Media Insights

Marketer’s Recap Holiday 2020 | Cyber 5 Performance

Cyber 5 ecommerce performance crushed last year’s results. Read more on industry and Ovative client trends, implications, and what actions you should be taking in response.

With the shift to digital this holiday season, Cyber Week outperformed last year’s results with 15-20% growth rates industry-wide. The Ovative team is excited to share what macro and client trends we are seeing to help you plan for the rest of the season.

Over the critical five-day sales period from Thanksgiving Day through Cyber Monday, ecommerce offset in-store sales declines, however increased online volume is causing shipping concerns. As brands scaled digital efforts to convert online traffic, we observed overall higher CPCs, CPMs, and reduced conversion rates compared to last year.

Read all of our insights and what actions you should be taking below.

Macro Trends – What macroeconomic trends did we observe?

TREND 1: Cyber 5 online sales offset in-store declines and crushed last year’s results as consumers shifted to ecommerce shopping with daily growth rates between 15-20% year over year, however results still felt short of industry predictions.

  • Ecommerce spending on Thanksgiving rose nearly 22% year over year (YoY), up to $5.1B, offsetting 95% in-store traffic declines with major store closings. 1
  • Online spending on Black Friday grew +21.6% YoY surpassing $9B. Black Friday in-store traffic fell by 52% YoY with slower traffic in the Northeast and West than in the Midwest and South. 1
  • Online spending hit $10.8B on Cyber Monday, a +15% increase YoY, making it the biggest US ecommerce day ever. The day’s sales came in shy of the original $12.7B forecast from Adobe. 2
  • Online sales on Small Business Saturday grew +18% YoY, pulling in $4.7B in sales. 3
  • So what? The miss to forecast suggests consumers started shopping earlier than anticipated with promotions beginning in October. Continue to lean into ecommerce to offset in-store declines until shipping cutoffs, and align on approach and budgets for Q1 2021 as the holiday shopping likely tapers off earlier this year.

TREND 2: Delivery companies hit capacity with the ecommerce shopping surge putting shipping for many brands at risk.

  • Products shipped between mid-Nov and end of Dec are estimated to exceed shipping capacity by 5% globally, putting 700M packages at risk of being delayed. 4
  • UPS is the first to impose shipping restrictions on some of the largest retainers, instructing drivers to not pick up some packages on Cyber Monday. 5
  • UPS and FedEx have raised prices and promised to hold merchants to volume agreements, throttling the flow of packages to preserve performance. 5
  • So what? Proactively communicate potential delays to customers and revisit shipping cutoff communications. Test hybrid fulfillment options like pick-up in store and allow customers to opt into delayed delivery, testing into various incentives.

Ovative Cross-Client Trends – What trends did Ovative clients experience?

As brands scaled digital efforts substantially to convert online traffic, we observed overall higher CPCs, CPMs, and reduced conversion rates compared to last year.

  • Brands on average increased digital spending YoY by 70%, driving increased site traffic but contributing to lower Conversion Rates (CVR) YoY.
  • Black Friday accounted for the highest spend day for our clients making up 26% of total Cyber 5 spending driving a CVR 21% higher than the 5-day period average.
  • Cyber Monday and Thanksgiving Day came in close second, driving 22% and 19% of spend, respectively. Facebook in particular delivered its highest CVR and Return on Ad Spend (ROAS) on Thanksgiving Day.
  • Despite Black Friday deals now lasting for several days and melding with Cyber Monday, there was nonetheless very significant day over day drop-offs in demand and revenue for both Saturday and Sunday. Retailers with the strongest promotions fared the best at maintaining volume through the weekend.

So what? As we approach the back-half of the holiday season, marketers focus should shift to navigating shipping cutoffs, store closures, and potential challenges with fulfilment with a keen eye toward 2021 planning. Proactively discuss and share recommendations and contingency plans including:

  • Know what channels and tactics are best for driving traffic to stores (and vice a versa), and have a plan to shift spend and volume as shipping cutoffs approach and/or store closures occur.
  • Understand your inventory levels, and revisit your plan to push products with high margin and high inventory in-stocks.
  • Test delayed shipping and store pick-up consumer incentives. 
  • Help keep brand equity and consumer experience top of mind with every marketing decision, proactively communicating with consumers to prevent brand disappointment.

With Cyber 5 wrapped, earlier holiday shopping, and approaching shipping cutoffs this year holiday sales will likely taper off sooner than previous years. Marketer’s should be looking ahead and aligning on their approach and budgets for 2021. Leverage insights around COVID consumer behavior and your business operations during this unprecedented time to inform Q1 strategy.

