Black Friday Online Sales driven by Search Advertising registers 31% YoY increase

2012 Holiday Sales are off to a strong start with Black Friday Online Sales registering a Y/Y increase of 31%.

Our findings are based on Black Friday sales data aggregated for 38 large US online retailers (in 7 retail categories representing 120 million search impressions). NetElixir uses proprietary search marketing analytics technology, LXRRetail, for data aggregation and analysis.

Summary of the findings:

  • YOY Sales Revenue driven by Search Advertising increased by 31%.
  • Mobile devices accounted for 15% of total online sales (driven by search).
  • Search Advertising Spend (includes mobile) increased by 21% YOY.
  • Average Cost Per Click (includes mobile) increased by 12% YOY.
  • Average Order Value registered a marginal increase of 3% over last year.
  • Average Number of items in the shopping cart went up by 8%.

Category Level Black Friday YOY Data:

Category YOY Sales Revenue Growth (%) YOY Search Advertising Spend (%) YOY CPC Increase (%) YOY Average Order Value Increase (%)
Flowers & Gifts 22% 24% 17% -2%
Apparel 33% 19% 12% 5%
Consumer Electronics 28% 25% 15% 1%
Food & Drugs 35% 16% 8% 4%
Home Furnishings 30% 19% 8% 4%
Pet Supplies 25% 15% 7% No change
Home Improvement 32% 25% 10% 2%

Key Insights:

Thanksgiving is a major online sales day now: The Black Friday Search query and sales spiked between 9am ET – 12 ET on Thanksgiving Day and then again from 8pm ET.

More items per purchase, however, AOV was fairly flat: This was an interesting trend and we can only hope this does not indicate a slower than expected post Black Friday sales.

Mobile devices accounted for 25% of all searches for consumer electronics: The increasing popularity of mobile devices for searching (and also buying) makes it imperative for every retailer to adopt the best practices for mobile search – have a mobile website, build targeted mobile campaigns and treat this as a unique channel (rather than bundling this with regular search).

% of Overall Black Friday purchases between 6pm and midnight declined from 45% (2011) to 37%: This is an especially interesting observation. Normally, shoppers visit stores during day time.. return home during evenings and then purchase online (especially between 9pm – midnight). This year a higher percentage of all Black Friday purchases happened before 6pm (compared to previous years)… are we observing a shift here? Could mobile be driving this shift?

Here is the table (% of total Black Friday numbers between 6pm ET-midnight ET)

         6pm ET – midnight ET
2011 2012
% of total site visits 32% 31.50%
% of total site orders 45% 37%

We will be releasing our Black Friday and Cyber Monday Data Analysis & Insights whitepaper on Wednesday, 11/28.

– Udayan Bose

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