Results from Black Friday & Cyber Monday 2021: get a first look at Amazon Advertising performance during the 2021 Black Friday to Cyber Monday holiday shopping period.
Get a first look at Amazon Advertising performance during the 2021 Black Friday to Cyber Monday holiday shopping period. See how your performance stacks up against the benchmarks, as we take a deep dive into the largest dataset of Amazon Advertising metrics, based on hundreds of Pacvue advertisers across categories.
Cyber 5 2021 Recap
- Cyber 5 growth falls flat.
- Shoppers headed online this year.
- Inventory issues led to fewer deals & longer shipping times.
- Cyber 5 is now Cyber Month.
- Livestreams with influencers & celebrities continue to grow.
Cyber 5 CPC Data Key Takeaways
- Spend increased YoY, though at a more modest growth than previous years.
- Ad spend on Cyber Monday declined YoY for the first time for both Sponsored Products and Sponsored Brands.
- CPCs increased earlier in the lead-in to Black Friday than previous years, Thanksgiving Day itself saw CPCs up 38% week-over-week for Sponsored Products.
Good morning or afternoon, depending on where everyone is doing today’s webinar and welcome to Pacvue’s Cyber Five CPC webinar, so just a friendly reminder, today’s webinar is being recorded and will be sent out next week along with a copy of the presentation, should you have any questions throughout today’s webinar, feel free to add them to the Q and A box, and we’ll do our best to answer your questions at the conclusion of the presentation, so that being said, just kind of a brief intro from our side… My name is Ben Ryan Schwartz, and I am the Director of Retail partnerships here at Pacvue. I am thrilled to be making my debut and joining everyone here today to talk all about Cyber Five, and I’m joined by my colleague and one of our sales directors, Debbie Levin. Debbie over to you.
Well, hey everybody, thanks Ben. Nice to see everybody here. So glad you guys could join us and looking forward to sharing what we have found in the Cyber Five findings from the weekend.
Well, awesome, so I guess as we kick things off today, I just kinda wanna give you a quick recap of this, year’s Cyber Five weekend before diving into some key takeaways and then obviously jumping into the data before wrapping it up with our Q and A. For those of you attending your first webinar with Pacvue…Pacvue is the leading enterprise platform for brand sellers and agencies looking to manage e-commerce advertising across the 30 plus retailers that we work with by combining holistic performance with recommended actions. So I feel like I need a drumroll for this. How did Cyber Five perform? I think thats kind of why everyone is coming here today… Well, I think it actually was super interesting, so no, contrary to expectations, growth was mostly flat this year with US online consumers spending around 34 billion dollars, which was actually 1.4% less than the year prior. So as the team here at Pacvue, as you kind of dove further into the data provided by the National Retail Federation, shoppers actually spent $301.27 For online purchases compared to $311.75 and $361.90 in 2020 and 2019, respectively. One thing that I think is super interesting and maybe not a lot of folks are thinking about this year is obviously the impact of inflation, and so
I think one potential factor, maybe perhaps why things were slightly flat this year is because retailers actually lowered the…They actually lowered the discount amounts this holiday season, the actual range wasn’t as wide as it was in years previous… So for example, I read it in the Financial Times, retailers discounted prices this year, between 5% and 25% compared to 10-30% in years prior, and so I think for us as consumers, higher prices mean shoppers have to be savvier with your purchases, I know I am, I’m in the process of moving and I’m trying to figure out how do I stretch my dollar that much further. On the flip side though, in a win for brick and mortar stores, foot traffic actually increased 61% over 2020, according… According to software provider Retail Next, I definitely think… Maybe Deb, you agree, you know that the increase can be attributed to re-openings across the country compared to last year’s lock downs, as you said, you obviously went into the stores this year, you know that being said, Despite the increase, in store traffic was still 27% below the levels that we saw in 2019 pre-pandemic. And then of course, as expected, Black Friday is and always will be moving forward is still the most popular day for physical in-store shopping with the US retailers seeing 66.5 million shoppers according to the National Retail Federation.
So all that being said, e-commerce is now the largest driver for Black Friday shopping with physical doorbuster sales, of course, falling behind. Well, while retailers have been projecting confidence in their respected inventory levels for peak events, like Black Friday brands definitely took a more cautious approach. I know we kind of saw that here with some of our clients, I’d say the brands with great inventory positions adopted a more offensive stance, and we’re really aggressive this year, I think, in obtaining sales by running deals, and so that means that brands with deals really dominated top of search on Amazon versus those brands that did not. You know what’s really interesting is that despite the alarmist news that we’re hearing about supply chain disruptions that we’ve been hearing actually pretty much throughout the year in anticipation of the holiday season, traditional retailers still reported really strong inventory positions for 2021, Walmart stated that inventory was up in Q3, about 11.5%, and that they’re really confident going into the remaining of this year for holiday sales, Target it is up 20% over last year, and then Best Buy has 20% more inventory compared to two years ago.
