Christmas (Shopping) Did Come Early: Breaking Down Cyber5 2020

By Lena Liberman

The big story this week is, of course, Cyber5 performance. Cyber5 was exceedingly good to online retailers this year due to the pandemic severely disrupting brick-and-mortar shopping. Now that the dust has settled, how would you assess your business’s performance this Cyber5?

Unfortunately, Cyber5 sales, while excellent, were not all they had been projected to be. This is likely due to consumers starting their online holiday shopping earlier than usual and online shopping in general becoming a bigger part of daily life during the pandemic. Thus, the spending was there, it was just distributed differently throughout Q4, in large part due to the early holiday push that began with a Q4 Amazon Prime Day that surpassed predictions and closed at $10.4B, up 45.2% from the previous year’s event.

3 Key Points About the Extended Holiday Shopping Season

With the data now fully tabulated, here’s our team’s summary of 2020’s extended holiday season (so far), culminating in the critical Cyber5 long weekend:

  1. Amazon successfully pulled ahead and kicked off an earlier shopping season than ever before. Walmart and Target weren’t far behind in offering their own early and extended sales. The success was influenced by the pandemic’s effects on consumer sentiment, driving earlier holiday shopping behavior due to unwillingness to visit stores, changes in family and holiday gatherings, and delayed fulfillment times.
  2. A significant decline of in-store foot traffic during the holiday peak, coupled with tighter spending habits resulting from economic uncertainty (In-store shopping fell 55% on Thanksgiving and 37% on Black Friday; Cyber5 in-store spending was down 14% compared to last year) has forced retail innovation and reconsideration of the role of physical retail in general. This isn’t going away and it will be a major talking point and change-driver in 2021. 
  3. Above-average online sales growth since March, coupled with spikes on both Amazon Prime Day and Black Friday, could be attributed to cannibalized retail foot traffic, but the overall change in consumers’ willingness to buy online across industries and categories is here to stay. Our data shows that the uptick was due to increased order volume — sheer quantity of purchases — rather than average order value.

Cyber5 2020 Stats

Market Revenue Lift
Year Over Year
EXCLUSIVE Clients’ Lift
Year Over Year
Black Friday 21.6% 39%
Cyber5 Long Weekend 20.6 27%

In Detail

The Good News for the Overall Market’s Performance:

U.S. shoppers spent a record $34.36 billion on retail websites between Thanksgiving and Cyber Monday, up from $28.49 billion for the same period last year. That’s online sales growth of 20.6% year over year.

Although those are record performances, the actual numbers didn’t live up to the projections, likely due to Amazon Prime Day as mentioned above and the knowledge that shipping and delivery have slowed significantly. Hence . . . 

. . . The Good-but-Not-as-Good-as-Hoped News:

2020’s Cyber5 sales growth of 20.6% exceeded the 17.7% rate of 2019, but it fell significantly short of Digital Commerce 360’s estimate of 34.9% and Adobe’s estimate of 38.3%. It’s hard to deem 20.6% growth disappointing, but the rules are different in 2020.

EXCLUSIVE Clients Outperformed Market Averages:

  • For Black Friday 2020 specifically, the market reported $9B in sales, up 21.6% over last year. By comparison, EXCLUSIVE’s clients grew their Black Friday sales by 39%. In short, Black Friday was a massive win for retailers, but retailers using EXCLUSIVE for their digital marketing experienced a 17.4% bigger win than the average.
  • Looking at the entire Cyber5 2020 period, while market revenue grew 20.6%, revenue growth for EXCLUSIVE clients was up 27%.

How did we find incremental revenue for our clients? We tested thoroughly, we looked for the right signals in the market and in advertising and platforms, and we didn’t shy away from complex campaign set-ups and putting in the extra work. We understand that no two goals or businesses are the same, so why should marketing be any different? 

With regard to Cyber5 2020, exceptional success for our clients was about quickly recognizing (and acting on) changes in consumer behavior that have created new opportunities to drive revenue as well as to increase brand recognition. For example, the massive shifts to online grocery and consumables, the increase in home fitness and home office equipment, pivots in what clothes and accessories consumers are shopping for have all drastically changed. We’ve been managing Black Friday-level demand and traffic since March so we’ve got it down.

Cyber5 2020: Don’t Settle for Good ROI, Demand Great ROI

It goes without saying that if you can find an investment that beats the market by 6.4%-17.4%, you should probably jump on that opportunity. This brings me back to good news. While Cyber5 may be over, there are still 4 weeks in 2020 and an entire new year on the horizon. It’s never too late to invest in proven winning strategies, and the sooner you do so, the sooner you’ll begin to reap the rewards.

What Now? Focus on Winning the Rest of Q4 & ALL of 2021

With Cyber5 behind us and all eyes on finishing Q4 strong and strategizing for 2021, now is the time to assess your digital marketing, get a fresh perspective on how your advertising is performing, and recalibrate to land more wins (and not just around the holidays).

We realize that the prospect of doing this may seem daunting, especially if you’ve been advertising for a long time or you feel attached to a strategy or agency. But the new year is all about out with the old and in with the new, and improving your ads doesn’t have to be painful or costly.

Where to Start

Go big and address the elephant in the room: Google Ads. Google dominates search engine market share at a staggering 91.4%, so both its risk and reward are great, but you must understand how to harness its potential. EXCLUSIVE is a Google Premier Partner so our team is well versed in the nuances of Google Ads.

Get Expert Input

The best way to see exactly what’s driving revenue and what’s creating wasted ad spend is to run EXCLUSIVE’s free Google Ads Scorecard. It gathers your ad data and delivers an easy-to-understand analysis broken down into four main groups:

  • Search Term Performance
  • Product Performance
  • Campaign Performance
  • Performance by Device

Understand Performance Drivers & Start Your New Success Strategy

From there, you can see exactly which levers are being pulled and by which products and ads and campaigns. You’ll see everything you need to make changes that improve ad efficiency and ROI. And while the results of the scorecard are clear and easy to understand, you’ll also get input from an EXCLUSIVE expert who’ll help you find more opportunities to double down on profitable products and ads while cutting out the deadweight.

Start your free EXCLUSIVE Google Ads Scorecard today and get everything you need to finish 2020 strong and start the new year positioned for profitability and growth.