Black Friday 2016: Top Digital Headlines

Black Friday 2016: Top Digital Headlines

Online sales from this year’s Cyber Week may have fallen short of expectations. However, a whopping £6.45 billion was still spent from Monday 21st to Cyber Monday 28th November, according to IMRG. As seen in this year’s Black Friday, a 12% rise to £1.23 billion on any single shopping day was not a bad outcome at all.

In this post, we took a deeper look into Cyber Week to see how retailers really performed. Were predictions set too high at 16% growth for Black Friday? Or, was there too much “noise” and bombardment of Black Friday deals, including everything from email, social media to display ads?

Below are some of our key findings from the top 50 retailers’ multi-channel performance over Cyber Week.

Key figures from Cyber Week  

  • Over 243 million visits to Shopping & Classifieds were recorded on the day of Black Friday, with a further 181 million visits on Cyber Monday (compared to a 108 million visit average for 2016 up until Cyber Week).
  • With more retailers releasing pre-Black Friday sales, the Monday to Wednesday saw a 5% shift in the proportion of total visits, compared to Cyber Week 2015.
  • On Black Friday, the evening hours of 6pm to 9pm grew even more popular by 5% compared to last year.
  • Department Stores, including Amazon and Argos, took the lion’s share of visits at 41% to Shopping & Classifieds on Black Friday.
  • Industries like Health & Beauty and Sports & Fitness saw the largest growth in visit share (+14% and +12%, respectively compared to last year’s Black Friday), pointing to a greater diversity of players participating in Black Friday sales.

Which channels performed better this year?

Search Engines once again dominated as the largest referring channel, accounting for 41% of all clicks over Cyber Week. The proportion of clicks from Search Engines also grew this year as compared to 2015. On the day of Black Friday, clicks from Search Engines rose by 2%, particularly in the afternoon hours of 1pm to 5pm.


As we noted in our previous article, retailers needed to go beyond search alone to drive sufficient and relevant traffic to their website over Cyber Week. In particular, Social Media proved to be more successful this year. As a channel, clicks from Social grew by 6% this year to reach 8% of all referring traffic over Cyber Week. In particular, the largest increase came from the late hours of 12am to 4am on Black Friday.


What can we learn for next year?

Cyber Week felt a little bit crowded in 2016 with the onslaught of digital advertising and communication. Retailers who played it smart – i.e. understood their competitive set, tracked consumer behaviour across key channels, and found their sweet spot hours to target advertising – fared better this year.

In our upcoming Post-Christmas Webinar, we’ll delve deeper into the key retail players and their multi-channel performance. Click on the following link to register.

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