Now, with all that being said, that’s not to say that supply chain disruptions did not result in some meaningful changes this holiday season, rather than relying on Cyber Five, retailers adopted a cyber month mindset with holiday deals starting as early as October before really ramping up in early November, getting in a little more granular, while many advertisers saw cost per click peak on Black Friday due to competition from increased ad spend, impressions and traffic definitely had a more modest gains. So I know everyone is wondering what were the most popular items over 2021 on Cyber Five weekend, well according to Amazon, Top Sellers included Apple Air pods, smart home devices, beauty and apparel, as well as Amazon devices. I maybe shouldn’t be saying this, but I know there’s one particular Amazon device that’s coming out that I think I wanna add to my office, I think it’s gonna add some really great functionality to my productivity, Debbie, I’m gonna let you guess what that is, maybe you can send it to me for Secret Santa. I don’t know. We can chat about that a little bit later. Anyway, many other products that did appear in this year’s Holiday gift guide obviously were able to expand their reach and their purchase potential, some of these best-selling items, and then last but not least, which I think is super interesting.
As we think about the evolution of commerce is social commerce, and so many retailers really leveraged influencers as part of their respecting shopping events, Amazon in particular amassed a large number of influencers this year to not only curate deals, but also they appeared on product live streams, including Kelly Clarkson, I have to say, huge Kelly Clarkson, voted for her on American Idol, love her on the Voice. Also, Walmart really leaned heavily into their partnership with TikTok by not only kicking off a Cyber Five live stream or Cyber Monday livestream with Jason Derulo, but they also ran a lot of key campaigns on tiktok to drive shoppers to Walmart deals. I think what’s really interesting about tiktok, and you and I were chatting about this earlier Debbie, I think from an opportunity perspective, I read that foresight research stated that live, the live streaming market here in the US could reach $11 billion by the end of 2021, and it could eclipse $23 billion by 2023. That’s crazy if you think about… I was reading something that the TikTok explosion really happened here in the US when the pandemic kind of first started because everyone was stuck at home, I don’t know about you, but I’m on tiktok, I don’t really create my content, but for me, it’s like a rabbit hole, there’s so much great stuff that’s on there, I especially love the dog videos, you can watch them for hours.
Maybe one day my dogs will make an appearance. Anyway, as we head into 2022, I would definitely expect that retailers and brands alike are gonna continue to incorporate influencers and social commerce into their growth strategies, so definitely stay tuned as you’re thinking about new opportunities to reach consumers, not just in 2022, but also in the years coming. So I guess, Debbie, now over to you to dive into the data.
Alright, thanks Ben. So I’m gonna cover a lot of the actual CPC information that we saw throughout Cyber Five, just to kinda take a look at some key takeaways, we did see spend increase this year, but not as drastically we’ve seen in the past few years, and that ad spend declined for the first time ever on Cyber Monday, after a lot of the traffic that we saw shifted to Thanksgiving Day and Black Friday, this we think really can be reflective of people shopping earlier in November, as Ben was saying, like cyber month. And I think there was a lot of concern about inventory levels, so we saw a lot of people shopping all through November and Thanksgiving Day, which is unusual going into the weekend, we did see the CPCs increase earlier in the lead in to Black Friday, more so than in previous years, and Thanksgiving Day itself, saw CPCs up 38% week over week for Sponsored products, and this could also signal that consumers were shopping going into the holiday weekend. So taking a little bit deeper dive into the data here, you’ll see that we are looking at some of the marketing KPIs here, and just as a reminder on our data, it is aggregated and it’s data that we’re looking at is Pacvue’s total client performance.
