Three Trends That Will Shape Black Friday Cyber Monday 2020

black friday cyber monday 2020

With all the uncertainties happening in the world, even remembering the date is hard. So allow your shoppers to remind you: according to thousands of shoppers we surveyed, it’s the eve of Black Friday Cyber Monday.

This year, BFCM shopping has started much earlier. According to the latest research from Shopify, 54% of shoppers said they plan to start shopping for BFCM deals a month in advance. In fact, 1 in 5 shoppers (20%) had already begun shopping in August.* Below you’ll find the top three trends coming out of our annual survey, along with insight and tips for addressing each.

1. Most—but not all—BFCM shopping will take place online

With large parts of the world still sheltering in place, fewer shoppers are looking for in-store deals during this BFCM. Only 3% of BFCM shoppers plan to shop exclusively in retail stores this year, compared to 8% in 2019.

In fact, close to half (49%) of U.S. shoppers plan to shop exclusively online during BFCM weekend. Expect even more shoppers in the U.K. (62%), Germany (53%), Australia (53%), and Canada (52%) to shop online exclusively. 

The vast majority of BFCM shoppers (97%) plan to combine online and in-store shopping. Omnichannel shoppers plan to spend 43% more than online-only shoppers (average of $812 vs. $567). They’re also more likely than online-only buyers to shop for higher-priced items, such as electronics, appliances, furniture, fine jewelry/watches, etc. 

📍 Retail-specific tips:

  • Consider adapting your delivery schedule to accommodate the rush. Perhaps same-day or next-day delivery is an unrealistic expectation to set. Whatever you decide, be sure that your updated delivery timelines are communicated clearly to customers during multiple stages of the purchase.
  • When you're anticipating a spike in volume, it's also a good time to think about conversion rate optimization. If you’re a Shopify customer, many of these tactics can be implemented/tested through Shopify apps

💡 BFCM tip:

During previous BFCMs, retailers would place a heavy focus on prepping their brick-and-mortar stores for the throng of customers camped outside their doors. This year, online store owners should focus on recreating digital version of that experience:

  • Optimize your website for traffic spikes during BFCM weekend
  • Simplify the checkout experience to reduce cart abandonment (which is typically higher during BFCM) 
  • Provide fast shipping options and curbside pickup as most of us are still in lockdown

A slow checkout experience is like tripping at the finish line. If you’re a Shopify customer, your online store speed report in your admin is a great first step to determine how your store performs and how that compares to other similar stores.

TRY THIS: Turn on Shop Pay to increase your checkout speed by 4x.

Learn more about the online store speed report in our Help Center. 

2. Shoppers are on the lookout for clothes and electronics this BFCM

After months of working in our pajamas, it looks like we’re ready for a change. This BFCM, shoppers are most interested in buying new clothes, shoes, and accessories (67%), followed by electronics (48%), toys & games (47%), gift cards (41%), and health & beauty (39%).

This stands in stark contrast to the trending product categories we saw shortly after lockdowns in March, which included furniture, home office equipment, and exercise equipment. As a result, the data above feels remarkably normal—at least as far as BFCM shopping trends go. Maybe we’re already adapting to a new baseline of normalcy

📍 Retail-specific tips:

If your products fall under one of the top categories, you may consider increasing your inventory and doubling down on promoting these ahead of BFCM. 

And although some of us might protest the immediate swapping of Halloween pumpkins for holiday merch, you shouldn't hesitate to showcase some of your holiday-themed products. Remember: BFCM isn’t just about increasing your revenue. It’s an opportunity to acquire and retain new customers when they’re ready to do their holiday shopping. 

💡 BFCM tips:

  • According to Google, searches for “gift cards” spike this time of year. And with 41% of BFCM shoppers looking for gift cards, you may want to set up a digital gift card (which anyone with a Shopify plan can do) for all those generous stocking stuffers out there. 
  • Set up the Google & YouTube app to reach new customers and help your products get discovered across Google.
  • Stay on top of product trends. If you haven’t already, subscribe to our blog newsletter to receive a weekly digest of trending products! 

TRY THIS: Combine gift cards with a promo this year by offering a “free gift card with purchase.” Whether it’s claimed by a returning customer or gifted to a new customer, it’s a win-win.

3. BFCM shoppers plan to spend more this year

Global pandemic and economic uncertainties be damned—shoppers aren’t feeling deterred from spending big this season. On average, BFCM shoppers plan to spend $686 USD over the long weekend. This is 23% more than what shoppers planned to spend in 2019 ($559 USD). 

Taking a closer look into the demographics of these deal-loving shoppers, we find a few more trends: 

  • Younger BFCM shoppers (18-34) plan to spend significantly more ($824) than BFCM shoppers 35-54 ($689) and those 55+ ($456). 
  • Men plan to spend significantly more than women ($949 vs. $435), largely because they’re planning to buy across more product categories than women and more likely to buy more expensive items like electronics, appliances, and fine jewelry/watches (see below). 
  • BFCM shoppers with children at home plan to spend significantly more than shoppers without children at home ($964 vs. $498). 

💡 BFCM tips:

If you sell products for anyone in the categories above, you’ll want to consider how you structure your promotions to target these high-value shoppers.

It’s not too late to join the biggest sales season of the year

BFCM is an amazing opportunity to not just help your bottom line but to forge relationships with new customers and retain old ones. Although it's always best to plan weeks or months in advance, if you’re still on 2019’s BFCM planning schedule (i.e., you haven’t started just yet) don’t worry—we’ve got you covered! The following guides are filled with easy checklists and ideas that anyone with a few days can do: 

* Insights are representative of respondents that plan to make a purchase this Black Friday / Cyber Monday, unless otherwise noted. Online survey conducted among representative samples of consumers living in USA (n=503) between October 1 - 8, 2020.