Planning for Black Friday 2017

Planning for Black Friday 2017

Black Friday is fast-approaching at the end of this month.

Eclipsing the traditional Christmas week, Cyber Week has cemented its position as the retail event of the year.  According to IMRG, over £1.2 billion was spent in the UK on Black Friday 2016, an increase of 12% year-on-year. Almost £6.5 billion was also collected over Cyber Week (Monday 21st to Cyber Monday 28th).

Despite a shaky year for retailers, Cyber Week is gearing up to be the biggest event yet. Using Hitwise data, we’ve put together five charts that retailers need to know heading into Cyber Week this year:


1. Searches for “Black Friday” are 40% higher in October year-on-year.

People searching for “Black Friday” and variations of the term have also grown by 60% in October YoY. This indicates that more people are likely to participate in Cyber Week sales this year, compared to last.

Searches for Black Friday



2. Research occurs well in advance of Black Friday, peaking almost 3 weeks before for key high-tech products.

The previous chart also shows that Black Friday research is occurring earlier in the year. In the lead up to Cyber Week 2016, high-tech products had a research-to-purchase cycle of up to 3 weeks. For example, people searching for laptops had mostly visited media and tech sites in the week ending 05-Nov. Visits to actual e-commerce sites only peaked in the week of Black Friday.

Black Friday - Laptop Audience

So what? Align your targeting strategy to your customer’s research to purchase cycle. For example, articles on the best laptop models should appear 3 weeks before Black Friday and deals on rewards sites closer to Black Friday itself.



3. Black Friday has traditionally drawn younger audiences, although there is a shift toward 55+ yo this year.

55+ yo searching for Black Friday deals had grown by 135% in October YoY. Although under-indexed compared to the online population, their needs differ to younger audiences. For example, this audience is more likely to search for certain brands (like “Michael Kors” + “Black Friday”) and products (like “baby clothes” + “Black Friday”), providing a ripe opportunity for less traditional retailers in Cyber Week sales.

Black Friday - Age breakdown of searches

Click hereTo find out more about Black Friday searches by audience type.



4. Top players dominated Cyber Week, but more category specialists are participating in promotions.

Department Stores accounted for 40% of all retail traffic over Cyber Week 2016. But Cyber Week wasn’t only for top players. 2016 saw rapid growth among category specialists, particularly House & Garden (+14% in visits YoY) and Health & Beauty players (+18%).

Black Friday - Online visits by selected industry



5. Traffic sources to retail sites were used at different hours over Cyber Week. Top retailers, like Amazon, capitalised on this.

Search was the top traffic source for retailers over Cyber Week, peaking in the evening hours from 6pm to 10pm. But other channels offered unique opportunities to drive traffic at different hours of the day. Retailers, like Amazon capitalised on this, as shown below. Amazon was able to capture the morning email checkers, with traffic from Email peaking at 9am to 12pm in the days leading up to Black Friday.

Amazon Black Friday - Hourly traffic from email

Top tip: Every hour counts over Cyber Week. Time your campaigns, such as when Emails will be sent or when Display Ads will approximately appear, to get the most traction from your target audience.



More people are researching Black Friday sales and are doing so earlier in the year. The profile of the Black Friday searcher is also shifting, arising new opportunities for retailers.

Check out our Christmas Planning webinar for more details or contact us on how to leverage online audience data over Cyber Week.

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