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2019 Holiday Peak Week Benchmarks

Dec 10, 2019
Written by Sandrine T.

With a strong start in early November, holiday sales in the CJ Network are on track to exceed ecommerce growth forecasts and demonstrate the power of affiliate to bring it home for the holidays.

Based on sales data in CJ Affiliate’s network, North American holiday revenue on Cyber Monday (Dec. 2) this year increased 58% over last year. Appliances, televisions, home electronics, and computers have been the top-selling items this season. Apparel and kitchen items were purchased in huge volumes across the largest shopping days, Thanksgiving Day through Cyber Monday.

A Very Early Start

As we’ve seen for the past few years, shoppers continue to start holiday shopping earlier each year. With a shortened holiday season on deck (this year there are five fewer days between Black Friday and Christmas Day than last year) early shopping was encouraged and amplified by early-release Black Friday deals. Sales for the first two weeks of November were up 33% YOY and the momentum generated by extended promos and newly released offers kept the sales coming.

Shoppers stayed engaged with retailer promotions right up through Thanksgiving Day. Thanksgiving is typically a strong retail day (and the holiday season’s peak day for sales made on smartphones) in the network. However, this year, Thanksgiving Day sales thunder was stolen by the day prior—revenue growth on Wednesday (Nov. 27) was 35% YOY compared to 5% YOY growth on Thanksgiving.

Black Friday and Beyond

Black Friday revenue increased 36% YOY due to solid sales growth, slightly down from the prior year. But shoppers came back strong over the weekend—orders on the Saturday and Sunday sandwiched between Black Friday and Cyber Monday (sometimes referred to as Cyber Weekend) were up 40% YOY, with revenue up 50% across North American retailers. A 7% increase in average order values on these days—particularly on orders made in the Beauty, Computer, and Home & Garden categories—contributed to revenue growth.

Cyber Monday’s heavy 58% YOY growth, compared to the relatively modest growth on Thanksgiving Day, reflects a major shift in the revenue distribution across what has been the strongest sales period of the season (Thanksgiving Day through Cyber Monday).

Savvy Publishers and retailers that started promotions in early November have shown that what constitutes the “peak” sales period of the holiday season is open for interpretation each year. Retailers that chose to invest heavily in Publisher holiday promotions in November have clearly reaped the benefits.

What’s Ahead

With strong retail growth already on the books, it does raise a concern: have holiday shoppers already burnt through their holiday spend with 14 shopping days left? Shopper buying behavior so far signals they are keen to buy, and the next big online shopping day will be Free Shipping Day (Dec. 14).

eMarketer forecasts that total US ecommerce sales will climb 15% YOY and total $142 billion in 2019. Based on November sales performance to date, growth of US sales in the CJ network is again on pace to exceed eMarketer’s US growth forecast for the holiday season.

Stay tuned for CJ Affiliate’s complete 2019 holiday performance benchmarks which will be released in late January.

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Methodology: Growth values were calculated using same-store retail sales tracked in the CJ network through Nov. 1 through Dec. 2 and compared against 2018 same day sales. These growth values may alter as additional sales are reported, corrected and/or returns are processed.