Want to know the eCommerce stats and trends for this years' Black Friday and Cyber Monday? Our data analysts weigh in on Black Friday and Cyber Monday 2021 performance and compares these figures to the massive revenues seen in 2020. Read on to discover insights and predictions for the upcoming 2022 eCommerce year.
Black Friday Results 2021
Retailers saw slight year-on-year decreases in sales on Black Friday through Cyber Monday 2021 shopping. Sales across the entire month, however, were higher compared to 2020. The Black Friday Cyber Monday statistics indicate that demand has been more evenly spread across the month of November. Cyber Week itself demonstrated 4% overall growth in eCommerce, despite a slight uptick in brick-and-mortar store shopping this year.
Amazon led the pack with the lowest prices, around 14% lower than competitors. This is despite an 11% overall price increase across all categories and vendors. There was also a 14% rise in out-of-stock items for Amazon, given the ongoing supply chain crisis.
Differences Between Cyber Monday 2020 and Cyber Monday 2021
The Black Friday and Cyber Monday 2021 performance must be understood against the backdrop of drastic changes in 2020.
Ecommerce sales jumped an estimated 45% year-on-year compared to 2019’s figures, according to research. While eCommerce had been steadily growing prior to then, the Covid-19 pandemic accelerated this process to bring eCommerce profit to 19% of total global retail sales by 2020, says the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development.
Given the dramatic jump from 2019 to 2020, the YOY change from 2020 to 2021 was predictably more modest.
Cyber Week 2021 saw a 4% growth in sales over 2020. This translates to $62 billion in total sales.
Though this may seem small, it’s important to note that Black Friday revenue 2021 comes after explosive growth in 2020 along with an impressive increase from 2019. According to DataHawk’s reporting, Black Friday 2019 saw a 19.6% increase over previous years and was reported to be the second-highest single day of growth in the history of eCommerce.
Given these numbers, Cyber Week, and especially Black Friday results for 2021, can be seen as a continuation of previous trends.
Projections vs. Performance
According to data collected by SalesForce, the Black Friday Cyber Monday statistics are as follows:
- Online Black Friday 2021: 5% Y-o-Y growth, representing $13.4 billion in digital sales.
- Online Cyber Monday 2021: 3% Y-o-Y growth, representing $11.3 billion in digital sales.
Given the dramatic eCommerce growth seen in 2020 and the challenges presented by the current supply-chain crisis, this performance is consistent with predictions for the 2021 holiday season.
Key Black Friday Cyber Monday Statistics
RetailNext, a firm that uses cameras and motion sensors to track traffic in thousands of retail locations, reported that in-store traffic rose by 61% on Black Friday 2021. It was still down by 27% compared to 2019.
Similar reporting from Sensormatic Solutions indicated a 48% growth in foot traffic over 2020, though 28% lower than 2019.
Business Insider reports that the slight rebound to brick-and-mortar store business could be partially attributable to concerns about shipping delays and supply-chain issues.
In-store apparel sales saw a 47.5% growth in October 2021 compared to the same month in
2020, according to Statista. Many retail locations, like Macy’s, focused on building their inventory of a fewer number of items in the hopes of avoiding out-of-stock items. Other retailers reported holiday stock stuck in transit, according to NPR.
Looking forward, eCommerce vendors can expect returned competition from brick-and-mortar stores while still expecting to maintain the dominance they have gained over the past three years.
Increased Shipping Costs
Amazon alone saw a 14% rise in out-of-stock items on its site since the start of 2021. This limited some vendors' sales for 2021 year because they could not maintain stock for popular items.
Supply chain issues are largely traceable to disruptions in the global manufacturing and fulfillment structure. Much of 2021’s stock issues were attributable to the shortage of shipping containers, which were once in such excess supply that people even converted them into homes.
Pre-pandemic, a shipping container transporting goods from China to the port of Los Angeles costs about $1,200. In 2021, that cost had risen to $20,000.
In addition, a national truck driver shortage rises prices higher and makes shortages more acute. The American Trucking Association estimates there is a shortage of about 80,000 truck drivers nationwide.
Thanks to the increased production of shipping containers and hiring incentives for more warehouse and shipping workers, some of these wrinkles are expected to be ironed out by mid-2022.
Amazon Fulfillment Problems
The Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA) program is popular with third-party Amazon sellers (though there are other options) because it allows them to ship their goods directly to Amazon’s warehouses and let the eCommerce super giant handle the shipping.
As DataHawk has documented in the past, Amazon FBA is notorious for shifting its inventory caps unpredictably. This can make it difficult for third-party vendors to keep items in stock and remain agile when responding to growing consumer demand.
This problem was especially acute leading up to Black Friday and Cyber Monday 2021. Thanks to staffing shortages that delayed unloading new shipments, Amazon imposed strict inventory limits for 2021.
For example, one merchant reported that they could only send in 230 units of a fast-selling novelty board game to an Amazon warehouse when they'd sent thousands in the past. This can have long-lasting issues for Amazon third-party sellers, as lower sales can hurt their inventory performance index.
Additionally, Amazon recommended a November 15 deadline for FBA sellers to ship items to warehouses to have them ready in time for Cyber Week. Amazon also suggested a December 11 deadline for Christmas orders.
