As a marketer, you’re probably familiar with the term “Black Friday.” It’s the day after Thanksgiving when retailers offer deep discounts on products and people go crazy trying to snag the best deals. In recent years, “Cyber Monday” has been coined as the online version of Black Friday. But does it work? Should your startup be participating in these annual sales extravaganzas? Let’s take a look at the numbers from the last 5 years to see if we can get a clearer picture.
How did Black Friday start?
First, let’s start with some history. Black Friday got its name in 1961 when police in Philadelphia used the term to describe the chaos that ensued on the day after Thanksgiving when hordes of shoppers descended upon the city. The term “cyber Monday” was first used in 2005 by Ellen Davis, then senior vice president of the National Retail Federation, and Scott Silverman, who was then executive director of Shop.org. It was created as a way to encourage people to shop online.
So, what do the numbers say?
-In 2017, shoppers spent a total of $6.59 billion on Black Friday and $7.24 billion on Cyber Monday, for a combined total of $13.83 billion
-In 2018, shoppers spent a total of $6.22 billion on Black Friday and $7.9 billion on Cyber Monday, for a combined total of $14.12 billion
-In 2019, shoppers spent a total of $7.4 billion on Black Friday and $9.4 billion on Cyber Monday, for a combined total of $$16.8 billion
-In 2020, shoppers spent a record $9 billion on Black Friday and $10.8 billion on Cyber Monday, for a combined total of nearly $20 billion.
-In 2021, shoppers spent a record $8.9 billion on Black Friday and $10.7 billion on Cyber Monday, a tad down on the 2020 mid pandemic figures
As you can see, spending has increased every year since 2017, with 2020 being the banner year so far, but 2021 saw a slight decline. So if you’re thinking about participating in Black Friday or Cyber Monday sales this year, you’re certainly not alone! However, it’s important to keep in mind that these sales are not without their pitfalls. You need to make sure you’re prepared for an influx of traffic and orders and that your website can handle it (or you could end up like Target did in 2013). You also need to make sure you don’t get caught up in the hype and mark down your prices too much – remember that you still need to turn a profit!
So should you get involved?
When it comes to Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales, there’s no clear cut answer as to whether or not they’re worth participating in as a startup. It really depends on a number of factors unique to your business including your product mix, your target market, your margins, etc. However, one thing is certain – if you do decide to participate in these annual events, you need to go into it with your eyes wide open and be prepared for anything!