The 2020 Cyber Five shopping period broke all previous records for Cyber Five spending, coming in at about 38 billion USD (compared to 28.5 billion USD in 2019). This probably won’t come as a surprise as Black Friday and Cyber Monday moved almost entirely online, followed by record-breaking Amazon Prime Day and Singles Day preceding the Thanksgiving holiday weekend. Despite the continued onslaught of Covid-19, good news about successful vaccine trials and greater certainty of a peaceful transfer of power to the new president-elect in the United States contributed to a boost in consumer confidence.
Thanks to Covid-19, 2020 has been a year in which e-commerce leapt ahead of all expectations to achieve a decade’s worth of growth in just under nine months. As a result, the novelty of online shopping will have worn off and become a normal part of daily life. More consumers than ever are online not only looking for steep discounts and crazy deals but are also relying on e-commerce for necessities and basics. This holiday season, the Cyber-Five shopping period appears to be on track for moving almost completely online, influenced by skyrocketing Covid numbers, lockdowns and social distancing guidelines, a new level of comfort with online shopping, and a wide array of bargains to incentivize shopping online.
E-commerce has always been somewhat unpredictable, characterized by predictable peaks on “shopping holidays” such as Black Friday (and the weekend that follows) and Singles Day. Other more “everyday” events and trends make online shopping spikes inevitable but completely unpredictable, such as when a celebrity wears something that sparks off a spike in demand.
Savvy consumers know that shopping for bargains is a year-round endeavor. And e-commerce companies who have orchestrated major shopping events throughout the year, rather than relying on the be-all, end-all nature of the traditional Black Friday shopping period in the US, are finding ways to lure in revenue at typically lean times of year. What began as primarily American with the post-Thanksgiving holiday chaos of Black Friday has crept into not only a longer shopping period, extending across the entire weekend after Thanksgiving (and sometimes earlier), but has ballooned globally, with retailers worldwide latching onto the Black Friday sales theme to promote pre-holiday shopping.