Black Friday 2021 Takeaways

2021-12-09 10:11
BLACK Friday cover
With this year’s Black Friday promotions coming to an end, many of our sellers reported that they experienced an excess of orders and running out of stock much earlier than predicted. While this was not the case for everyone, one of the main reasons for this recent phenomenon is that sales promotion periods have lengthened.

Longer Sales Periods
From “One Week” to “One Month”

Consumers have shown signs of preparing for the sales season since early October, selecting which goods to purchase at their lowest price points by the masses. In response to this phenomenon, we believe that there are three core changes that will affect the coming sales seasons in the near future.

For starters, we predict that this will be a long-term change, where the lengthening of the shopping season’s preparation period will be normalized and widely accepted in time. This means that for brands, if the sales of a product or ASIN are average, it is unlikely that they’ll catch up with the sales surge that will occur during Black Friday for example, where planning for strategy and operation goals in phases beforehand will become decisive factors for businesses. From an advertising point of view, it means increasing traffic flow through display advertising during early promotion stages, drive conversions in the mid-term and enhancing repurchase and brand loyalty in the later stages, where building a diversified advertising portfolio and a full-link marketing matrix will allow for more targeted operation optimization and adjustment.

Second, ensure budgets are allocated appropriately to keep advertising campaigns on and going. In the early periods of the peak season, many sellers allocate lower budgets during the brand and product exposure stages where budgets and bids are not increased until BFCM periods. However, as the "peak season week" is gradually replaced by a "peak season month", low advertising budgets during early periods often lead to insufficient brand exposure, which in turn result in unsatisfactory campaign performance throughout the later stages of the marketing funnel. On the other hand, there are also sellers who drastically reduce advertising budgets almost immediately after Black Friday, which may also lead to missed repurchase and brand loyalty development opportunities.

Finally, the shift in consumer behavior will lead to more strategic shopping in the future, where they will be more time flexible to ensure that they maximize the most favorable sales prices. This also means that consumers will spend more time in the consideration stage where advertisers will need to pay special attention to advertising reach. In terms of brand expansion, product upgrades and customized ad content will need to cater to the increasingly complex and diverse consumers shopping needs.  

Through these three points, we’re able to close the loop on marketing. Data shows that unlike the broader market, most of SparkX Marketing’s sales and advertising impact on the first day of Black Friday sales promotions this year increased significantly. Total sales of all our customers increased by 94% compared to the previous year and the average ROAS increased by 27% compared to 2020.


Top Selling Websites
U.S Websites Continue to Increase in Popularity, Leading to Exponential Growth

Regarding the situation of various websites across the world, SparkX Marketing’s proprietary data shows that the total sales of each website in 2021 is on the rise when compared to 2020. Among them, the U.S is still the main contender for consumer shopping. Following close behind, other fast growing seller websites are from Australia, United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia, all of which have doubled in growth rate.

For sellers, the greatest pain point of globalization lies in adjusting to local measures and conditions. To stand out, sellers need to formulate marketing strategies through considerable amounts of consumer insights, market research and product data analysis in the early stages and continue to build upon this throughout all stages of the marketing and consumer funnel as well as brand development process. Refined operations and strategies can considerably help with the execution of brand and product localization.

U.S websites already have a mature consumer market with a large enough traffic pool, however, competition is relatively fierce; European consumers have higher consumption power, where sellers can offer quality, design, customization and high value-added products; The strong cultural nuances of Japan and the Middle East play a big role in consumer preferences and the marketing strategies sellers implement. Japanese website owners invest highly in branding and brand loyalty, while the Middle East is still at a market education stage.

Top-Selling Categories
Home & Gardening, Apparel & 3C Electronics

According to Amazon's latest announcements, categories such as home furnishing, toys and apparel were among the best selling in the world. When it came to our own customer data, electronics, home furnishing and apparel categories saw the highest sales, aligning with trends occurring in the broader market. When referring to year-on-year sales growth, the top 5 categories within all of the sellers we work with were: pet products, home appliances, baby products, video games and children’s toys. Apart from home appliances category, the rest fall into smaller sub-categories.

These insights reveal that overseas consumer categories are becoming increasingly vertical and subdivided with their product and category preferences. Although larger categories are more accessible, niche categories provide more opportunities for brand building and development. For niche category sellers, the effective implementation of diverse marketing strategies to enter a market are keys to success.

In the past, niche category sellers often focused their advertising activity on CPC website ads, eventually leading to a bottle neck in growth as lower funnel traffic pools were limited and insufficient. Among the brands that SparkX Marketing cooperated with, most of them focused their efforts on DSP, OTT and Twitch ads. Driving traffic from outside the website continuously succeeds in attracting new traffic, improving new to brand indicators. Sustainable growth and long-term brand health can be achieved by continuously expanding on core audiences.

The insights covered in this short article were uncovered through industry reports regarding Black Friday sales as well as our own proprietary data. In addition, SparkX Marketing’s Operations Team also shared some of their personal experiences and how they saw that many sellers underwent inventory challenges during Black Friday. According to Adobe Analytics, the frequency of out-of-stock items increased by 258% compared to previous years. This shows that proper inventory arrangements and supply chain optimization during this key time of the year are instrumental to achieve victory.

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