Tag : market research

Do Black Friday and Cyber Monday Matter Anymore?

black friday cyber monday holiday salesSpring may have just arrived, but it’s not too early for affiliates to be thinking about this year’s holiday season.

And with researchers predicting this holiday period to stretch for an even longer duration, it’s imperative affiliates understand shifting consumer shopping habits as well as how online retailers plan to tackle the holidays.

The Christmas Creep

Thanks to ecommerce, consumers can shop 24x7x365 on nearly any device. And better fulfillment options allow for delivery up to the last minute during the holidays. That’s good and bad news for affiliates. Those factors enable affiliates to promote holiday offers for a longer period and earn more money. But, it can also cause some consumers to become numb or even turned off at the barrage of holiday offers that start too early or last too long.

For Christmas studies show that many consumers begin shopping as early as Labor Day. In 2016 some 34 million people had already started their holiday shopping in early September, according to CreditCards.com and close to one million were already done by that time.

Consumers are becoming a little more accustom and slightly less annoyed by early holiday promotions, according to a survey by RichRelevance. Still, more than half of those surveyed (55 percent) said they were annoyed or very annoyed by holiday goods appearing in stores (and online) before Halloween. However, that’s down from 71 percent in 2014.

A week of Black Friday?

Complicating matters are evolving patterns related to individual shopping days, such as Black Friday and Cyber Monday. In the past these single-shopping days often dominated the holiday season. But a shift has been taking place and these single-day events have also grown to encompasses multiple days. In some cases brands are divorcing these terms from the actual holiday period and also using them for other seasonal promotions (think Black Friday sales in July).

Research shows that recently Black Friday has gone on much longer than just the day after Thanksgiving. In fact, there are cases where it lasts for weeks. A recent Econsultancy study cites Amazon as an example of an online retailer stretching out a Black Friday event for up to 14 days.

In the Econsultancy survey, retailers were asked about the duration of their Black Friday events. Fully 35% characterized it as the four-day weekend (from Black Friday to Cyber Monday), while 45% said it extended beyond four days.

What Days Matter

According to Adobe, Cyber Monday was the largest online shopping day of 2017, accounting for $6.59 billion in sales. Black Friday ranked second with $5.03 billion. And Thanksgiving Day has also become a shopping holiday in its own right, responsible for $2.87 billion in retail ecommerce sales last year.

This research seems to underscore multiple points:

  • Black Friday promotions are continuing to bleed into the surrounding days.
  • Black Friday and Cyber Monday continue to be as important as ever.
  • New individual shopping days are emerging.
  • Consumers remain responsive to big holiday shopping days.
  • These individual holiday promotions may be less about getting deals and instead about consumers’ desire to participate in the actual events.

But just as many consumers are starting their holiday shopping earlier, many are also waiting until the last minute. According to MasterCard, the second largest weekly growth rate in US retail ecommerce sales during the 2017 holiday season occurred the week of December 17, when sales increased 23.7%. And December 23, a Saturday, was the second highest shopping day of the year. Now digital shoppers are postponing purchases until the eve of Christmas Eve.

So, it’s to the affiliate’s advantage to spread out the holiday sales since there is less likelihood of retailers’ websites crashing and delayed deliveries. But the surge of shoppers starting sooner, can also result in returns, which impacts affiliate commissions.

The bottom line is that affiliates must delicately balance the idea of seizing the multitude of holiday promotional opportunities, but not alienating or frustrating consumers.

Will Affiliates Turn a New Leaf for Cannabis?

affiliates cannabis legalizationThere’s a popular saying “as California goes, so goes the nation.” The implication being that tech innovation, social and political movements, pop culture trends and more often start in California and then become widely adopted across the country.

This week it became legal to sell pot in California for recreational use. So, as affiliates enter the new year looking for new niches and new opportunities to make money, will the legalization of marijuana in California convince mainstream affiliates to embrace weed as viable online marketing opportunity?

There are 28 other states where cannabis is legal in some capacity. But legalization in California – especially since the Golden State is the largest and most populated state in the US (with 39.5 million residents)  – might just represent the tipping point for more online marketers to promote cannabis. which is predicted to do over $7.1 billion in sales in 2017.