Ovative is a digital-first media and measurement firm seeking to transform the measure of marketing success. At Ovative, we help brands move the needle. We are curious. We value your brand. We want to see you succeed. Connect with us to learn more!

1 | CNBC, Black Friday Shopping in Stores Craters 52% During Pandemic as E-commerce Sales Surge, November 2020
2 | CNBC, Online Sales Reach $10.8 Billion on Cyber Monday, The Biggest U.S. E-commerce Day Ever, December 2020
3 | eMarketer, Thanksgiving Weekend Online Sales Reach New Heights But Miss Expectations, December 2020
4 | Salesforce, Biggest Digital Holiday Season Ever Will Strain Shipping Capacity According to Salesforce Forecast, October 2020
5 | Wall Street Journal, UPS Slaps Shipping Limits on Gap, Nike to Manage E-Commerce Surge, December 2020

Lillian Smith

Senior Analyst, Paid Social

About the Author

Lillian is a Senior Analyst on the Paid Social team at Ovative.

Dale Nitschke

Dale Nitschke

CEO & Founder

About the Author

Dale is the Founder and CEO of Ovative. After years of operating a large omni-channel business and leading a customer data initiative, Dale knew there was an opportunity to create a marketing firm that helped clients become more customer centric and drove better performance outcomes. A gap existed between business consultancies and advertising agencies that modern marketing approaches demand. He also believed that a strong, healthy culture could attract and develop smart, talented team members. In 2009, he formed Ovative to bring media, measurement, and consulting together under one roof to enable an enterprise approach that drives more revenue and grows clients’ customer base.

Prior to founding Ovative in 2009, Dale spent 23 years at Target Corporation where he served as President of and grew the ecommerce business from start-up stage to a $1 billion+ business and established the foundation of Target’s Guest database capabilities. Previously he served as SVP Merchandising at the Department Store Division of Dayton Hudson. Dale has advised retailers and brands globally on business, growth, marketing, and measurement transformation strategies.

Outside of Ovative, Dale is a leader on topics including business strategy, change management, and team leadership. He serves on the board of Allergy Amulet and on the Dean’s Advisory Board of the Wisconsin School of Business at UW-Madison.  He enjoys spending time with his family, up north in northern Wisconsin, playing golf, and cheering on Wisconsin sport teams.

Seth Brand

Senior Manager, Consulting

About the Author

Seth is a Senior Manager on the Consulting team at Ovative.

Amanda McCann

Senior Manager, Consulting

About the Author

Amanda is a Senior Manager on the Consulting team at Ovative, specializing in Retail Media Networks.

Jenny Reinke

Senior Analyst, Measurement Solutions

About the Author

Jenny is a Senior Analyst on the Measurement Solutions team at Ovative.

Annie Zipfel

Executive Vice President, Media

About the Author

Annie is the Executive Vice President of Media at Ovative. She oversees delivery and growth across paid and owned media (digital, traditional, and retail media) and creative services.

Annie has more than 30 years of experience in media, brand management, insights/analytics, marketing, and product. She has also developed large, high-performing teams and built new measurement capabilities. Annie led the marketing team at Andersen Windows & Doors, leading the digital, social, content, customer insights, and creative functions. Prior to that, Annie served in multiple marketing leadership roles at Starbucks, REI, Target, and General Mills, with a keen focus on brand, media, insights, analytics, and measurement.

Annie is an industry leader in brand management, customer insights, e-commerce, social media, and analytics. She enjoys hiking, traveling, cooking, fishing, and spending time with her sweet dog and two sons.

Bonnie Gross

Executive Vice President, Talent Services

About the Author

Bonnie is the Executive Vice President of Talent Services at Ovative. She is responsible for attracting and retaining top talent and creating a culture in which our team thrives personally and professionally. Under Bonnie’s leadership, Ovative has defined an industry leading leadership and development program and transformed our approach to talent recruitment with a focus on diversity, equality and inclusion. Prior to her current role, Bonnie led Ovative’s Client and Business Development team overseeing client satisfaction and new growth opportunities.

Before joining Ovative in 2014, Bonnie spent 13 years at Target Corporate as the VP of digital and Digital Marketing where she led the launch of Cartwheel, an industry-leading social shopping application. Bonnie was the VP of Marketing for Fingerhut for 15 years prior to joining Target.

Leander Cohen

Analyst, Consulting

About the Author

Leander Cohen is an Analyst on the Consulting team at Ovative.

Will Silva

Analyst, Measurement Solutions

About the Author

Will is an Analyst on the Measurement Solutions team at Ovative.

Sarah Chang

Sarah Chang

Analyst, Consulting

About the Author

Sarah Chang is an Analyst on the Consulting team at Ovative.

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