American Marketer


Online holiday shopping peaked during Black Friday, Cyber Monday

December 27, 2019

Mobile shopping increased during the holidays. Image credit: Neiman Marcus


Consumers prioritized their holiday shopping during the period between Black Friday and Cyber Monday to maximize deals.

According to data from Contentsquare, online shopping activity peaked during Black Friday/Cyber Monday sales compared to the rest of the holiday season. Average cart and conversion rate, among other metrics, both saw jumps during that shopping weekend.

“Our data reveals many interesting user behavior trends that retailers would benefit from making note of and refining their online user experiences accordingly to ultimately increase sales and revenue,” said Aimee Stone Munsell, chief marketing officer at Contentsquare, in a statement. “We found that shoppers are persistent about taking advantage of deals and getting their shopping done during Black Friday and Cyber Monday.

“This held true even though these online events came later in the season, so it’s clear people’s habits are now conditioned to these retail ‘holidays,’” she said.

Contentsquare collected data from Nov. 15 through Dec. 24 across 314 million user sessions.

Holiday shopping
During the Black Friday/Cyber Monday period, average cart value hit $166.43 compared to an average of $150.56 for the holiday season as a whole – an increase of 10.54 percent.

Additionally, average cart value was 11.89 percent higher for mobile orders during that weekend compared to the holiday period.

While mobile traffic only grew 1 percent year-over-year, smartphones still accounted for 68 percent of traffic during the 2019 shopping season.

More online shoppers are turning to smartphones than desktops or tablets. Image credit: Bloomingdale's

Desktops accounted for more than a quarter of online traffic, 27 percent, a 6 percent drop from 2018. Traffic from tablets increased 21 percent but drive only 5 percent of sales.

Conversions also jumped 41 percent during the Black Friday and Cyber Monday period, from 2.85 percent to 4.04 percent.

Consumers also spent more time online shopping, with average session time surged 20 percent during Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales. The average number of seconds spent per Web page also increased 11.33 percent.

New visitors are responsible for more than half of holiday shopping season Web traffic, making it the ideal period for brands, including those in the luxury space, to attract new shoppers.

As retailers sought to attract shoppers during Black Friday weekend, the most successful sales drivers were direct marketing pushes through email and SMS.

According to data from Oribi, the retailers that saw the biggest uptick in sales were those that sell more expensive merchandise, valued at more than $500. While retailers are investing in social media advertising, search engine marketing and direct messaging were the most effective at actually driving conversions (see story).