Scene of people in line outside of a Best Buy on a Black Friday shopping day.
Best Buy was lauded for its site search experience through the Black Friday/Cyber Monday weekend. PHOTO: Aaron Hawkins

The Cyber Monday numbers are in and it will come as a surprise to absolutely no one that Amazon was the big winner. 

The ecommerce giant reported 2017's Cyber Monday was its biggest all-time shopping day worldwide. It beat Prime Day 2017 and the benefits extended to small businesses and entrepreneurs selling on Amazon, who also reported record-breaking sales. Customers ordered nearly 140 million items from small businesses alone. 

According to Adobe Analytics, Black Friday also broke records, with U.S. retailers earning $7.9 billion on Nov. 24, an increase of nearly 18 percent from a year ago. Adobe also reported Cyber Monday hit a new record as the largest online sales day in history with $6.59 billion, marking a 16.8 percent year-over-year increase. 

Big Shopping Trends From the Never-Ending Black Friday Sales

For digital marketers, the "data behind the data" tells other important tales. Let’s take a look at some key statistics from the Black Friday/Cyber Monday spend-fest.

Millennials Spend the Most

The National Retail Federation (NRF) reported millennials were the biggest spenders in the U.S. Millenials (those between 25 and 34 years old) spent an average of $419.52 over the five-day period these shopping days have morphed into. Americans, on average, spent $335.47, with $250.78 of that going to gifts.

Shoppers Split Time Between On Line and In Stores

The NRF also reported that more than 64 million Americans shopped both online and in stores. Some decided to remain in the comforts of their own home (or least their own WiFi connection): 58 million shopped online only. Others abandoned the world wide web and ventured out: more than 51 million shopped in stores only. Those who combined online and brick-and-mortar shopping spent $82 more on average than the online-only shopper, and $49 more on average than the only-in-store shopper.

People Shopped While Eating Turkey

The NRF found 11 percent of consumers shopped before 5 p.m. on Thanksgiving Day, and another 11 percent started at 6 p.m. On Black Friday, 25 percent started at 10 a.m. or later.

Shoppers got an early start on Cyber Monday, with 49 percent of consumers going online to shop early in the morning. Another 41 percent started in late morning, with 75 percent using their computers at home, 43 percent using a mobile device and 13 percent shopping on computers at work. 

Mobile Search and Sales Set Records

Adobe reported some promising numbers in mobile searches and sales:

  • Mobile set a new record: it accounted for 47.4 percent of visits to stores online (39.9 percent smartphones, 7.6 percent tablets); and 33.1 percent of revenue (24.1 percent smartphones, 9.0 percent tablets).
  • Smartphone traffic grew 22.2 percent from last year.
  • Revenue coming from smartphones ($1.59 billion) saw 39.2 percent growth yearly, a new all-time high.
  • Apple iOS led with an average order value of $123; Google Android clocked in at $110.

Black Friday Buildup High 

According to commerce marketing firm Criteo S.A.'s research on its US retail clients, holiday shopper volumes increased 49 percent from Nov. 6 through Nov. 19 with the number of buyers jumping 112 percent overall. The company also reported the largest increases in buyers took place on Black Friday (up 157 percent) and Cyber Monday (up 184 percent) from the weeks prior. 

Small Businesses Win 

Ecommerce company Shopify reported more than 500,000 merchants in 175 countries sold more than $1 billion in gross merchandise volume during the Black Friday and Cyber Monday weekend. 

According to the same data, mobile sales continued to outpace desktop for the third consecutive year, accounting for 64 percent overall, an increase of 10 percent year-over-year. Mobile sales on Cyber Monday grew to 60 percent, an 11 percent increase over 2016. 

Search Experience Winners

Web search vendor Algolia analyzed the site search experiences for the five most popular Black Friday and Cyber Monday retailers (Amazon, Walmart, Best Buy, eBay and Target).

Best Buy won with a 100 percent score for Search Grader. Walmart (90 percent), Target (83 percent), eBay (73 percent) and Amazon (70 percent) followed.

Algolia officials reported that Best Buy leveraged the width of the desktop drop-down bar to display instant search results. “It’s one less load time, one less second of attention before shoppers go somewhere else,” officials said.

Search winners in Algolia’s research also “dug through the color interpretation, through the typos, and through the vagueness to provide relevant results and context-enriched suggestions for categories, brands and products” for which buyers were interested.

Digital Behavior Remains the Same

Decibel Insight, provider of digital experience analytics, analyzed more than 400,000 user sessions across ecommerce sites to compare shoppers’ behavior on Black Friday and Cyber Monday as opposed to other days of the year. The reseachers found digital body language remains largely the same. 

When measuring digital body language, Decibel Insight analyzed scroll engagement, copy and paste, technical experience score and hesitation. The company's analytics provide insight on how users behave on websites. 

"It’s critical for brands to measure and improve customer experiences all year round, not just on particular days," Decible Insight officials said. "Shopping cart abandonment also didn’t change, meaning frustrating online shopping experiences occur independently of these sales days and brands should consider optimizing the buyer’s journey year-round."