and mortar stores.
And while these numbers are showing growth in favor of ecommerce, we do have to keep these numbers in context with overall sales. Black Friday sales hit $717.5 billion in 2018, up 4.3% from the $682 billion spent in 2017. This is a huge amount, and ecommerce actually only makes up about $6.2 billion of that number.
Mobile is Growing - and No Slowdown in Sight
Historically smartphone traffic and sales has still lagged behind desktop numbers, as consumers weren’t comfortable with making purchase decisions on their phones. But that’s changed in recent years.
One report from Adobe Analytics shows that in 2018, 67% of all digital traffic generated on Black Friday came from mobile devices, compared to 61% in 2017. This is huge, it’s not only a 10% increase year-over-year, but solidly puts mobile usage in the firm majority of traffic.
How does this apply to business owners? One takeaway for business owners is to always try to improve site loading speeds, as one study showed that a 1 second speed delay could cost Amazon up to $1.6 billion in revenue. You’re not going to risk that amount if you run a small to medium-sized business, but the impact is real.
Mobile may still be more of a browsing and research experience when compared to desktop, however, as the volume and value of orders still skew towards desktop.
Another research report from National Retail Federation found 66% of all American consumers used mobile devices to compare products and prices in the weekend following Thanksgiving. Although that’s impressive, BigCommerce found that desktop orders averaged $122.37, smartphones orders averaged $88.25 and tablet orders averaged $107.06.
This shows that bigger orders are still happening through the desktop, which is an important note.
Does social media actually drive traffic and sales, or just selfies?
There’s been a shift in the last decade, with many consumers relying on social media to inform buying decisions and become a key part of the sales process.
For example, Global Webindex shows that 42% of U.S. and U.K. shoppers now research brands, products and services through social media sites before making a purchase on Black Friday and throughout the year. Here the data is showing just how important social media is to the buying cycle.
And looking deeper into the social networks market share, we see there’s a huge domination by Facebook-owned properties over all other social media platforms. The National Retail Federation revealed that 17% of all U.S. shoppers used Facebook to make Black Friday purchases in 2018, while 9% used Instagram, 4% used Pinterest and 4% used Twitter.
We expect this trend to continue next year and into the foreseeable future.
Small Business Takeaways
Compared to big brands with huge budgets, small businesses need to be resourceful and scrappy.
Small businesses need to make do with less. Often that means wearing many hats as managers, or building their own site without professionals. Small businesses can’t spend money that doesn’t have a purpose and ROI attached to it.
Given this situation, we think that smaller companies selling online should research these ecommerce statistics thoroughly and create an action plan for applying the lessons on their own site. Managers shouldn’t try to apply all of these at once, but practically adapt them for their own business.
While some claim that they don’t fall for the Cyber Week sales, research shows that 86% shoppers are planning to take part in Black Friday, Cyber Monday or other pre-Christmas sales in 2019.
Take a look at the infographic below and use the data for making business decisions in 2019, 2020, and beyond!
Infographic source: Whats The Host