On Monday we predicted that Black Friday might end up being a bigger day for online shopping than Cyber Monday for our sample population of over 10,000 active shoppers using the Alot Rewards app and other BargainMatch powered apps.
We were wrong.
While traffic in the early morning on Black Friday was significantly higher than on Cyber Monday, Monday traffic surged as folks got into work and exploded as they got home and raced to get last second deals.
The top five merchants we measure (we don’t currently include eBay and Amazon) were the same on both days. None of the top stores was online only and all but Apple saw increases from Friday to Monday. Apple pulled out all the stops on Friday, offering deals on products like the iPad that were only available that day. Their Black Friday sales were reportedly off the charts, blowing through their forecasts by 7 pm, so we probably shouldn’t feel too bad for them.
The Big Winners
Not surprisingly, several of the biggest gainers on Cyber Monday were online only stores like Overstock, Dell and QVC. We were tickled that Victoria’s Secret saw a surge in traffic once people got back to work…imagine that!
On a hunch, we looked at Victoria's Secret activity on Tuesday, the night of their big fashion show. We noticed a bulge of traffic around the time of the program, as well as a little late night activity that we can't quite account for (though admittedly the data sample is too small for this to mean anything, we couldn't resist sharing):
The Big Losers
This batch was perhaps the most surprising to us. Tiger Direct and Newegg are very popular (mostly) online retailers so we would have expected them to increase not decrease. Both did run very aggressive campaigns for Black Friday, but the tie that binds the bottom five (of the top 25 merchants we monitor) seems to be the dude factor..gadgets, hardware, electronics and games. If you have a better explanation for it, we’d love to hear it.
So, although we might have been too excited suggeting that Black Friday would overtake Cyber Monday, it is amazing to see how consumers are flocking to the online stores earlier and earlier, during typical Thanksgiving day activities. Will be interesting to see what the numbers tell us next year...
Interesting findings on your end around Black Friday and Cyber Monday trends? Let us know about them!
As America’s economy continues to suffer meager growth, retailers are doing everything they can to capture consumer dollars as soon as possible. Despite outcry from both consumers and employees, retailers opened their doors for Black Friday even earlier this year. Wal-Mart, for example, ran aggressive ad campaigns all last week letting consumers know that Black Friday deals start at 10pm on Thursday. Toys R Us began deals even earlier, at 9pm on Thanksgiving.
But are these early opening times just marketing gimmicks or are we seeing a substantial shift in consumer behavior towards a more commercial Thanksgiving?
To come up with some answers, we examined anonymous online shopping behavior from over 10,000 consumers (primarily users of ALOT Rewards application, powered by our BargainMatch service to see. These users have downloaded our cash back application(s) in order to get better deals and cash back at over 1,900 top online merchants.
Based on our data, Thanksgiving has indeed become a major online shopping day. It may not be Black Thursday yet, but it’s looking to be at least Golden Brown.
While other reports from comScore and the like have focused on estimates of gross sales, we’ll be sharing normalized hourly consumer shopping activity (mainly clicks to merchants since actual purchase reporting lags a bit). While estimated gross sales data is interesting at a macro level, the hourly data paints a more colorful picture of exactly how American consumers are behaving online during a family holiday weekend.
What’s a Normal Day?
Before we get into what we saw on Thanksgiving and Black Friday, we thought it would be helpful to show you what a “normal” day looks like. Below is an hourly plot of typical shopping activity. I know this chart is incredibly boring, but bear with me.
Starting at Midnight ET, we see a significant fall off in activity as the West coast folks go to sleep. Next we see a significant ramp up at 10 am ET as people get into work . That increase in traffic peaks at 4 ET and starts to fall off. We see a slight after-dinner rebound, followed by a significant fall-off as the evening progresses.
Thanksgiving was different.
So What about Thanksgiving?
From an internet traffic standpoint, holidays are usually quite low relative to normal days. After all, people are spending time with their families, sleeping in, watching parades, etc. So we expected that Thanksgiving would actually be lower than a normal day. But it wasn’t.
Here’s what we saw on Thanksgiving:
You can see that the shopping rush really started Wednesday night – people got off work and started doing their research, visiting stores, and in some cases, making purchases.
As Thanksgiving morning set in, people woke up early and opened up their computers to shop. Mid-morning, the duties of the holiday set in.
People started eating. They kept eating / dropping into food comas for about six hours, whereupon the tryptophan worked its way out of their systems, and they got online.
After about 5pm, when online shopping activity should have been dying down, it ramped up.
Black Friday had begun.
