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  • Madeline Caris

Cyber Long Weekend 2020 Recap: How Did It All Pay Out

Today we'll go through what went down during Cyber Week 2020 - the what, the when, the where and the big question - how much of our rent money did we spend buying all the things?!

Image of young happy woman sitting in shopping cart carrying lots of shopping bags
She'll probably be living in this shopping cart with the amount of rent money she's spent last Cyber Week.

2020 is a year we won't forget.

Bushfires ravaged the country (feels like a lifetime ago but it was only THIS YEAR GUYS).

Toilet paper madness.


A global pandemic.

And the record for the most money spent online in a day (EVER!?)

After the year we've had, we NEEDED retail therapy to boost our weary souls.

And the warm up forecasts were REAL.

ING projected that 8.3 million Aussies were planning to spend big in the 2020 Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales. That's over a third of the population ready to Add to Cart to spend, and save, big.

And boy did we show up! AustPost states that as a nation we set a new record with online shopping growth up +42 per cent on the same period last year. Spare a thought for your regular postie because there are now 13 million parcels flying all over the country.

Compared to the rest of the world, Shopify awards Australia as the 2nd highest spending country with an average order value (AOV) of $105.50 (USD), second only to Japan's AOV of $106.40 (USD). This was followed by Canada ($103 USD) and the US ($92.80).

Infographic of the Top 4 AOV by Country
Look at us spending big over there in the corner

That's a HUGE deal, considering that Adobe reports consumers spent $24.11B over Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, and Cyber Monday. Over $24 BILLION.

Consumers Spend Closer to Home (literally, Home categories)

What did we even BUY that could have amounted to that kind of money?!

Image of beautiful burgundy velvet sofa in a living room.
New couch? Yes please.

Comes as no surprise that we were nesting because if we're going to be spending more time at home, we might as well like our surrounds! Australia Post reports that saw the Home & Garden category jump +50% up on last year, followed by Fashion & Apparel and Variety Stores, up 41% and 20% respectively.

This increased time at home also meant more time to spend with our expensive furry friends aka pandemic puppies, with Animal & Pet Supplies category up +42% on Super Sunday vs last year.

Big Commerce reports the optimists came out on Black Friday and boosted the Travel category to a crazy 569% compared to same day last year - clearly showing that the desire to travel is still very much alive and many are hopeful for 2021.

Category spend varied according to the platform you were using, with Apparel, Accessories and Home & Garden all performing well on Shopify and Facebook. But if it was Auto, Food & Beverage or Sports & Outdoors you were looking to buy off Amazon.

Adobe listed the below to be the most in-demand items:

  • Apple AirPods

  • Air Fryers

  • HP and Dell computers

  • Chromecast

  • Star Wars toys (understandable, Baby Yoda is pretty friggin cute)

  • Hot Wheels sets

  • Lego

  • vTech-brand toys

  • NERF

Cyber Monday trumps Black Friday

This was always going to be the way.

We've been conditioned to wait for the deeper markdowns on Monday, only purchasing earlier on Friday the items that were likely to sell out beforehand.

For this reason, Cyber Monday was the clear winner cashing in $10.8B, followed by Black Friday at $9.03B and Small Business Saturday bringing in $4.68B.

Infographic of Sales Revenue broken down by day

But this year the further markdowns were more in our head rather than reality, according to Kristin McGrath editor of, whose job it is to monitor web deals. Bloomberg confirms that it was mainly a handful of popular products with limited stock that had the better discounts on Cyber Monday to draw the crowds, with the hopes they'd get clicky-happy and add more to cart once consumers were through the virtual door.

But when Adobe compared the days side-by-side, the discounts at category level were minimal, with only sporting goods and toys going a further 2% on markdowns from Black Friday to Cyber Monday, electronics a mere 1%, and computers and appliances staying much the same. It is however projected that discounts are expected to lessen by 5-10% in the lead-up to Christmas.

The Monumental Rise of E-Commerce

With Covid-19 having changed the retail landscape, it comes as no surprise that E-commerce sales was THE big winner in terms of sales channels.

Thanks to lockdowns, we ALL know how to purchase online now, and are confident in doing so. Wall Street Journal states that this saw a rise in volume with Black Friday online sales +22% up on last year, and the average order value increase by +17% (Big Commerce).

RetailNext advises that although foot traffic to traditional bricks & mortar stores was down 42%, Forbes reports only a 23.9% drop in sales, helped by improved conversion and increased average transaction values. (Makes sense, if you're going to venture out in public - you're more likely to make it worth your while and actually buy, and buy big).

Image of interior of a large multi-storey shopping mall
Large shopping centres have seen less foot traffic, but those who venture out will be likely spending big.

Lauren Bitar at RetailNext goes on to say that big indoor shopping centres and malls was only 3 points behind their non-mall boutique store counterparts, showing that although there was a foot traffic drop on last year the difference between the two types of stores was minimal. So despite what you hear, we haven't completely abandoned the idea of shopping at our local Westfield.

Retailers that were able to pivot and introduce curbside pickup, or implement assigned pickup timeslots and reservation systems, further allowed safe shopping at these stores. Example being Kmart, who already had this in place to handle the hordes of shoppers who were finally free from lockdown and needed to get their bargain fix.

Is this likely to change? Doubtful. In a report from Sykes, 44% of surveyed consumers are not comfortable shopping in person until they feel the pandemic is under control, with another 25% saying they won't be shopping instore until a vaccine is available.

44% of surveyed consumers are not comfortable shopping in person until they feel the pandemic is under control

Of the purchases made online, Big Commerce advises that consumers still favored using their desktops with 49% orders made using this type of device vs smartphones at 43% of orders. Desktops had a higher AOV of $159, compared to smartphones at $121. And it appears people aren't as interested in using tablets since 2018, with a second consecutive year showing a downward trend in tablet usage for online shopping. Number of orders were down -19% on last year, and sales down -10% but those that did purchase via tablet spent more than smartphone users with an AOV of $125.

Infographic of online orders by device

What's interesting is of the consumers who used their smartphone to purchase, 106% more orders were completed on an iPhone compared to Androids AND with a higher AOV of $124 vs $114.

Now it would be very easy to weigh in on the Android vs iOS debate here, but I'll just back away slowly from this hot topic...

but not before stating that just based on these numbers iPhone users pretty much outnumbered Android users 2:1 this past Cyber Week - way to bring it and boost the economy! #teamApple

Kanye GIF making it rain money
iPhone users were twice as likely to have made it rain money this year

So Many Sites, So Little Time

So we know that e-commerce was where it was at this year.

But what drove traffic to retailers websites?

Adobe advises that paid search continues to be the leading digital channel with revenue share at 25% and visit share at 24% however direct traffic wasn't too far behind with 21% and 22% respectively. Organic search showed the biggest improvement YoY with 11% growth in revenue share.

But social media is the dark horse channel to watch with 10% of visits to retail websites coming from socials this year, and 3% of revenue. This is only likely to increase exponentially in coming years as social media platforms leverage this new form of retail with the introduction of Instagram and Facebook Shops.

With the complete remake of the retail environment this year, if you haven't already been looking to leverage online for your business, NOW would be the time to do so (better late, than never!) Because if there's one thing the mass population has learnt and embraced this year - it's how to shop online.

Infographic summarising the main callouts of this post
Main callouts from Cyber Week 2020

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