Black Friday is always the highlight of the online shopping industry, as it’s the period that can make or break an online store’s profits for the year.
So every year, we study Black Friday emails and marketing channels: what’s different? What trends are appearing? How are consumers changing?
All so we can keep up with the latest ecommerce trends and stay on top of what our customers want and need.
We studied 200 million messages that were sent out by our key customers during the shopping holiday and we’re here to give you the latest Black Friday statistics.
- SMS Earns Nearly 6 Times the Order Rate of Single-Email Campaigns on Black Friday
- Order Confirmation Emails Offer High Black Friday Potential
- The Birth of SMS Wednesday: SMS Campaigns Sent Before Black Friday Earn 75% Higher Order Rates than Cyber Monday
- Campaign Engagement Climbs the Week of Black Friday, but Falls the Weekend After
The Biggest Black Friday Statistics 2019: Four Takeaways for 2019
It’s no secret that Black Friday is the event of the year for most online sellers, with Cyber Monday nipping at its heels. Every year, millions of shoppers flock to stores, both physical and digital, to take advantage of the best deals of the year.
Retailers create more content, send more campaigns, and sell more products during this weekend than any other- and 2019 was no different. We’ve prepared a sneak peek at our top Black Friday 2019 statistics, with four big takeaways to help you prepare for 2020.
#1. Ecommerce Marketers Earn Nearly 6 Times the Order Rate of Single-Email Campaigns with SMS on Black Friday
While SMS was on the rise in 2018, the channel absolutely exploded in 2019: ecommerce marketers sent more SMS campaigns this Black Friday than ever before, sending over 1 million campaigns over the week of Thanksgiving.
Retailers were right to follow their instincts, as SMS campaigns earned immense value in 2019. On Black Friday alone, ecommerce brands earned a 14.03% click through rate and received a 592% higher order rate than email. In average orders, SMS earned retail brands 21% more orders per campaign than email on Black Friday.
How to benefit from this trend:
While it’s not a good idea to opt for SMS over email completely, ecommerce marketers would get the most out of this trend by incorporating SMS in their bigger campaigns. There isn’t yet a lot of competition in SMS marketing, and customers offering a phone number in addition to their email address are showing an even higher level of intent.
Getting in on this strategy, and sending SMS campaigns for your best promotions and news will earn you higher click through and order rates.
#2. Order Confirmation Emails Offer High Black Friday Potential
There’s no other message that has a higher open or click through rate than order confirmation emails. But when it comes to order rate, confirmation emails tend to fall short.
Order confirmation emails on Black Friday earned open rates of nearly 60%- astronomically high for the ecommerce industry. Click through rates are also significant at 9.83%.
However order rates fall among the lowest for this campaign, despite the highest open and click through rates. This can be attributed to customer intent when this kind of message is received.
With such good visibility, ecommerce marketers are finding ways to convert from order confirmation emails, despite the lower order rate.
How to benefit from this trend:
With that said, there are ways to get more value from order confirmation emails. When the confirmation email is sent, the customer is at their highest level of trust, feeling happy about a recent purchase.
Offering a discount on the next purchase with related product recommendations can bring the customer back for a second purchase even quicker.
#3. The Birth of SMS Wednesday: SMS Campaigns Sent Before Black Friday Earn 75% Higher Order Rates than Cyber Monday
While campaign sending across all channels was increased during the week of Black Friday, the most campaigns were sent Friday, with Cyber Monday following close behind.
Customers were already looking for deals by the middle of the week- often purchasing during pre-Black Friday promotions. Surprisingly, campaigns sent the Wednesday before Thanksgiving were also successful, earning 150% higher order rates than email-only campaigns that same day.
Wednesday was even more successful than Cyber Monday in order rates, earning a 75% higher order rate via SMS.
How to benefit from this trend:
Using SMS on big shopping days like Black Friday are great, but using them on days where there’s less competition is even better. The Wednesday prior to Black Friday is a great day for SMS campaigns because customers are already getting excited about the shopping holiday.
#4. Campaign Engagement Climbs the Week of Black Friday, but Falls the Weekend After
Starting Monday and leading up to Black Friday, we saw a sharp climb of campaigns being sent by the day, reaching a peak on Friday. Engagement stayed steady throughout the week leading up to Friday, even with the increase of volume and competition as the end of the week drew nearer.
However, all engagement dropped off during the weekend after Black Friday. We could attribute this to customers going out to physical stores during the weekend, or perhaps waiting for Cyber Monday deals to drop. While it’s true that retailers sent fewer campaigns during the weekend, the pace was comparable to the amount of campaigns sent the Wednesday and Thursday leading up to the end of the week.
and Feel free to send your campaigns the weekend between Black Friday and Cyber Monday, but don’t count on high orders from these days.
Instead, use this time to tease your Cyber Monday deals, where engagement picks back up. Also, use the week prior to Black Friday and begin sending your campaigns that Monday. Whether you tease your Black Friday promotions or you offer Early Black Friday sales, you’ll be sure to catch the customer’s eye.