So what you’re looking at here, some of the data that we’re seeing here, the average advertising spend on Amazon during Black Friday and the Cyber Five weekend increased modestly from 2020, the growth slowed significantly though, compared to previous years, and when you take a look at sponsored product and sponsor brand’s overall strategies. We saw that the average spend on sponsored products was up just 8.8% on Black Friday and down 8% on Cyber Monday year over year, so this is a much smaller year over year growth rate than expected in 2020, which we saw a 36% and 35% respectively, year over year growth for those metrics. For sponsored brands, we looked at that as well, and we see that ad spending followed the same trend as we see for sponsored products with 27.43% growth year over year on Black Friday and a 14.02% decrease year over year on Cyber Monday. However, both sponsored products and sponsored brands, their ad spending did follow the curves to the previous three years was spend rising the day before Thanksgiving and remaining elevated over the whole weekend, and then we can look at the week over week data, and when we see the spend for sponsored products ads jump to 195.69% on Black Friday, which is huge, and 160.55% on Cyber Monday.
The sponsor branded followed a really similar week over reared increasing 201.56% on Black Friday and 161.63% on Cyber Monday. And typically a significant driver of spend, Cyber Monday only saw modest increases over Black Friday in 2021 with advertisers spending 2.48% more on Cyber Monday than Black Friday for sponsored products and 2% more for sponsored brands, so some really interesting trends there, but not too unexpected from what we’re used to seeing, and then looking at the CPC, when you’re looking at the CPC for cyber 5, 2021, we see that it rose significantly across the board this year, for sponsored products and sponsored brands. This looking at sponsored brands, the CPC rose 27.22% week over week, and it grew 27% year over year on Black Friday to $229. On Cyber Monday, the CPC for sponsored brand ads rose 34.86% week over week, and we’re up 11.32% year over year at $236, the Saturday and Sunday between Black Friday and Cyber Monday saw sponsored brand CPC up 29.11% and 39.73% in 2021 versus 2020.
So when you’re taking a look at the CPC trends, we can see similar patterns in CPCs that we saw the sponsor brands and sponsored products. We did see CPC growth this year of 25% year over year on Black Friday to $205, and up 14.61% on Cyber Monday to $204. So interestingly, the sponsor product CPC was up 38.35% week over week on Thanksgiving Day itself, so it’s interesting to see lots of people taking time to shop on Thanksgiving day, for sure. When taking a look at the ACOS, which is obviously super important for all the brands when they’re looking at their metrics across Amazon and the other platforms, to get a look at the ACOS trends, we know that advertisers typically see a lower ACOS and that’s a higher ROAS on Black Friday and Cyber Monday compared to the prior week, since conversions obviously increase during that time frame, we did see that Sponsored Products ACOS decreased 0.70% week over week on Black Friday. However, we did see an ACOS increase on Cyber Monday by 7.7% week over week. So that was interesting. In 2020, the ACOS on Black Friday had dropped just 0.10% week over week, and we saw a 10.3% decrease on Cyber Monday, so really different year over year for Cyber Monday, for sure.
For sponsored brands, however, though, we saw ACOS increased 5.03% on Thanksgiving and then dropped 13.06% on Black Friday before increasing over the weekend, and then decreasing 12.20% week over week on Cyber Monday. This overall represents a 33.95% year over year increase for Black Friday with just a 12.94% increase on Cyber Monday. So some interesting happenings with the ACOS there, so definitely something I think advertisers are gonna take into consideration next year, seeing that Monday was not everything they had expected it to be. Let’s see, so we also just wanted to share some of the latest e-marketer shopping insights and key takeaways that pretty much mirror what we were seeing as well. Cyber Week was the biggest online shopping day of the year, despite the fact that the sales were slightly less than those compared to the previous year, 1.4% less than in 2020, and Salesforce also put together some research, and you can see that US Sales for the first three weeks of November saw a 10% rise, which is a really big year over year with consumers shifting their spending to earlier in the season and then spreading their purchase across the month and not waiting for the deal days.
63% of consumers were shopping before Thanksgiving, and 54% of shoppers were almost finished with their holiday shopping by Cyber Monday, that’s a way different behavior pattern than we’ve seen, and it could have a lot to do with the supply and people being worried that their products wouldn’t get here, but it’s definitely something that could be a new trend we’re seeing, looking at the data though, it also appears that brands and retailers, the underlying strategy was to capture the early shoppers and help them master any supply chain issues like we were talking about. Across the Cyber week season, mobile shopping accounted for almost 40% of online sales as compared to desktop, so that’s always good to kinda know what’s happening in the mobile world, an 8.4% rise year over year, and it appears brands and retailers went on to adopt more SMS and push messaging as a new driving marketing feature, so that also talks to your tiktok story, Ben, that’s usually always a mobile experience, and with them having so much more e-com, it makes sense that a lot of shopping was done via mobile, probably through… Like through a tiktok, would account for some of that…
So also, if you wanna get a copy of the CPC guide, you can just head over to the Pacvue.com website and put in Pacvue.com/discover/reports to order your copy. And just as a heads up, we’re gonna also be hosting another webinar next week with guests from Colgate, Hinkle and Instacart, so feel free to sign up for that as well, more… Great e-com info, coming your way from Pacvue as always. Alright.
