Guest Column | December 9, 2021

Black Friday & Cyber Monday: Consumer Spending Shy In 2021 But Special Offers Still Extensively Used

By Ramesh Karki, GrowByData

Black Friday

Black Friday and Cyber Monday are two of the biggest shopping days of the year. These two days have been the ultimate days to get many products at bargain prices. Black Friday used to garner the most sales but in recent years Cyber Monday has been the biggest shopping day in the U.S. as shown on the graph below. According to Adobe Analytics, consumer spending was down by 1.4% for Cyber Monday and 1.3% for Black Friday. Consumer spending was down by around $100 million on each of the days in 2021 compared to 2020.

Source: Adobe Digital Insights

Although the total spending is slightly shy of last year for both Black Friday and Cyber Monday, we wanted to see what the trend was for special offers on ads compared to last year and which categories had the most special offers for each event.

Special Offers Trend: 2020 Vs 2021

Looking at the overall special offer trend graphs from the beginning of November till the end of the events, we see that the special offers on ads started a lot earlier in 2021 than in 2020. This means that retailers were trying to encourage consumers to make their holiday shopping earlier than the previous years which could be a contributing factor for the spending being lower on the day of the events (Black Friday and Cyber Monday). Overall there were 84% more ads with special offers in November 2021 compared to the same period last year.

Black Friday Specific Special Offers: 2020 Vs 2021

Analyzing the data of ads with black Friday specific special offers, we found that these offers started increasing around mid-November and reaching a peak much higher than in 2020 as shown on the graph below. 2020 saw a steady rise that continued till the end of the month whereas, 2021 saw quite an uptick from the 22nd and a massive spike on the day of Black Friday (26th).

Most Popular Black Friday Special Offers

Looking into the popularity of specific special offers for Black Friday, we found “20% Off Black Friday Sale” to be the most popular offer in 2021. A variation of 25% Off was the popular option for retailers in 2020 as shown on the graph below.

Black Friday Deals Per Category: 2020 Vs 2021

Next, we looked at which categories had the most special offers in 2020 and 2021. Per the graph below, we can see that categories like Furniture, Sports & Outdoors, and Camera & Optics saw a big increase in special offers in 2021. Categories like Arts & Entertainment, Apparel & Accessories, and Religious & Ceremonial saw a big decrease in special offers between 2020 and 2021.

Cyber Monday Specific Special Offers: 2020 Vs 2021

Analyzing the data for Cyber Monday specific special offers, we found that these were not used very early in the month last year as well as this year. It’s seen almost exclusively being used during and after the Thanksgiving weekend as shown on the graph below.

Most Popular Cyber Monday Special Offers

Compared to 2020, where sitewide special offers were very popular among retailers, it seemed to be much less popular this year. The most popular offer for 2021 was “Cyber Monday 20% Off” and “15% Off Cyber Monday” for 2020.

Cyber Monday Deals Per Category: 2020 Vs 2021

Again, looking at the categorical data for Cyber Monday, things that jump out are the massive increase of special offers in the Furniture, and Health & Beauty categories in 2021. The graph below also shows the sharp decline in special offers in the Arts & Entertainment, and the Food & Beverage categories in 2021.

In Conclusion

Although consumer spending on Black Friday and Cyber Monday has been slightly lower this year compared to 2020, the National Retail Federation expects sales during November and December to rise between 8.5% and 10.5%. So far in November, consumers have already spent $109.8 billion online which is an 11.9% more than last year. We also saw that despite the pandemic severely affecting the supply chain and manufacturing around the globe, retailers still can provide great special offers to consumers during this holiday season.

About The Author

Ramesh Karki is a Business Analyst and Content Creator at GrowByData, an enterprise retail data platform that provides Marketing Intelligence to Boost Total eCommerce Performance for Retailers, Brands, and Agencies.