Marketing Pulse Blog

How Your Brand’s Holiday Performance Measures Up

Written by
Tyler Horner

A month ago, we warned marketers not to expect 2020’s Black Friday eCommerce boom to carry over to 2021. With the promotional season continuing to shift forward and the steady revival of brick-and-mortar shopping, we predicted that YoY eCommerce sales on Black Friday would drop from +27% to -8%. But how did the numbers actually shake out? 

The answer: not great, but slightly better than anticipated. On Black Friday, the average brand in the Marketing Pulse database saw -5.9% growth, just exceeding our -8% prediction. 

On Cyber Monday, brands did a bit better, averaging +1.4% growth vs our +2% prediction. Nonetheless, these growth figures compare relatively poorly to November’s pre-BFCM YoY growth of +8.3% across our database; 77% of brands saw higher YoY growth prior to BFCM than during. 

In other words, marketers who heeded our warning and shifted their budgets forward were able to take advantage of much higher demand while those who banked on similarly bullish Black Friday growth rates were likely left disappointed. 

What About Marketers Who Saved Their Budget for December? 

Given the macro-level trend of consumers starting their holiday shopping earlier than ever, it was definitely a bigger risk to push budgets back to December compared to pulling them forward to pre-BFCM. 

Ultimately, while it did prove more advantageous to pull forward budgets — average YoY growth post-BFCM is at -0.7% vs. +8.3% in the period prior — brands that pushed budgets back still tended to fare better than those who went all in on BFCM weekend. In fact, 60% of brands have seen higher YoY growth post-BFCM compared to during.

What Can We Learn From These Insights? 

This data confirmed that:

  1. Holiday shopping behavior is continuing to shift earlier.
  2. The modest revival of brick-and-mortar shopping was enough to buck last year’s Black Friday eCommerce boom.

Marketers should take solace in knowing that they’re not alone in their brands’ sluggish November finish and modest December rebound. While we can’t control consumer trends, we can utilize the best available data to understand and predict them before it’s too late. 

If you want to be better prepared for the next consumer trend that will impact your marketing strategy and budget planning, sign up for WITHIN’s Marketing Pulse, the weekly newsletter that empowers you to take action backed by data from brands like yours.

Featured image by Marko Klaric on Pexels.

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Written by
Tyler Horner

Tyler Horner is Director of Integrated Media at WITHIN.


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