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Black Friday and Cyber Monday; Who Won – Retailers or Consumers?
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Black Friday and Cyber Monday; Who Won – Retailers or Consumers?

It was another record-breaking year for Black Friday and Cyber Monday – with estimated online sales to be $16.6 Bn, up 17% year on year. Hot deals were available by the minute and smart online shoppers scooped them up in their droves. On Cyber Monday alone, online shoppers spent $11 million per minute between 11 pm ET and midnight according to Adobe and SaleCycle.

It is, without a doubt, one of the most anticipated retail events of the year. It appears to be a win-win situation for both retailers and consumers with retailers getting a bump in holiday shopping sales and shoppers availing of super discounts. What’s not to love… right?

But who are the real winners here – those consumers that nabbed a great deal or could it be the retailers that bagged their money? Despite the advertised deals on major sites, Shopbrain still found shoppers an even lower price on another site over half the time. So, we asked ourselves…Are the advertised ‘deals’ really deals? Are consumers getting the best deals on sites they are loyal to? Which retailer had the best value and did any of them win big on the day? And, were there any losers? Did shoppers miss out on deals or pay more than they needed to?

To answer some of these questions…and more, we took a deeper look at some of the trends we saw at Shopbrain over Black Friday and Cyber Monday and here’s what we found:

Most Popular Sites – Where did people shop and did it change on the day? 

Traffic share to the major shopping sites was pretty consistent with a typical shopping day. Whilst traffic increased by over 340%, the major shopping sites from Amazon to Walmart saw a similar lift in traffic showing us that consumers are loyal and like to start their shopping journey on their preferred sites.

Winner: The larger retailers and sites that have a loyal customer base and picked up the majority of demand. 

Best Prices – Did shoppers find the lowest prices on their favorite sites? 

Sometimes yes. But, most of the time – NO!

When someone is shopping for an item on any major site – from Amazon to Wayfair – Shopbrain searches all other sites to check if they’ve found the best price. Incredibly, on Black Friday and Cyber Monday, 55% of the time we found shoppers a better price for the identical item on a different site. So, although shoppers were loyal and started on their favorite site to avail of great deals, there was still a lower price available elsewhere over half the time. In fact, an average of $30 additional savings to be made showing it still pays to shop around!

Winners: In one way consumers won as they were seeing great discounts on their favorite sites but some may have missed out on an even bigger discount.

Losers: Consumers that didn’t shop around as prices were on average $30 lower on another site. Plus, retailers that didn’t offer the best value to their loyal customers and lost the potential sale as they switched for a better deal.

Which sites had lower prices when we found a better price? 

Overall, Amazon had the lowest price for most of the items people were searching for. But when it didn’t, the top sites we found better prices on were Google Shopping, eBay (new items only) and Walmart. Remember, Google significantly enhanced the Google Shopping platform this year, merging in Google Express. Consumers can now buy directly from the platform itself, the seller’s website or the seller’s brick and mortar store. So, perhaps we saw lower prices on this site because it features merchants both inside and outside their platform and locally available products. We’ll keep a close eye on this one to see how its helping drive more value for consumers.

Winner: The consumer. It’s always great to see more places for consumers to search and find the best price. 

Did Shoppers spend more than they need to? 

The average value of items shopped for was about 23% lower than the typical shopping day so shoppers were getting good value and shopped for similar items at a cheaper price.

Winner: Shoppers didn’t go crazy and were smart – buying items at a lower price.

Were the deals genuine or could there have been a better price around the corner? 

Shopbrain monitors prices to tell you if you’ve found a hot deal or to wait if we think the price is likely to fall further in the next 10 days. On Cyber Monday, we found 324% more hot deals than a typical Monday and these prices were $70 lower than the historical average price of the item or a 35% discount. This was higher than the average hot deal discount of $58 on Black Friday but overall the deals out there on both days were pretty ‘hot’ and real and it really was a great time to buy and avail of those discounts.

Winner: Consumers benefited from a wide range of deals with deep discounts

Top Shopping Site

No prizes for guessing this – its Amazon. Over half of shoppers shopped on Amazon and found great deals. Overall, they ranked as the site that had the lowest price for the broadest range of items, showing us time and time again why they are number 1.

Winner: Both Amazon and the consumer – great range and value fosters a loyal customer. 

Top Brand 

Apple was the top brand searched and shopped for. Samsung was next followed by Amazon’s own brand of electronics. Demand for Apple products was mainly for iPads, iPhones and AirPods and the destination offering the lowest price for many items was eBay (new only, not used), followed by Google Shopping and Amazon.

Winner: The consumer happy to switch sites to find a lower price for Apple products – as we found an average discount of 14% savings on alternative sites.

Top Products

Apple Air Pods were a hotly searched item on Black Friday while the Nintendo Switch was the most popular item on Cyber Monday. The Amazon Echo and Echo Show followed closely behind. Toys were also a hot category both on Black Friday and Cyber Monday with Lego being the top brand searched for.

Winner: If your nearest and dearest are interested in Star Wars Lego, AirPods or the Nintendo Switch, you pretty much covered your holiday gifts and got fantastic deals! 

Loser: Cyber Monday was a great time to invest in a smart home assistant. But despite great deals, we didn’t see Google Home pick up as much demand as the Echo did. 

Shopbrain’s take – who were the winners or losers?

Overall, it was a win-win for retailers and shoppers. A great balance of demand meeting value. Yes, shoppers spent more than ever this year but they also got genuine discounts and BIG savings. Those that shopped around (or had Shopbrain to do it for them!), saved even more so were the ultimate winners.

Retailers and sites that have put in the groundwork building up a loyal customer base were also rewarded this busy holiday shopping weekend. And if they offered great value, they stood to enjoy higher conversion and capture more a new wave of deal seekers. But, if they didn’t, they not only lost a sale but perhaps a loyal savvy shopper, determined to find the best price online.

 Note: Shopbrain offers instant independent price comparisons on over a billion products and stores, search engines and sites. It does not ask for, use or keep any personal data. Visit us at Shopbrain.com to learn more and save.  

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