Black Friday 2021: Brand Communications are More Effective, Black Friday Still Dominates

One thing is certain: the 2021 holiday season is shaping up to be different from any other. Ecommerce jumped a staggering 32.5% in 2020, largely due to the effects of the pandemic. Experts predict it’s on track to grow an additional 11.3% in 2021, even as companies face challenges like labor shortages and shipping delays. Nearly half of consumers still prefer to shop in-person when given the choice, challenging businesses to combine online and offline experiences this 2021 holiday season to ensure a seamless and ‘wow’ customer experience.

So how did things kick off this holiday season? We gathered data from our ActiveCampaign platform to show how our customers approached this year’s Black Friday week. The data is based on our 150,000 global customer base and how they used our platform as well as our integrations with best-in-class ecommerce tools like Shopify, BigCommerce, WooCommerce and Square. Analyzing this data shows us the power integrations have with creating sustainable programs that produce real revenue.

Let’s take a closer look at the key takeaways we saw during the 2021 Black Friday week.

Takeaway #1: Communications for ecommerce were more effective year-over-year

Ecommerce is here to stay. This offers both ecommerce and retail businesses a great opportunity to learn and build upon their digital strategy, even if they’re just getting started. Start by taking 20 minutes a week to get comfortable with ActiveCampaign’s tools, functionality, integrations, and automations. Brands that implement these practices into their business will experience optimal growth.

We know these communications work because ActiveCampaign customers were able to drive more conversions in 2021 than in 2020. Our customers saw a 15% year-over-year increase in total orders and a 91% increase in total orders from 2019 to 2021. An increase in total orders tells us that online shopping is happening more frequently, effectively communicating the value of ecommerce.

Image showing how ActiveCampaign customers experienced a 91% increase in total orders the week of Black Friday when comparing 2019 to 2021.

According to our abandoned cart tool, customers left $76.4 million in revenue in their carts in 2021. ActiveCampaign customers were able to recover $10.4 million from those abandoned carts. That’s 14% of potentially lost revenue that was saved! This is double the abandoned cart revenue that was recovered in 2021 versus 2020 and up from just $1.2 million recovered revenue in 2019. 

How did they do this? By setting up abandoned cart emails. With an abandoned cart automation, an email is triggered when a customer leaves something in their cart on your eCommerce store. That customer receives an email from you (automatically!) reminding them about their cart. When they complete the purchase, the recovered revenue is the money gained back from utilizing the abandoned cart automation.

ActiveCampaign customers left less on the table in 2021 than in previous years, proving the efficacy of their communications using the ActiveCampaign platform. As ecommerce brands continue to expand in 2022, so will communication opportunities for your business.

“It’s important for ecommerce to create 1:1 experiences with customers, especially now, during the busy holiday season, because they’re faced with infinite choices to meet their shopping needs,” said Jason VandeBoom, founder and CEO of ActiveCampaign. “We’re dedicated to helping our customers communicate more effectively with their own customers, which is why we’ve created automations like cart abandonment, integrations with world class tools and curated educational content with their unique needs in mind.”

Takeaway #2: Shoppers are spending more in 2021

Although we are still being affected by these unprecedented times, the pandemic has changed our economy and opened up more opportunities for people to shop digitally. We found that consumers are spending more money with ActiveCampaign customers this year than they have in the previous two years, indicating additional opportunity for ecommerce brands to grow their revenue through 1:1 experiences.

The average revenue per order for customers was $120 this year, up from $116 in 2020 and $103 in 2019. This is a staggering 17% increase from 2019 to 2021, and 4% from 2020. The data shows us that shoppers are willing to spend more money this year than ever before, despite our current economy.

Image showing how ActiveCampaign customers saw a 17% increase in revenue per order the week of Black Friday when comparing 2019 to 2021.

ActiveCampaign customers are seeing more value when using our eCommerce integrations, including Shopify, Woocommerce, Bigcommerce, and Square. The power of these integrations allow businesses to acquire more customers, re-engage shoppers, and sell more. People make more purchases online with key integrations, proving that ecommerce isn’t a trend, it’s here to stay. In fact, our customer L.G.R saw a 143% increase in ecommerce revenue from using ActiveCampaign and our integrations.

“As the holiday season approaches, we’re prepared and ready as we can be to best serve our customers, and ActiveCampaign is a significant part of that,” said David Pritchard, manager at BlossomCo. “With its integration with our store platform, marketing and resources for better customer engagement, we feel in control of as much as we can be to ensure this holiday season will be successful for our business.”

Takeaway #3: Black Friday is still hot!

The days leading up to Black Friday are expected to be filled with tons of communication, sales, and shopping, but our customer data proves that Friday is still the biggest day to shop.

For our ActiveCampaign customers, we saw a larger volume of email sends, orders and revenue efficacy of abandoned cart messages on Black Friday this year than ever before.

Image showing that ActiveCampaign customers sent over 2.4 billion emails during the week of Black Friday.

Brands did increase their daily email sends leading up to Friday, with over 2.4 billion emails sent that week. But Friday saw the biggest volume of emails sent at 486 million. Friday alone represented the majority of emails for the entire week leading up to Black Friday, emphasizing the prominence behind the day itself. The number of emails sent by brands was consistent YoY.   

Customers also placed the most orders on Friday. More than 290,000 orders on a single day proves that Black Friday hasn’t lost its fame for shoppers. Friday was also the day that saw the greatest abandoned cart efficacy by revenue. ActiveCampaign customers were able to recover 16% of abandoned cart revenue on Friday. This is up from just 7% in 2020 and 4% in 2019. ActiveCampaign customers are, overall, more likely to recover their online shopping on Black Friday, giving businesses a great opportunity to utilize automations and integrations.

Takeaway #4: Continue momentum through the weekend for Small Business Saturday

While Black Friday is still the biggest day of the week for ecommerce, there is huge opportunity for eCommerce brands to continue momentum through the weekend. As customers are still shopping, businesses should showcase all that’s offered on Small Business Saturday.

Friday to Saturday saw a big decrease (-85%) in email sends day-over-day, with brands sent just 262,000 emails on Saturday. This indicates that brands are not sending as much communication to customers on Saturday, which could limit their holiday success this year.

Brands have the opportunity to make up additional revenue on Saturday by increasing the number of communications and improving efficacy for all Saturday shoppers.

Don’t stop with Black Friday. Keep your momentum going this holiday season and beyond with the #1 Customer Experience Automation platform. Sign up for a free trial today (no credit card required)! 

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