The Biggest Black Friday Emails: Five Takeaways for 2018
#1 Black Friday Still Trumps Cyber Monday for Both Retailers & Shoppers
Despite Cyber Monday being the designated “online shopping holiday,” consumers are far more interested in beating the lines at dawn and shopping in their pajamas on Black Friday with their in-store cohorts.
This comes as no surprise to retailers, who began pumping up the volume of their campaigns starting on Thanksgiving and peaking on Black Friday itself.
While email sends were at the second highest on Cyber Monday, Black Friday continued to be the highest grossing day. Black Friday was responsible for over 40% of the weekend’s email campaigns, with an average order count of 9.44.
Open and click-through rates fell slightly on Black Friday (mainly due to the sheer volume of emails being sent), and despite Cyber Monday bringing in 30% of the weekend’s email campaigns, Cyber Monday only brought in a 5.56 order count.
Consumers were less ready to buy on Cyber Monday than they were on Black Friday or even Thanksgiving itself.
Is this the beginning of the end of Cyber Monday?
#2 Consumers Won’t Wait for Black Friday
It might be worth it to focus on the Monday before Black Friday. We’ve seen that holiday shopping starts earlier and earlier each year, with many consumers starting their shopping around the end of October.
We can see that open and click-through rate is significant in the days leading up to Black Friday. Even on Thanksgiving, consumers purchased nearly as many products online from email campaigns as they did on Black Friday.
However, the weekend in between Black Friday and Cyber Monday drops off to nearly normal rates, despite many being off work and having more time to shop.
What does it all mean?
Consumers won’t wait for Black Friday- and they’re already susceptible to deals well before Black Friday even starts. Try sending your campaigns a bit earlier next year, rather than sending everything on Black Friday alone.
#3 Cart Abandonment Automation is Even More Profitable in 2018
As in 2017, cart recovery emails had the most success during Black Friday weekend. Boasting a 34% open rate and a 9% click-through rate, 2.13% of all cart recover emails opened resulted in a purchase.
Compared with 2017, 2018’s Black Friday Statistics showed that cart recovery success increased:
- Open rate dropped from 37.69% to 34% between 2017 and 2018 (mainly due to volume)
- CTR increased from 7.62% in 2017 to 9% in 2018
- Order rate jumped from 1.65% in 2017 to 2.13% in 2018
The biggest takeaway from this? Customers have a lot of deals to sift through on Black Friday. Call them back to their abandoned carts with a well-timed recovery email to close that conversion.
#4 Welcome Emails Bring in Almost As Many Orders as Cart Recovery
While cart recovery was particularly successful, the next category of successful automated emails might surprise you: welcome emails had considerable success across the board.
- 38% of all welcome emails were opened
- Welcome emails enjoyed a 9% CTR
- Customers coming from welcome emails nearly matched cart recovery emails in order rate at 2.09%
But of all the emails sent, why would welcome emails be so successful?
This exact scenario happened to me on Black Friday: If you’re like me, I use Google when I have an idea for a gift. When I find a store that offers me something to sign up, say a pop up with a first-time discount, I’ll definitely sign up.
After all, why wouldn’t I want a discount on top of already discounted products? I then clicked through from the welcome email and used my discount code to pick up the gifts I was likely going to buy anyway.
Many consumers are not only clicking through the campaigns of the stores they love, they’re also open to finding new stores to shop from. So keep a 360 degree strategy for new visitors- pop up email capture OR exit intent, automated welcome emails, cart abandonment emails, etc to keep your customers’ attention.
#5 A Challenger Appears: SMS Emerges as the Channel with the ROI to Beat
A surprising contender this shopping season was SMS campaigns: according to our Black Friday statistics, SMS messages were sent 33 times more on Black Friday alone compared to a typical business day..
We’ve known that 94% of all SMS messages are read within the first 5 minutes, and that by 2020, the number of people subscribed to SMS marketing will reach nearly 50 million.
In 2018, our merchants took the plunge and chose to use SMS marketing to boost their campaigns.
Across our customers, we’re also seeing the wave of SMS-love from Black Friday: many spoke out saying that they were seeing 2000% ROI, and even up to 3300%!
For nearly 3300% ROI, it’s definitely worth jumping on this trend. If you keep your SMS campaigns few, far between, and well-timed, they can really impact the success of your email campaigns.
At Omnisend, despite sending in regular campaigns, we suggest adding them to a workflow for cart abandonment and reactivation sequences.
While we weren’t expecting such large hikes across our 2018 and 2019 Black Friday statistics, we weren’t shocked by any means. Online merchants are quick to jump on new ways of connecting with their customers, and they know when their shoppers are the most susceptible to deals.
These are tactics we can use throughout the rest of the holiday season and the whole 2020 year. By kicking up your marketing efforts in the days leading up to shopping holidays, and by not pulling any punches on which channels you use, you can see amazing results from your holiday weekend’s profits.
What Black Friday statistic shocked you the most? Anything you weren’t expecting? Tell us below!