Woman shopping for Cyber Weekend on macbookFor many years Cyber Weekend has been the largest retail event to take place annually in the United States. What began in the 1950s as Black Friday grew to include Cyber Monday and now, sees promotions start on the last Thursday in November in-line with US Thanksgiving. And thanks to globalisation, Cyber Weekend has grown in popularity with shoppers outside of the US to become a staple retail event for consumers globally, including throughout APAC.

In fact, the National Australia Bank (NAB) in 2019 anticipated shoppers to spend $2.9 billion between Black Friday and Cyber Monday, a $73 million increase from 2018 sales. And the National Retail Association forecasted spend online and in stores to reach $5 billion.

Though it is too early to say if sales forecast were met, the consumer data that is available reveals strong performance growth from Cyber Weekend 2019.

Data from the Rakuten Marketing APAC affiliate network reveals that cashback and loyalty publishers were responsible for driving 63% of affiliate orders over the course of Cyber Week. And the Apparel & Accessories category was most popular with consumers, accounting for 28% of orders.

Digging deeper into the network’s data, desktop remained the device of choice for consumers shopping throughout Cyber Weekend, accounting for 59% of affiliate orders. Of note was the shift to mobile in 2019, driving 40% of orders, increasing almost 50% from 2018 when mobile was responsible for just 27% of orders.

Across the weekend, sales and orders were highest on Black Friday, though conversion rate increased on Cyber Monday. This trend is a reflection of consumer intent to spend over peak retail periods in the lead up to the holidays. Research conducted by Rakuten Marketing before the holiday season revealed that consumers in Australia and South Korea classify themselves as ‘holiday shoppers’, while Singaporeans are driven by deals and bargains.

Across the Asia-Pacific region, network orders were strongest from Australia (31%), China (18%) and South Korea (13%).

Breaking the data down to explore the performance of each day across Asia-Pacific revealed the following:

Thursday
Consumers began shopping early with data from Rakuten Marketing’s programmatic display channel showing that total retail orders increased 56% Year-on-Year from 2018, and total retail revenue rose by 58% YoY.

Data from the Search channel further supports that many consumers were on the hunt for early promotions, with clicks peaking between 8pm and 9pm on Thursday before Cyber Weekend. Overall searches experienced a growth of 227% YoY and clicks increased 124% from the Thursday of Cyber Weekend in 2018.

On the Rakuten Marketing APAC affiliate network, performance exceeded triple-digit growth for Thursday, achieving 110% YoY click growth, and 40% YoY sales increase, while orders rose by 92% in 2019.

Black Friday
Retail sales on Black Friday increased 35% this year, while orders increased by 20%. Black Friday revealed an interesting shift in the consumer device of choice, with mobile sales across Rakuten Marketing’s programmatic display network outpacing desktop, driving 49% of all orders.

The Rakuten Marketing Affiliate Network experienced a similar trend with the majority of clicks (53%) on Black Friday coming from mobile devices. Affiliate orders were primarily purchased via desktop (57%), with the device also driving a higher average-order-value of $183.80 vs. mobile AOV of $153.03.

Across all devices, Rakuten Marketing Affiliate Network experienced double-digit growth on Black Friday. Clicks rose 84% YoY, there were 79% more orders placed in 2019 than 2018, and sales increased 29% from last year.

Cyber Weekend
Saturday and Sunday of Cyber Weekend saw orders driven by the affiliate network have a stronger AOV ($218.84 on Saturday and $174.92 on Sunday). Clicks, orders and sales all experienced steady growth across the weekend. On Saturday affiliate clicks rose 61%, orders increased 58%, and sales reached 71% YoY growth in 2019.  Sunday saw the affiliate channel experienced a 71% increase in clicks, 57% order growth, and sales rise 90% from 2018.

Sales growth on Sunday exceeded Saturday with data from Rakuten Marketing’s Display Network revealing retails sales on Saturday increased 21% from 2018, while sales made on Sunday experienced 78% YoY growth.

Revenue driven by search increased by 80% YoY over Cyber Weekend 2019. Searches and clicks peaked during the evening, between 6pm and 9pm, with mobile accounting for 72% of all searches and 74% of clicks driven by paid search.

Cyber Monday
On Cyber Monday the industry saw consumers revert back to desktop as the device of choice, with 56% of sales on the Rakuten Marketing Display Network taking place on desktop.

The Rakuten Marketing Affiliate Network saw clicks grow by 55% YoY, orders increased 64%, and sales exceeded 2018 by 95%. Clicks on mobile (56%) were higher than on desktop (42%), though desktop drove a more significant portion of orders (60%) and sales (64%).

Based on data from Rakuten Marketing’s search channel, in 2019, the peak search and click hours for shoppers on Cyber Monday were from 7pm to 10pm. Mobile maintained the highest share of search impressions (63%) and clicks (66%), while CPCs across all devices increased by 60% YoY. Overall, orders driven by search increased 193% from 2018, clicks rose 106%, and conversions originating from paid search grew 143% YoY.

Overall, Cyber Weekend drove an increase in retail sales and orders across Asia-Pacific. Retailers took advantage of consumers intent to purchase over the period, and shoppers revelled in the pre-Christmas shopping promotions. Offices across the region (including Rakuten Marketing) have had endless visits from delivery companies as brands and consumers alike celebrate the success of one of the biggest retail events of the year.

If you’d like to find out how your brand can leverage Cyber Weekend, visit rakutenmarketing.com and speak to an expert today.