According to eCommerceBytes, an online reporter, FBA sellers pushed back against these deadlines, claiming that long warehouse unloading times and inventory caps made it unlikely that these deadlines were early enough to ensure holiday shipping.
Increased Cost of Goods Sold
Between Cyber Week 2020 and Cyber Week 2021, the average prices for all goods increased by around 11%.
Thanks to inflation, supply chain issues, and labor shortages, the overall cost of goods sold for both online and in-person retailers amounted to an extra $220 billion dollars by the end of 2021.
This cost was shared between retailers and consumers.
Strong Amazon Black Friday Despite Challenges
Despite warehouse and unloading challenges, Amazon third-party sellers still saw impressive Black Friday Cyber Monday statistics:
- Amazon’s Black Friday revenue was up 10.68% in 2021
- Total units sold were up 4.36%
- Overall, Amazon was 14% less expensive than its primary competitors
These numbers collectively suggest that higher prices drove profitability in Cyber Week 2021. Despite rising prices, Amazon’s well-established business model allowed it to undercut competitors like Walmart and Target.
Increased eCommerce Growth Early in November
One of the biggest changes in 2020 was the increased sales reported across the month of November, not just during Cyber Week.
Adobe Digital Insights reported that Black Friday revenue 2021 numbers were down 1.4% from last year. Consumers even spent less on average during Cyber Week 2021 than they did in 2019, pre-pandemic.
Despite this, the overall numbers for the entire month are encouraging. Total sales were up 9% from 2020 for November as a whole. This equals $136 billion in eCommerce sales. It also points towards the importance of an extended shopping and shipping season.
Trending 2021 Cyber Week Categories
Categories that generated strong Black Friday Revenue 2021, according to RetailNext, included:
- Luxury handbags - 60% YOY increase
- Furniture - 56% YOY increase
- Footwear - 20% YOY increase
According to Adobe Digital Insights, which closely tracked the eCommerce spend for 2021, Cyber Monday 2021 top categories include:
- Toys (up 11% in November vs September 2021)
- Gift Cards (up 7%)
- Books (7%)
- Video games (6%)
- Baby/Toddler Products (6%)
- Kitchen Appliances (5.6%)
Note that these numbers are compared to the pre-holiday shopping season of the same year: not year-on-year increases.
While categories like furniture and home workout equipment have performed consistently well during the pandemic, agile retailers will need to conduct in-depth product research to determine the best items to feature in their valuable inventory space.
Increased Mobile Sales
During Cyber Week 2021, 61% of online orders and 80% of all traffic came from a mobile device.
This is consistent with the decreased relevance of Cyber Monday as shoppers no longer need to return to work offices to access high-speed internet. Instead, retailers are seeing the holiday shopping season extend throughout November with the importance of the Turkey Five being slightly flattened.
Amazon’s Overall Black Friday Revenue 2021
Amazon led other retailers as the cheapest eCommerce vendor for 2021. Amazon’s prices were, on average, 14% cheaper than their competitors. This is the fifth consecutive year that Amazon has had the lowest Black Friday prices.
In an analysis of Amazon and its 12 closest competitors, Amazon offered the lowest average prices in every category. Online pet supply retailer Chewy was the only company to match Amazon’s prices in any category.
Black Friday revenue 2021 measures revealed that Amazon sold fewer units overall, but sold them for higher prices. It's Black Friday revenue was up by 10.68%, while units sold were up only 4.36%.
Key Takeaways for Amazon Sellers
Amazon was a clear winner in key holiday categories for 2021. Amazon was 13% cheaper than Best Buy, Target, and Walmart for electronics; 15% cheaper than Target and Walmart for video games, and 11% less expensive than Home Depot, Macy’s, Target, and Walmart in the important holiday category of toys and games.
Walmart Closes Gap with Amazon
Of all major digital retailers, Walmart is closest to closing the price gap with Amazon. Walmart’s prices are, on average, within 4% of Amazon’s across all categories.
Home furniture, beauty, and food and beverage were the most competitive categories, with Walmart coming within 1% of Amazon prices.
Walmart’s prices on electronics and video games were still 9% and 13% more expensive than Amazon’s, respectively.
Target Lags Behind Amazon and Walmart
In Black Friday results, 2021 showed Target lagging behind Amazon and Walmart in terms of pricing. Target was 15% more expensive than Amazon on average, an increase of 2% from 2020.
The Role of Specialty Retailers
Chewy has matched Amazon’s prices in the pet category for the third year in a row. Home Depot was within 4% of Amazon’s prices in the tool and home improvement category, and within 5% in appliances, home furniture, sports, and outdoor supplies.
Projections for 2022
Jim Snabe, chairman of German conglomerate Siemens and Danish shipping firm Maersk, predicts that the supply chain crisis may have balanced out by mid-2022. The global shipping and trucking systems are still adjusting to the higher demand for physical goods along with a worker shortage. It is likely that this will be more in balance by the 2022 holiday season.
Cyber Week 2021 demonstrated continued ecommerce growth while also exhibiting strain on the supply chain. Though popular retailers like Amazon and Walmart saw increased sales, large vendors like Gap estimated that supply chain fulfillment issues likely resulted in somewhere between $550 to $650 million lost sales.
If the supply chain balances out by Cyber Week 2022, we may expect to see even greater holiday sales across the month of November.
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