Black Friday came a week later than usual in 2019, which sent retailers into overdrive – launching into an early “Black Friday week” rather than relying on the traditional Black Friday itself as the kickoff date. Motivated in part by this unusual lateness in the calendar as well as the ongoing uncertainty around US tariff wars with China, which promise to make consumer electronics and toys -- big holiday sellers -- abnormally expensive this year, retailers wanted to get ahead of the challenges posed by offering an earlier, longer and steeper discount period.
Salesforce Commerce Cloud data predictions reveal that 2019 will see at least 13% year-on-year revenue growth and total sales of USD 136 billion between November 1 and December 31 in the US alone. A lot of this is going to happen during the infamous Black Friday – Cyber Monday long weekend, also known as the Cyber Five. It is, after all, no longer a one-day event but a multi-day sales extravaganza in which consumer sales participation is high (up to 70% of consumers plan to get involved in the fun, according to McKinsey research) and growing globally.
The countdown is on - we’re just a week away from Black Friday, meaning that you have already prepared your website to face the traffic demands it will - hopefully - face and surmount. In previous years, we’ve written about getting ready for Black Friday because it has traditionally been a peak-traffic occasion, but it has become common for outages to occur at other random peak-traffic times because there are actually other major, but sometimes predictable, traffic jams. As it happens, major shopping days are no longer limited to the Black Friday/Cyber Monday weekend each year - with the end-of-year shopping season beginning online earlier and earlier, and the biggest stumbling blocks lately happening in the US on Thanksgiving Day itself.
The nature of Black Friday is changing, with the trend leaning toward more and more brick-and-mortar retailers staying closed on the big post-Thanksgiving (in the US at least) ‘biggest shopping day of the year’. But this isn’t just an altruistic reprieve on the part of retailers, giving their employees a well-deserved day off with their families: the new reality is that most people are doing their shopping and searching for the best deals online.