Black Friday 2021: a less favorable balance

  • You have probably noticed that Black Friday 2021 has not seen the same volume as previous occasions. Let's analyse the reasons.

  • Every year, the eCommerce world goes into upheaval at the end of November. The famous Black Friday becomes the priority for sellers and buyers, one of the most important periods of the year and the prelude to Christmas.
    As you know, it is called Black Friday because even the reddest numbers change on that post-Thanksgiving day. But this year, it seems that it has not been so bad.
  • How much has consumption fallen?

  • For this, it is always best to take as a reference the data provided by certain web analytics tools, because they are the ones that can offer a more panoramic view from the big data.
    On this occasion, we share with  you the report recently published by Adobe, which clearly shows that the Black Week (from Black Friday to Cyber Monday) has fallen by 1.4% in sales compared to the previous year in the U.S. market.
    In absolute numbers, we went from $9 billion to "only" $8.9 billion. This is not a catastrophic drop, but it is more than remarkable.
  • However, there is a very interesting fact that helps to better understand the trend: from November 1 to 29 -always according to the same source- the year is clearly higher than 2020, exceeding its sales figures by almost 12%.
  • Why did Black Friday 2021 tank?

  • According to data, let's analyse the reasons why this Black Friday 2021 has not performed as well as other editions.
    There is no single reason; it is actually a concatenation of different factors that, once added together, have resulted in a lower amount of sales.
  • #1 – Supply chain crisis

  • On this blog, we have already talked at length about the so-called "container crisis" that is hitting global commerce so hard. The user is no stranger to this and, anticipating that the logistics on Black Friday could be particularly complicated this year, has brought forward their purchases to ensure delivery times.
    It makes sense, therefore, that there have been sales prior to Black Friday. The Coronavirus has also influenced this habit of the consumer who, for once, has considered that it is worth paying a little more and having their orders on time.
  • #2 – Promotions are excessively long

  • What were initially offers that could only be obtained on Fridays and Mondays have lost part of their raison d'être since they now last 10, 15 or 20 days.
    We are no longer generating the urgency that we used to achieve by concentrating promotions. The effect of this is a much more reflexive purchase, which allows us to compare prices and conditions. We know for a fact that the more the user thinks, the more complicated impulse buying becomes, which is the typical driver of Black Friday.
  • #3 – Lower bids and credibility

  • This reason is not exclusively due to economic or sanitary circumstances, but it is clear that they also have an influence. The seller is paying more for items such as logistics (containers shipped from China double in price every few days), energy has skyrocketed and so has the cost of road transport... This means less margin and, consequently, less joy when it comes to establishing discounts.
    But if we are fair, consumers have long been increasingly skeptical of Black Friday deals. Some bad practices unethically promoted by large platforms -such as raising prices a few days before to reduce them just in the period corresponding to Black Week-, make pay for the sins of others.
    This is yet another factor to add to the reflective part of the consumer exercise, as we mentioned in the previous section.
  • #4 – We come from an extraordinary previous year

  •  Nor should we lose perspective in this regard. E-commerce in an unvaccinated pandemic had enormous growth. People, before Christmas 2020, had a greater sense of fear, so they did not go to retail, which also had a much tighter set of restrictions.
  • Therefore, we are comparing a period of certain normality with a period still very much affected by the COVID-19 effect. This distorts the comparison to some extent.
    These are, in our view, the reasons why Black Friday 2021 offers a less favorable balance. Still there are always factors that affect on a niche, category or individual level.
  • What was your experience on Black Friday 2021 - did your results get better or worse? We are looking forward to hearing from you!

  • Images | Unsplash.

Laia Ordoñez

Laia Ordóñez is a copywriting & eCommerce content marketing expert. She is Content & Marketing Manager at DueHome, a copywriting & content independent advisor, and Oleoshop's blog's editor-in-chief.

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