A look back at Black Friday and Cyber Monday 2017

By Gerry McHugh, 01 Dec 2017, in guide, Black Friday

There are a handful of days, each year, where software companies can count on record-breaking sales. Black Friday and Cyber Monday top that list with 48 hours that conjure up images of heaving crowds and packed checkouts - both offline, and online.

Here at Paddle, we’re at the front-line of software sales, and uniquely positioned to step-back from the hype of Black Friday, and dig into the cold, hard data. Thanks to the deluge of sales our vendors experienced throughout the weekend (we beat our previous sales record several times between Thanksgiving and Cyber Monday), we’ve uncovered answers to the biggest Black Friday questions:

  • Just how much of an impact does Black Friday really have on software sales?
  • How do Black Friday and Cyber Monday compare?
  • Where (and when) in the world does Black Friday have the biggest impact?

1. How have Black Friday sales changed since last year?

While Google Trends shows a 33% increase in search queries since 2016, our transaction data shows an even more dramatic change.

Over the 24-hours of Black Friday, our vendors handled a record-breaking number of sales. Our vendors made on average 243% more transactions and 365% more revenue during Black Friday 2017 than they did in 2016.

Out of all our vendors, over 50% saw an uplift in sales on Black Friday and Cyber Monday, even including those who didn’t do any promotional campaigns.

Interest in Cyber Monday has also grown over the last decade, albeit at a slower, and more variable rate:

Despite that, our data showed that Cyber Monday was very close to Black Friday, which is only 15% larger in terms of revenue.

2. How does Black Friday compare to a normal week?

Taking the week preceding Black Friday as a benchmark, total revenue processed by our vendors was a full 54% higher than normal.

This difference is, as you’d expect, driven by stellar performance on Friday and Monday. Cyber Monday saw our vendors generate revenue 98% higher than the preceding Monday; and Black Friday saw a 130% increase on the previous Friday.

3. Where does Black Friday have the biggest impact?

Despite Black Friday’s origins as a post-Thanksgiving tradition, the US has successfully exported the trend the world over.

Strong sales from close cultural counterparts the United Kingdom and Canada are no surprise, but in 2017, we saw Germany claim the number two spot:

  1. United States
  2. Germany
  3. United Kingdom
  4. Canada
  5. France
  6. Australia
  7. Netherlands
  8. Republic of Korea
  9. Italy
  10. Spain

4. When do most Black Friday purchases happen?

From early-morning bargain hunting to late evening browsing, we were able to discover peak purchase hours around the globe.

In North America, sales hit a maximum at 12PM EST:

Black Friday in Europe

Europeans waited until later in the day, with transactions maxing out at 3PM ECT:

Black Friday in Europe

Southeast Asia hit a similar peak, but saw a greater volume of sales occur well into the evening:

Key takeaways

Black Friday is bigger than ever

Our data shows that its impact on software businesses is the biggest it’s ever been. Taking steps to prepare - emailing customers, creating coupons and preparing infrastructure - makes a real difference to sales volume and revenue, and paves the way for one of the most lucrative days of the year. Read our guide to Black Friday for lots of practical tips and examples that will grow your revenue.

Sales can happen anywhere, any time

Black Friday and Cyber Monday are truly global events, with sales happening from early morning in Russia and Asia, through to late evening on the West Coast of the US. As a result, Black Friday’s biggest spoils will go to those companies that offered an international experience, from marketing campaigns targeted at the key times of they day to localized checkout and purchase experiences.

Don’t neglect Cyber Monday

The Black Friday weekend is a true tale of two halves, with a huge volume of sales happening throughout the weekend. Though Friday claims the lion’s share, Cyber Monday isn’t far behind - there was a relatively small 15% difference in total revenue processed - and it’s important to treat Black Friday as a week-long event, and not just a single day.

We’ll be diving into the data even deeper over the next few weeks to bring you insights into the impact of discounts, email campaigns and the best way for you to prepare for the next key holiday. Subscribe to our newsletter to get our best content once a month.

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