So How Big was Black Friday?
comScore estimated that Black Friday represented the biggest online shopping day of the year. We saw nothing to counter that claim in our data. It started strong and more or less maintained its momentum. Here’s the same chart as the above with Black Friday traffic included.
The morning was huge, and the increased volume held throughout the day. There are a couple of interesting spikes here. First, there’s a bump around 4:00am ET. That’s unheard of – no one is up that early…except the doorbuster crowd. People got online to check deals BEFORE they went out to stores.
There was another afternoon lull as the online shoppers decided to venture out and see what deals could be had offline, but you can see that a group of users ramped up again around 8:00pm ET to shop one last time. Black Friday ended the day lower than Thanksgiving did.
We’ll continue to follow this online shopping behavior for the rest of the holiday season, but we were surprised to see such a ramp on Thanksgiving this year.
Later this week we’ll be comparing Cyber Monday to the Black Friday numbers. Historically Monday’s online sales have been larger, as users shop offline over the holiday weekend and online when they get back to work.
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The cost of travel can definitely be very high, especially around the holidays. The good news is BargainMatch can help.
Did you know that BargainMatch actually has several travel websites that will offer cash back to you? So you can book your travel plans, and save a little money while doing so! Here are just a few of the various retailers that offer cash back this holiday season.
Priceline.com is the leading travel service for value-conscious leisure travelers with over 10 years experience negotiating travel deals. Travelers can browse low everyday published prices or take advantage of Priceline's exclusive Name Your Own Price service for the greatest savings. Save up to 50% off hotels, up to 40% off flights, up to 40% off rental cars, and up to $500 off vacation packages. Plus, cruises, last-minute deals, and limited-time PriceBreakers specials. All backed by Priceline's best price guarantee!
HotelsCombined.com has been around since 2005 and is a world-leading provider of hotel comparison services. They combine hotel pricing and information from 35 of the world's leading hotel reservation sites. They have 200,000 hotels and apartments in 225 countries and you can also view the information in almost any currency and 24 languages.
Hotels.com is a recognized hotel expert and leading provider of lodging worldwide. Hotels.com gives travelers one of the widest selections of lodging accommodations from traditional hotels to vacation rentals at more than 35,000 properties worldwide. Hotels.com offers a one-stop shopping source for hotel pricing, amenities and availability and also specializes in providing travelers with accommodations during sold-out periods. Hotels.com makes planning and booking a trip easy for leisure and business travel. Hotels.com know the hotel experience is an important part of your trip so hotels.com offers travelers the information they need to book the perfect trip all backed by their Lowest Prices Guarantee!
HotelClub is a world leading global accommodation website offering hotel and accommodation bookings for up to 12 months in advance. Established in 1996, HotelClub provides consumers with over 48,000 accommodation choices in over 5,600 cities worldwide throughout 126 countries.
Save on flights, hotels, car rentals and more with Hotwire.com!
Garmin International is the global leader in satellite navigation. Since 1989, Garmin has designed, manufactured, marketed and sold navigation, communication and information devices and applications, most of which are enabled by GPS technology.
GO Airlink NYC is one of the leading airport transportation companies in New York City. They offer affordable, on time, and safe ground transportation services throughout New York City and the LaGuardia, and Newark Airports and hotels, residences, and businesses between Battery Park and 125th Street.
Since 1978, Select-A-Ticket has been providing their clients with the best service and the lowest ticket prices. That's over 30 years of buying & selling tickets. Broadway, Concerts, Sports and Family Events - if you need tickets, Select-A-Ticket has them!
TripAdvisor is the world’s most popular, largest, and most trusted travel community. They provide a comprehensive travel planning experience. Not only do they have 30+ million real traveler reviews, they power a robust flights search engine, hotel compare and check rates search, vacation rental search, in addition to restaurant ratings and reviews, worldwide.
Flight Network is a BBB certified online travel agency has been in operation since 1998. Flight Network allows travel booking online 24/7. Flight Network offers deep discount airfares, hotels and car rentals with departures from many gateways.
CruiseDirect is a leading online cruise travel company dedicated to providing its customers with access to great deals on cruise vacations. They work with the industry's leading suppliers, and that gives them access to special rates that they turn into big savings for you.
There are over 5,000 Choice Hotels worldwide comprised of ten midscale and economy brands. Choice Hotels is the worldwide franchisor of: Cambria Suites, Quality, Clarion, Comfort Inn, Comfort Suites, Sleep Inn, MainStay Suites, Suburban Extended Stay Hotels, Econo Lodge and Rodeway Inn.