2017 Holiday Performance Benchmarks

Feb 2, 2018
Written by Sandrine Thompson

Across CJ Affiliate’s global network, Holiday 2017 delivered strong revenue and order growth throughout the holiday season.

Affiliate growth in the network this year exceeded US retail industry benchmarks released by comScore and Adobe and reaffirmed affiliate’s position in the digital marketers’ playbook. Enthusiastic shoppers again pushed Black Friday and Cyber Monday to new sales peaks, and strong shopper demand across many global markets gave affiliate marketers many reasons to celebrate.

A full analysis of Holiday 2017, plus strategies for Holiday 2018, will be released by CJ Affiliate in June in our annual Holiday Intelligence Report. Until then, we’ve prepared performance benchmarks to assist you with your post-holiday analysis.

Read on for an overview of the findings, and download our Holiday Performance Benchmarks.

Strong Global Growth

Holiday revenue in CJ’s global network of publishers and advertisers increased 34% YOY, with a 19% increase in orders. The CJ Europe markets led in revenue growth, due to overall strong growth in basket value and orders, partly driven by an increase in shoppers from Poland, Czech Republic, and Hungary making purchases from CJ’s affiliated network of Eastern European consumer shopping sites.

Network revenue in the United Kingdom increased 33% YOY, driven by strong daily sales growth throughout the entire holiday season (November 1 – December 31) and strong growth in basket size. UK shoppers again responded positively to the roll-out of Black Friday deals, particularly on small electronics. And while revenue on Black Friday in the UK was up 39% YOY, clicks were down 13% YOY. We believe this to be caused by UK shoppers increased usage of mobile devices for research by UK, resulting in many cross-device clicks not being captured by affiliate tracking.

Beyond Europe and the US

New global markets are growing their contribution to sales during the holiday season, as affiliate marketing’s growth in Asia and Latin America bears fruit. Orders from Asia Pacific countries, most notably the Philippines, Australia, and Singapore, increased 25% YOY. Brazil and Mexico this holiday season emerged as strong performers as well, followed by Argentina and the Dominican Republic. Sales in Asia were led by South Korea and India—orders from both markets increased 20% YOY during Holiday 2017.

Cross-Device Shopping

Across the holiday season, CJ Affiliate tracked hundreds of thousands of cross-device orders. Thanksgiving Day was a peak day for cross-device orders—19% of Thanksgiving Day cross-device orders originated on a desktop and completed on a smartphone. We find this is due to the fact that US shoppers are frequently away from their laptop or desktop computers. On Cyber Monday, 36% of cross-device orders both originated AND concluded on desktops—one of the highest rates of the holiday season. Desktop orders that originated on smartphones accounted for 26% and 28% of cross-device orders, on Black Friday and Cyber Monday respectively. Across the holiday season, Free Shipping Day (Dec 15) saw the highest number of cross-device orders.

Technology Products were Top Sellers

Small electronics, televisions, gaming consoles, and computers were popular items this year. In the US and UK markets, electronics were the most popular items sold, including: robotic floor vacuums, flat-screen televisions, tablets, laptops, cameras, and voice-activated home assistants. The volume of electronics sold in these markets suggests that the appetite for electronics remains strong among affiliate shoppers, and the holiday time period is seen as a prime time to purchase electronics as gifts for the home.

Cyber Monday vs. Black Friday

In the US market, Cyber Monday was the dominant sales day in terms of revenue and order volume, although Black Friday’s sales were nearly as high. The US network on Cyber Monday saw 30% YOY revenue growth, greater than Black Friday’s 25% growth. Black Friday, the second highest sales revenue day of the holiday season, may have had its growth tempered by shopping on the days leading up to Black Friday. Order volume in the first 20 days of November 2017 increased 22% YOY. 

Free Shipping Day

Free Shipping Day presented a late-season shipping event for shoppers. CJ Network revenue on Free Shipping Day increased 25% YOY on top of very high prior-year revenue growth (50%). Free Shipping Day’s strong, consistent growth underscores how appealing to shoppers’ interest in free shipping can pay off for marketers. Late-season sales has developed into an important trend for marketers. We’ll cover more on late-season shopping performance and related strategies in our 2018 Holiday Intelligence Report, scheduled for release in June 2018.

Check out CJ Affiliate’s Holiday Performance Benchmarks for an overview of the findings.

Download Report


Methodology: Growth values were calculated using same store retail sales tracked in the CJ network through November 1 – December 31 and compared against 2016 same day sales.

Topics: Retail, Holiday,