According to a Yahoo News/Marist Survey from April 2017, nearly 55 million Americans (22 percent) have used marijuna.at least once or twice in the past year. Close to 35 million are what the survey calls “regular users,” or people who use marijuana at least once or twice a month.

California’s pot legalization is already having an impact. Nearly $2 billion has been invested in the stock market since California’s January 1 statewide marijuana legalization, and shares of companies producing, distributing or selling marijuana soared on Tuesday, Fortune reported.

Cannabis and Affiliates

The cannabis vertical is already growing within the affiliate space. Last year Weed Reader published the top 10 marijuana affiliate programs. These programs (and hundreds more) focus on everything from growing seeds and cannabis growth training to selling edibles and actual marijuana (to medical patients where legal).

Obviously, some affiliates will question the moral and ethical issues of legalization. Those online marketers will likely avoid the space – just as they do other areas considered controversial like adult content websites, online gambling, and some nutriceuticals.

However, some affiliates may opt to promote products that tout that the medical and health benefits of cannabis. Some may choose to pursue the more recreational use aspect as they do with liquor and wine products.

Additionally, there could even be travel affiliates that more aggressively promote California and other states where cannabis is legal as a premiere destination. Think Amsterdam’s tourist messaging in the 1980’s and 1990’s that made it a must-visit location for travelers that wanted to indulge legally.

Additionally, millennials may be a huge factor in deciding whether or not to promote cannabis products. Millennials make up one quarter of the US population with a total of 77 million. (Nielsen). Their generation is larger than the Baby Boomers and 3 times the size of Gen. X. (Aimia). This demographic doesn’t have a social stigma associated with marijuana (52 percent of the estimated 55 million users are millennials). Also, millennials wield about $1.3 trillion in annual buying power. (Boston Consulting Group). They will have the most spending power of any generation by 2018. (Bazaar). And specifically, their spending power is projected to reach $3.39 trillion by 2018. (Oracle).

The Challenges

Although state governments are rolling out more progressive cannabis legislation, marketing marijuana is currently fraught with roadblocks. Mostly because while marijuana is legal in more than half of  the US, it’s still illegal on a federal level. This makes advertising and marketing extremely complex. Online marketers fear being liable for aiding and abetting the sale of drugs – a felony crime.

There are, however, some federal law exceptions. They can be granted for “any person authorized by local, State, or Federal law to manufacture, possess, or distribute such items”.  Still, social media sites like Facebook and Instagram have strict advertising policies. These policies deny paid posts that “constitute, facilitate, or promote illegal products, services or activities” – including marijuana.

Because of advertising restrictions and  inconsistencies in enforcement regarding “educational content,” cannabis-centric social networks have emerged. Cannabis-centric social networks include MassRoots (valued at $44 million with 725,000 users). There is also  the social app Duby, which functions like an Instagram for the cannabis savvy. And a glut of digital marketing agencies and consulting practices dedicated to serving the cannabis industry have sprung up.

For now, most cannabis affiliates choose to focus on content and educating the public. That means using traditional digital marketing tactics. Affiliates are blogging, optimizing SEO, linking to influencers in the space, sending out newsletters and email, and establishing partnerships with researchers and doctors for more legitimization.

But that also means those marketers are likely preaching to converted. Reaching new users and increasing brand awareness online is difficult because advertising is restricted.

Cannabis might not be a market for all affiliates. But there’s no doubt it is growing vertical that will evolve over time as pot becomes legalized and more socially acceptable. Affiliates are likely to play a big role in pushing forward this space.

Holiday Shopping Online was Huge

online holiday shopping

If you’re a data junkie, you can rejoice at the glut of numbers that have come out over the last week. Market researchers have been tracking all things related to consumers online holiday shopping. Here’s everything you need to know about the results from online shopping for Thanksgiving, Black Friday, and Cyber Monday. Spoiler Alert: Mobile was a big deal!

