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Rakuten Marketing Blog

Cyber Week 2019 – What Did We Learn in the UK?

By Anna Taylor | December 13, 2019 | Insights

Over the last couple of years, Cyber Week has seen exponential growth here in the UK. What began in the US in the 1940s as a day to kick-start the post-Thanksgiving sales period, has now become a global shopping extravaganza.

Initially, some UK retailers were hesitant to offer discounts and risk-reducing margins ahead of the crucial-Christmas period. However, as the event has gained traction, a majority of retailers are taking part and in many cases, straddling their offers over an entire ‘Cyber Week’ to avoid missing out to competitors. This has had a huge impact on consumers’ shopping habits and we’ve seen spending shifting from the traditional December peak to much earlier in November.

This year, we expected even bigger growth as Black Friday fell on the 29th of the month and coincided with payday for many consumers. For the four-day Black Friday weekend – including Cyber Monday, it was predicted that customers would spend more than £8.57bn.

Our UK network witnessed huge growth in net sales driven by publishers in the days before Black Friday. UK blogs, influencers, cashback and voucher sites drove a 78% and 69% year-on-year increase in net sales for the Wednesday and Thursday of what is now ‘Cyber Week’.

By comparison, year-on-year net sales were up 35% for Cyber Monday and 59% for Black Friday itself. Rapid growth on prior sales days corresponded with a rise in average order value across the entire week of Black Friday through to Cyber Monday. In particular, order value growth is notable towards the very start including Tuesday (36%) and Wednesday (32%).

More good news for our clients is also evident in the ratio of completed orders to clicks which continues to move in the right direction, seeing 7% growth on Black Friday and a 19% jump on the preceding Wednesday.

Commenting on our network data, Nick Fletcher, Country Manager UK, said, “One likely catalyst for this year’s Black Friday performance is the coinciding of a sales event and payday. However, we can see spend is spread across the period and marketers have been responding to the earlier and ongoing demand.”

According to our recent research among 200 marketers in the UK, nine in ten marketers are orientating campaigns around major sales moments in the year, with 31% of marketers focusing their marketing campaigns around the Black Friday and Cyber Monday period. The event is surpassed by Christmas (53%) New Year sales (43%) and Summer sales (42%).

Survey respondents estimated that a third of their company’s sales are generated by overseas shoppers. This has grown by 35% over the last two years with the highest growth reported by luxury fashion marketers at 42%. Importantly, one in ten UK marketers are now working in regions such as Singapore, Brazil, China, Japan and the Middle East.

Nick Fletcher explains, “In some cases, price competition and discounts are essential to driving cross-border commerce; this is why we’re seeing luxury retailers issuing discounts. For the fashion vertical, international expansion has to be a top 2019 priority and while discounts are necessary, they should not be seen as a substitute for great customer experiences. To ensure brands can replicate their success in new markets, personal experiences are a must.”

If you’d like to find out how your brand can leverage Cyber Weekend, visit rakutenmarketing.com and speak to one of our team today.