Black Friday: 2015 vs. 2016 Stats & Trends

Dec 2, 2016
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Even with the madness of Black Friday and Cyber Monday behind them, retailers are busier than ever gearing up for a promising holiday season. To help retailers maximize their learnings from the past week, we opened up the Performance Horizon data vault to compare Black Friday activity from 2015 and 2016.  While we are using hard data, we are keeping the analysis light.

We analyzed a few key areas—sales, transactions, time of day, and device—over Black Friday and the four days leading up to Black Friday. Here’s what we learned so far:

Sales

1. 2016 sales over the five days up to and including Black Friday more than doubled over 2015 (217% of 2015). On Black Friday, we peaked at over $1,000 in online sales per second driven by marketing partners. When looking at the average for the whole Friday, we saw that 2015 sales per second had more than tripled in 2016 (by 325% to be precise.)  

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2. Sales on Black Friday alone accounted for over 50% of the revenue from the entire period in 2016, compared to just 40% the previous year. This suggests that companies are offering fewer pre-Black Friday deals and keep Black Friday as their main event. This is probably a result of many omni-channel retailers keeping their brick & mortar and their “online doors” closed on Thursday.

Day on Day Sales Change3. The graph on the left shows the relative sales development for the whole five days. Sales over the five days in 2016 versus 2015 show similar behavior by remaining relatively flat with explosive growth on Black Friday. Based on this data, we could expect that in 2017, Thanksgiving can remain a family holiday rather than a shopping day, at least in the US.

Transactions

1. 2016 transactions over the five days up to and including Black Friday almost doubled over 2015 (196% of 2015). On Black Friday, the average number of transactions roughly doubled over the 2015 values (by 233% to be precise). This means the average basket value (ABV) increased at a higher rate than the number of transactions.

5 Day Transactions Final

2. Black Friday transactions in 2016 equaled the transactions of the four previous days (exactly 50%), compared to just 40% the previous year. This further supports the above analysis that companies are offering fewer pre-Black Friday deals and that the focus remains on Black Friday.

Day on Day Transaction Change3. The graph to the left shows the relative transaction development for the whole five days. The transactions on the five days in 2016 versus 2015 show similar behavior by remaining relatively flat with explosive growth on Black Friday.  Similar to the sales results, we could extrapolate this data for 2017 to mean that Thanksgiving can remain a family holiday, not a shopping day.

Time of Day: Midnight Craze

Percentage of Total Daily Sales From Midnight to 2AM

Even though there’s a strong focus on offering deals on Friday itself instead of slowly increasing deal availability into Thursday, the percentage of total daily sales from midnight to 2 am reveals that consumers don’t wake up in the middle of the night to shop for deals. So rest easy on Thursday night! 

Device Usage

Device Usage Final

2016 saw only a seemingly modest 5% increase in mobile conversions over 2015.  However, considering the absolute number of conversions, mobile activity grew by a spectacular 209% (309% of 2015).  Developing great consumer experiences on mobile and enabling a fast path to conversion will be critical before the next Black Friday hits, a short 51 weeks from now.

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