Thanksgiving and Black Friday

  • Affiliate network sales from Black Friday were up 38% compared to the same day last year. (CJ Affiliate Network)
  • Across the board, consumers demonstrated a higher propensity to spend. The average order value for Thanksgiving came in at $180 — up $24 more than the average day for the month. (Criteo)
  • On Black Friday the number of online shoppers rose 3.5% compared with last year, and the number of purchases rose 12.5%.(Criteo)
  • About 115 million people visited online retail sites on Thanksgiving. (comScore)
  • Nearly 129 million people visited online retail sites on Black Friday, up 14% compared with last year. (comScore)
  • The average order value on Thanksgiving and Black Friday roseto $122, up from $120 in 2016. (Salesforce)
  • Email and ad engagement rates leaped in the week before Black Friday There was a 23% hike in sales on Thursday and Friday, compared with the prior year. (Rakuten Marketing)
  • Sales grew by 21% during the three-day period from Wednesday to Black Friday. (Rakuten Marketing)
  • There was an11% growth in purchases from Wednesday to Black Friday. (Rakuten Marketing)
  • Click-through rates rose by 154% and ad engagement rates by 111 % during the three-day period. (Rakuten Marketing)
  • Black Friday’s average order value jumped by 9%. The peak purchase time occurred at 2 p.m. on Black Friday. (Rakuten Marketing)
  • Thanksgiving Day purchases grew by 35%, and revenue grew by 28%. (Rakuten Marketing)

Mobile Led Thanksgiving Day and Black Friday

  • 56% of total online Black Friday traffic came from mobile devices, up from 43.4% last year. (Qubit)
  • 40% of transactions were completed on mobile devices on Thanksgiving Day. (Criteo)
  • Mobile revenue grew by 45%, purchases by 34% and average order value by 7% during Sunday to Friday of Thanksgiving week. (Rakuten Marketing).
  • Forty-six percent of all page views occurred on a mobile device during the week. (Rakuten)
  • 66% of orders made with a phone or tablet — up from 58% in 2016 (Shopify)
  • Mobile set a new record during the Thanksgiving holiday weekend, representing 53.3% of visits — about 44.6% attributable to smartphones and 8.7% to tablets. (Adobe)
  • Mobile drove 39.7% of revenue — 29.8% from smartphones and 9.9% from tablets. Smartphone traffic specifically grew 21% year-on-year (YoY), while revenue coming from smartphones saw 41% growth YoY — a new record. (Adobe)
  • Purchases from mobile devices on Thanksgiving Day, and spending peaked online at 9pm EST, with 46% of all purchases occurring on mobile phones. (Criteo)

Cyber Monday

  • Shoppers spent $6.59 billion online on Cyber Monday compared with $5.65 billion last year, a 16.8% increase, making Cyber Monday the biggest U.S. online sales day. (Adobe)
  • Shoppers spent an average of $114.10 on Cyber Monday, up 7.4% from $106.24 last year. (BigCommerce)
  • Cyber Monday had 2.3 times (127.1%) more online shoppers than the average day in 2017, with 7.5 times (655.3%) more orders placed. (Qubit)

Mobile (Cyber) Monday

  • Revenue generated by smartphones accounted for 21.2%, or $1.40 billion, of online sales on Cyber Monday—also a record. (Adobe)
  • Mobile sales, which includes smartphones and tablets, generated $2.0 billion in sales, or 30.3% of overall revenue, and 47.4% of total traffic. (Adobe)

Online Travel by Numbers

online travelChateau 20 is thankful to work with so many amazing clients and affiliates in the travel and hotel space.

So, after you ponder whether or not to have that second slice of pumpkin pie and unbutton the top button of your pants, here are some articles about the online travel space that you can easily digest.

6 Articles You Need to Read

  1. Why Amazon, Google and Facebook are the Travel Space’s Biggest Threats
  2. Sojern Buys Ad-Tech Firm Adphorus to Better Compete on Facebook
  3. Airbnb Acquires Ad-Tech Startup AdBasis
  4. Distribution of Adults in the United States by Their Preference of Hotel Booking Online or Offline in 2017
  5. Internet Travel & Hotel Booking Statistics
  6. 65 Travel Statistics to Know about in 2017 & 2018