Although many in the retailing industry wince in pain at the sight of slipping consumer confidence while the media lunges at the chance to report it, data from the recent Cyber Weekend showed both ordering and spending are up despite the November drop in shopper sentiment.
Comparing this year’s customer engagement data across Black Friday and Cyber Monday from approximately 28 million engagements to last year’s 18.9 million engagements, SAP Commerce Cloud, a Gartner-recognized digital commerce platform aiming to personalize customer engagement and drive loyalty, revealed more insight into consumer shopping behavior — and it’s clearly not waning.
“Nothing moves retail except a recession,” said Brendan Witcher, principal analyst at Forrester covering e-commerce, technology and consumer data trends, to WWD when asked his insights on the dip in consumer confidence, which fell to 135.7 in November from 137.9 in October, according to the Conference Board.
As for holiday shopping, it’s clear “more and more consumers are shopping later and later,” according to Witcher. While the holiday season trickles over in either direction, shoppers either start shopping early or procrastinate on gift-giving.
Slicing the mammoth holiday shopping pie and only taking a bite out of the Cyber Weekend data — SAP provides context as to exactly how consumers shopped on Black Friday — coast-to-coast. On the East Coast, stereotypical “workaholic” shoppers were busy with stealthy Black Friday ordering during lunchtime, likely while at work. Data revealed the busiest shopping hour was 1 p.m. EST, with orders placed by 2 p.m. EST and the highest conversion rate also recorded at that time. During the same time frame, the West Coast shopper, tracking three hours behind their East Coast counterpart, likely began their mornings with in-store exclusives and morning doorbusters.
Across Black Friday and Cyber Monday, average order value increased by 11.57 percent compared against those who shopped during 2017. Scrolling across pages of weekend promotions, shoppers were enticed by the convenience of online shopping. In tandem, total page views from online shoppers, increased 29 percent, in comparison to SAP Commerce Cloud data from 2017.
Witcher agrees the “promotional nature of this season” is why e-commerce is alluring to holiday shoppers. But he sees percentages as less informing than dollar sales, and the whole is greater than the parts — with yearly shopping data garnering more business insights than a segment of the year.
To that point, Witcher reiterates that over the year, in-store sales command $3 trillion while only $400 billion is attributed to e-commerce, including both online and mobile spend. Looking back at the data for the cyber spend, globally, the conversion rate during 2018 Black Friday grew by 12.6 percent compared to last year. As evidenced in the data, holiday shoppers won’t cease spending sprees unless gifted a setback of recession proportions.