2023’s Black Friday and Cyber Monday (BFCM) weekend made retail history in November.
According to Adobe Analytics, there was a record-breaking $9.8 billion in Black Friday online sales, up 7.5% from last year (not accounting for inflation), and $12.4 billion spent on Cyber Monday, a 9.6% increase YoY.
One contributing factor to this monumental success is the apparent trend of sales days kicking off earlier each passing year. Take this graph for example from Salesforce via Forbes that shows retail discounts showing up earlier in 2023 versus 2022. You can see that this year’s sales start to spike on November 9th, but last year, we didn’t see a significant spike until November 21st.
On Social Media we see a similar trend. It’s not just the sales figures breaking records—the online chatter and engagements fueled the anticipation leading up to the holiday deal days. While views and engagements for videos about the Deal Days don’t peak until the actual BFCM weekend, we see content starting to ramp up steadily throughout the month. It’s a carefully choreographed dance between brands and audiences. As content gains momentum leading up to the deal days, marketers focus on building awareness around upcoming sales, and showcasing their hottest products.
Let’s look at Consumer Behavior
Younger generations are rewriting the BFCM shopping playbook. As the social landscape evolves, audiences are using platforms to find answers rather than traditional search engines. To determine what best deals to buy, they’re looking for answers on social platforms. (Remember when we chatted about how social media is the new search engine? If not, refresh your memory [here])
Who needs a shopping list when you have influencers guiding you through the holiday shopping frenzy? Younger generations get shopping inspiration from their favorite creators who share what products they are using and what deals to look out for.
Now, let’s get to the data. @Shein is once again the crowned champion on TikTok Deal Day mentions, dominating the scene with a staggering 47.8M views and 3.6M engagements in November 2023. The fast fashion company has been having quite a year when their sales surged by 40% from January-September compared to the previous year. That number will surely increase after their monumental success during Black Friday & Cyber Monday.
When a company like Shein gets a ton of mentions (across 3k+ videos) it usually means they are running highly successful influencer campaigns. While Shein certainly does partner with creators, they also have an affiliate program where anyone can drive sales and earn up to 10% commissions from their link.
Shopify also turned in record Black Friday numbers reporting $4.1 billion sales the day after Thanksgiving. They shared that the top consumer categories were clothing, personal care, and jewelry.
But we can’t talk about Black Friday and Cyber Monday without talking about the one and only–Amazon.
Amazon Top Selling Product: Snail Slime?
Amazon kicked off their Black Friday & Cyber Monday deals earlier this year as well, beginning November 17th-27th. Over the span of their 11-day promotion, Amazon reported nearly $1 billion in sales.
What exactly were people buying? Let’s take a look at the top-selling items of the season:
While technologies like the company-owned Fire TV Stick and tech favorites like the Ring Video Doorbell are less surprising top products – consumers may be surprised to see Snail Mucin (yes, snail slime) also charting at the top.
While this item might seem out of left field for some, TikTok users won’t be the least bit surprised. Social media has seen the COSRX Snail Mucin absolutely explode over the past two years creating a cult-following of skin care lovers and K-beauty enthusiasts.
The K beauty brand was picking up steam in 2022-23 on social media as a must have beauty product for glass skin.
In 2014, COSRX, a Korean skincare powerhouse, launched the Advanced Snail 96 Mucin Power Essence. However, it wasn’t until influencers introduced the product to the world, crafting tutorials, sharing glowing reviews, and flaunting skin transformations, that the product catapulted into stardom in 2022.
Tubular Data uncovered that as of Dec 1st, COSRX products have amassed 2.6B views on TikTok and over 23.3M engagements on Instagram year to date.
While the K-beauty brand has seen massive growth over the past two years, their Black Friday & Cyber Monday social buzz wasn’t necessarily noteworthy. In fact, there were only 227 videos posted in November that mention COSRX’s Snail Mucin and deal days which amounted to 4.7M views. The holiday social buzz doesn’t tell us how they landed on the top product sales for Amazon.
The fact that COSRX has cemented itself via social media early on before it went on sale played a massive role in its deal days sales. Get them hooked early and it’s bound to sell when sales days hit and product lovers are looking to stock up.