I was gonna say, it looks like we have one question, so… Yeah, so the question is, is inflation not a contributor to our flat growth? Debbie, what are your thoughts? And then I know I have some strong feelings. Anything from your side?
Yeah, no, go ahead. I definitely think it’s a part of it, but… Go ahead.
Yeah, I think it probably is. I think it’s interesting though, that a lot of the commentary is that I’ve seen hasn’t really brought inflation in and yet as a potential factor, I think about inflation is really impacting everything across all of retail, not just for holiday shopping, but at the grocery store, things of that nature, I think what will be interesting is at an individual brand level, what was the impact of inflation on the overall revenue, not just for the quarter, but also for the year, some folks may perhaps passed on those costs to their customers, so that way they could maintain the margins they way others actually ate it, because again, they felt that if they didn’t eat those costs that it would impact their top line. So I think it’ll be really interesting to see how it plays out. As we head into the new year. What about you?
Yeah, no, I mean, I think it’d be interesting. I think we do see reports on the average consumer, what they spend on gifts for the holiday season, so I think that’ll also be an indicator of how inflation impacted it, were people being more conservative with their overall spend due to inflation and wanting to be more conservative. Just because of not being sure of where they’re at, so I think it will be interesting to see how it impacted it between the new variant coming, there’s just so many things that impact people’s behavior canceling vacations, so now they don’t need certain clothes or suitcases. There’s just so many things and factors that could go into it that I think once we get through this holiday season, it will be interesting to see what other possible causes and impacts other things had on user consumer behavior for the holiday season, for sure.
Awesome, so it looks like we have another question, so what are some observations around sponsored display, any insight from Cyber Five, is it getting more competitive? And Debbie, what are you seeing for maybe some of the advertisers that you’re chatting and working with.
I would say that… I’ll ask the team if we have some sponsored display information we can share… I mean, definitely more people are taking advantage of sponsored display now that it has the audience targeting component, so it’s kind of in line with a DSP in the way it’s executed, so we are seeing that, and of course, ’cause you can follow some of the attribution on the sponsored display side. So I don’t know exactly what the impact is, to be honest, we didn’t prepare that data for today, so we can follow up with that, but it definitely would be interesting to see as more and more people are using that strategy and tactic, how it’s impacting the cyber and holiday sales as well, for sure.
Awesome, thanks for that. So I actually, I think we may actually need to follow up about this, but I think the question, it says, was sponsored brand video part of the sponsor brand data? I’m not actually sure if that was included in the analysis, do you know, of hand, do we wanna take it as a follow-up…
We can take it as a follow-up, I think most of the time we do look at the whole of sponsored brand, but… Yeah, let’s double check on that for sure.
Alright, so I’m not exactly sure it says anonymous person who attended this webinar, so definitely be on the lookout, we will follow back up with the answer that question, ’cause I think it’s actually a great question, especially for those who decided maybe perhaps to advertise using video, especially ’cause it’s a first time for them compared to having some type of historical baseline to compare for themselves. It looks like actually one of our colleagues is messaging right now, it looks like we’re gonna be typing an answer, so there you go, Oh, great. Or… Oh yeah, here we go. So it looks like… Yes, we are going to follow up, so I think anonymous, if you could just provide us with your email, that would be great and we can follow back up with that… Well, it doesn’t seem like we have any more. We have any more questions. So I guess if that’s being… That being said, I guess, Debbie, is there anything else that you’d like to add? Any favorite holiday memories or things that you’re looking forward to this holiday season…
No, we’re just looking forward to Wishing everybody a safe, healthy holiday season as you spend it with friends, family, and really just be grateful for everything that we have and looking forward to just enjoying the holiday season for sure. Having a little more room to roam this year, not being as housebound for sure. So looking forward to that.
Well, I know I can’t put it any better than you did. And I know, Debbie, I am thankful for you, so there you go…
Thanks, Ben, you too.
Awesome, well, I guess with that being said, on behalf of the team at Pacvue, thank you for joining us for today’s Cyber Five recap. On behalf of the team, we wish you a happy and healthy holiday, and until we meet again, have a Happy New Year and I guess… See you in 2022. Sounds good. Alright, have a great week, everybody.