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Thoughts on the 2021 BFCM Ecommerce Season

Thoughts on the 2021 BFCM Ecommerce Season

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BFCM 2021 General Ponderings

What an interesting weekend we just experienced!

A number of things impacted consumer trends, and I think it's worth pointing them out as we analyze the 2021 holiday season. I'm going to make this short and to the point.

2020 was the year of anomalies. We have to keep repeating that to ourselves. Don't forget to keep an eye on comp numbers vs 2019 and 2018 rather than relying solely on 2020.

This is because (obviously), stuff was hitting the fan last year (in endless ways, at times it seemed) and most Ecommerce shops had record years simply because brick and mortar was still relatively non-existent in November 2020 due to the pandemic.

Speaking of brick and mortar, it made more of a return this year than 2020 which inevitably had an impact on Ecom sales numbers... though it's still short of pre-pandemic levels (and that could be a trend, not simply a slow year after-pandemic behavior... but we'll have to wait and see on that)

The big story however, is the earlier buying behavior from consumers. Andy Taylor at Tinuiti had some great summary thoughts on BFCM 2021, and he identified stronger sales growth in the early part of November in their client data.

For anyone paying attention, this should come as no surprise since the words "supply chain" were more prevalent in everyday conversations this fall than the words "chug chug" at a college frat party.

Consumers took this to heart and purchased early, likely in order to avoid out of stock holiday gifts, and this, along with decent Black Friday sales numbers especially hit Cyber Monday sales. Adobe noted an actual decline on Cyber Monday this year (first time ever) from 2020, but the previously mentioned things, specifically an abnormally strong 2020 Ecommerce season plus spread out user purchasing this year from fear of supply chain issues, should lead us to respond less with panic, and more with shrugs of expectation.

One 2022 pondering to consider, is to keep an eye on whether certain consumer trends continue into future BFCM seasons.

Is the idea of 2 key "sales days" ending (I would cheer this on, if so)?

Surely consumers are fooled less than they used to be with publicized practices such as price-raising, only to be marked down on Black Friday as a "sale" causing further distrust of holiday marketing. That along with the forced shift online from the pandemic, could result in businesses reconsidering whether to only offer big sales on BFCM and risk lower sales days on Cyber Monday if people have already purchased.

Perhaps the best thing to do in 2022 will be to have a November-wide sale (rather than one or two big sales over BFCM), which also better spreads out resources, teams, shipping times, and demand on retailers. Something to ponder.

Regardless, I hope this quick look at BFCM from my point of view has been helpful as you analyze your data and move forward in the continually changing landscape that is Ecommerce.


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