Black Friday 2017: The Biggest Day in Ecommerce History

After taking a look at the shopping data, we can say that Black Friday 2017 definitely started off with a bang. Or, to be more exact, a click.

Criteo’s analysis reflects a healthy economy, the shift to online sales and the resurgence of retailers like Walmart, Best Buy and Target. For Black Friday, ecommerce showed a:

  • +3.5% year over year increase in Shoppers
  • +12.5% increase in the number of Purchasers

The greater increase in purchasers indicates that people had done their shopping earlier in the month but were ready to click the buy button when deals became available on Black Friday.

The sales also reflect the growing trend towards “phygital” commerce and “omnishopping”: shoppers using a variety of devices and channel to engage with products.  Part of the retail resurgence in the US comes from major retailers making better use of their store footprints, a factor that Amazon’s 2017 expansion into “IRL” (or In Real Life) has underscored.

And while Black Friday 2017 was the biggest day in the history of ecommerce, purchasing for the holidays is occurring earlier and earlier each year, which is influenced by major retailers like Walmart and Target triggering Black Friday deals in advance of the official day. Criteo data was featured in this report on the changing dynamic of Black Friday on CNBC.

This chart below shows the increases in purchasing by day for the month:

The data comes from Criteo’s Sponsored Products retail network, which in the US includes: Walmart, Target, Best Buy, Costco, Toys R Us, Wayfair, Kohl’s and Macy’s.  The numbers Criteo is seeing are in line with spending projections from sources like eMarketer, which has estimated that holiday season ecommerce spending will increase 16.7% this year over last.

The Shopping Data: TVs, Gaming, and “OK Google” 

The shopping data for Black Friday 2017 revealed that the biggest deals of the day tended to be for high-ticket consumer electronics.  Shoppers typically research early, but hold out till Black Friday to complete the purchase.  Here are the breakout products of Black Friday Week:

      • In a world of Alexa devices, the Google Home Mini: a $29 Bluetooth speaker/virtual assistant was the term with the greatest increase in rank during Black Friday week as compared to the first two weeks of November.
      • Wearable electronics: Fitbits and Apple Watches were increasingly sought after.
      • There were two breakout small appliances: the Instant Pot, a new wave pressure cooker, and the air fryer, a healthier alternative to deep fat models.
      • While tablet sales overall have slowed, the iPad has successfully maintained its edge.
      • Under Armour was the breakout apparel & accessories brand for holiday gifting, showing the biggest increase in interest during the week.
      • The Fingerling monkey, the most sought after product of early November, has softened in interest, likely due to inventory challenges and the rising prices that resulted. Some models leapt from an MSRP of $14.95 to well over $100.
      • There was increased interest in Xbox Games and Nintendo systems and Call of Duty WW2, which was released 2 weeks ago, shot up the list as top video game.

Read Criteo’s US Black Friday Report Below:

While we traditionally think of Black Friday as a holiday reserved for the brick-and-mortar experience, it’s clear that shoppers no longer make that distinction. If you want to learn more about how omnishopping, download Criteo’s Shopper Story.

Shopper Story report

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