Looking at Tubular Consumer Insights we can see the correlation between K-Beauty videos translating to product sales. In fact, viewers of the video category are 35.6x more likely to purchase the COSRX products on Amazon.
How did COSRX rise to fame on social? Reportedly, when the brand started out with a very limited ad budget, so influencer relationships were key to their marketing strategy. Gifting the product helped the company gain word of mouth recommendations that eventually spread like wildfire.
What can we learn from COSRX’s strategy?
Leaning heavily on influencer partnerships pays off in the long run. If you give back to influencers and creators that are helping your brand, they will be more likely to recommend your products.
There’s a New Player in Town: TikTok Shop
TikTok Shop has officially joined the market—and just in time for the holiday season! Many brands, are flocking to the platform to capitalize on the live-shopping features and easy check-out process. Even Zara recently announced they will join the new ecommerce store.
While the platform may still be new and brands are trying out TikTok Shop strategies for the first time, there is plenty of potential. In Modern Retail’s recent interview with Alessandro Bogliari, CEO and co-founder of The Influencer Marketing Factory spoke about brand’s significant opportunity to reach new audiences and go viral on the platform:
“No one that I personally know goes on Amazon every day. Everyone goes on TikTok multiple times a day,” Bogliari said. “The chance to buy something on social commerce, TikTok Shop primarily, is just way higher.”–Alessandro Bogliari, CEO of The Influencer Marketing Factory
Another brand speaking to TikTok Shop’s potential is Trio Beauty, who spoke with Glossy ahead of the deal weekend:
“TikTok Shop has so much potential, as there are many ways to lead a customer to the store. It has a very relaxed, anything-goes type of feel, so people can connect to the brand and products without feeling like they’re being sold to.”–Briana Olson, Founder of Trio Beauty
While we still await TikTok’s sales numbers from BFCM, let’s look to social:
Videos on TikTok mentioning TikTok Shop and Black Friday or Cyber Monday in November:
- 14.1k videos posted
- 296 million views (241 million of these views were won by influencers; 38.1 million of these views were won by brands)
- Best Days to post? On the actual sales day. Friday and Monday were the top-viewed days of the week
- The Top Viewed Video from influencers: A creator featuring a leg and foot massager:
- On TikTok, Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals were driven by influencer-led holiday shopping
- TikTok drives impulse purchases (buy while you scroll) which was supported by the data showing videos uploaded on the day of the sales were the most watched
We are excited to see how TikTok Shop continues to grow and how brands can get involved in the relatively seamless experience that it provides to connect with consumers where they are already spending their time.
Before we sign off and do some shopping online ourselves, there’s a few other interesting stories we’d like to touch on…
A surprising feel-good story from Barstool Sports and its founder Dave Portnoy: Portnoy gave all the company’s Black Friday profits (and matched every dollar) to his staff of social media editors, writers, and producers. This amounted to over $1M total (estimated about $10k each). Portnoy understands that to keep up with the pace of media, Barstool employees are working around the clock. It’s great to see this team rewarded.
Amazon Prime tries out Black Friday Football: We’re all used to Thanksgiving NFL games but Black Friday? Amazon Prime debuted its first Black Friday Football game, featuring the Miami Dolphins vs. New York Jets, and brought in an average of 9.61 Million Viewers. Filled with QR codes throughout and a frenzy of Amazon product ads, the ecommerce giant wouldn’t let viewers forget that it wasn’t just about football – but that it’s also all about the day’s deals they can find on Amazon.
Small Business Saturday and Giving Tuesday: Sometimes overshadowed by the massive shopping days of Black Friday and Cyber Monday, there are two other important days highlighting small businesses and giving back. #SmallBusinessSaturday saw over 1.8M Engagements on Instagram in the month of November and #GivingTuesday brought in over 7.1M Instagram Engagements. Surprising sponsors of some of the top Small Business and Giving Tuesday videos? Major credit card companies like American Express and Mastercard.
Another successful BFCM sales year is in the books – we are eager to see what “Super Saturday” will bring as we get closer to December’s holidays and shopping continues to soar.
What will we see next from the TikTok Shop? How will other major retailers continue to grow? We are excited to see what 2024 has in store!
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