Black Friday 2021 USA: Which brands are winning search this year?

Endemic supply chain problems have been part of a gloomy soundtrack into the key Q4 retail trading period this year. Against a backdrop of inflation, a shortage of raw materials, like computer chips and a lack of sufficient workers, Apple, Costco and Nike are just some of the consumer businesses to warn recently about inventory availability because of  unprecedented production and delivery delays. Apple specifically mentioned chip shortages and a slow supply chain as the major reasons for warning shareholders about  lower-than-expected Q4 revenue figures.

The threat of delivery delays and holiday inventory stock outs have pushed retailers and consumer brands to sound the whistle on Cyber 5 earlier than ever so that the mega shopping holiday event has felt more like Cyber month than just a long weekend. 

However, Esben Poulsson, Chairman, The International Chamber of Shipping, said earlier this week that he believes “the worst is over” for global supply chain disruption and there are a number of encouraging signs - like slightly easing shipping costs and port backlogs - that he may be (thankfully for brands and retailers and customers of course) right.    

There is no question that the operating environment is challenging though - probably even more than 2020 - but predictions are that we will still see a bumper Black Friday and Cyber 5 weekend, breaking yet more sales records, particularly online. 

The brands that are being discovered online today and on the other Cyber 5 days will win this holiday season, which will be dominated by ecommerce. 

Almost two-thirds of clicks (64%) occur on the top three products of a category page. So, we analyzed search results of the most popular search terms from Black Friday last year to see which brands are set to win this year.

Consumer Electronics

Winners (Greatest average weighted share of search* on Amazon, Best Buy and Walmart)

TV (Terms - “TV”, “Smart TV”, “Television”) - Samsung

Samsung was the best performer in the TV category across all search terms analyzed. Samsung had 50% of the Best Buy and Walmart top 10 for “TV” and also had the greatest share of top 10 on both retailer sites for “Television”. For “Smart TV” it had 30% of the top 10 but importantly it had the entire top 3 on Amazon for both “TV and “Smart TV”.

Amazon’s new Fire TVs were also prominently promoted. It was the first product behind the top 3 sponsored row on Amazon’s search results for all search terms. It was also the top-listed product on Best Buy for both “TV” and “Smart TV”.

Winners (Greatest average weighted share of search* on Amazon)

“Laptop” - Apple
“Headphones” - Beats by Dre
“Wireless Headphones” - Tuniyo
“Bluetooth Speaker” - Oontz

Apple was the best performing brand for “Laptop”. Apple returned in the top 2 search results, beating Lenovo - although Lenovo  actually had more listings in the top 10, albeit further down. Beats by Dre had the entire top 3 for “Headphones”, as it did in the UK today. However, Tuniyo had the greatest share of top 10 and top 3 for “Wireless Headphones” as it had the top sponsored search positions.

Oontz sponsored the top 3 search positions for “Bluetooth Speaker” beating out JBL, Bose and Doss.

“Webcam” was the third most popular Consumer Electronics search term last year, but , as people have adapted to working or learning from home its popularity has slipped to 29th this month which is why we have not analyzed it this year.

Household Appliances

Winners (Greatest average weighted share of search*)

“Coffee Maker” - Cuisinart
“Espresso Machine” - Nespresso (Breville)
“Air Fryer” - NuWave
“Vacuum Cleaner” - Shark
“Mattress” - Tuft & Needle
“Microwave” - Winia

Cuisinart narrowly edged out Mr.Coffee as the best performer for “Coffee Maker”, in spite of Mr. Coffee having more products in the top 10 across Amazon, Target and Walmart. This was because Cuisinart had the entire top 3 on Amazon while Mr. Coffee only had 2nd and 3rd on Target.

Nespresso (Breville) held the top 3 on Amazon, but had only one listing on Target. De’Longhi had the most top 10 listings across the three retailers, including the top spot on Target. However, its other listings were much further down the top 10


For the category “Air Fryer”, NuWave dominated  the top sponsored products row, which helped it to win the category’s share of search. In a similar way, Tuft & Needle won share of search for “Mattress”. 

Winia had the top 2 sponsored products for “Microwave” which meant it was more prominent than Amazon’s own microwaves and Toshiba which had the greatest number of products in the top 10.

As it did in the UK today, Shark had the greatest share of the top for “Vacuum Cleaner” with a 50% share on Amazon. This is a much greater share than it had from Prime Day this year.


Health & Beauty

Winners (Greatest average weighted share of search*)

“Hair Dryer” - Revlon
“Curling Iron” - Conair
“Electric Toothbrush” - Oral-B
“Lipstick” - Maybelline
“Mascara” - Maybelline
“Vitamin Supplements” - Pedialyte

“Hair Dryer'' was the 3rd most popular Amazon Beauty search term last Black Friday and this year Revlon has eclipsed Conair and Babyliss. This was largely down to its performance on Amazon where it had 70% share of the top 10, with Babyliss, Conair and Panasonic making up the rest.

Conair got its revenge, as it had the greatest share of the top 10 on Amazon and Walmart for “Curling Iron”. Hot Tools had 50% of the top 10 on Target but importantly Conair occupied the first and second search results.

“Electric Toothbrush” was the most popular Amazon Health & Beauty term last Black Friday.This year, Oral-B dominated the search term on Amazon with all of the top 3 and another 4 positions in the top 10.

Maybelline performed best for the popular cosmetics terms “Lipstick” and “Mascara”. It had the top 2 sponsored positions for “Lipstick” and 5 of the top 6 places for “Mascara”,

“Vitamin Supplements” was the 34th most popular search term in the Health & Personal Care category over the Black Friday week last year, but demand has risen for anything that supports immunity in the face of continuing Covid-19 risks. Last month (October), Vitamin Supplements shot up to #1 on search. 

For this category, Pedialyte had the top 2 search results and was the only brand to have more than one listing in the top 10.


Winners (Greatest average weighted share of search*)

“Board Games” - Osmo
“Jigsaw Puzzles” - Fred
“Toys” - Osmo
“Toddler Toys” - Osmo
“Dolls” - Barbie
“Remote Control Car” - Bezgar

Osmo performed well across many Toy-related search terms, as we have seen in previous shopping events. It had a 60% share of the top 10 for “Toys” and a 70% share for “Toddler Toys”, including all the top 3 for both. While its products are not Board Games it also paid to sponsor the top 3 for the term “Board Games”.

Perennial favorite Barbie had a 60% share for the term “Dolls” far ahead of LOL Surprise and Melissa & Doug.

Fred and Bezgar had 100% of the top 3 for “Jigsaw Puzzles” and “Remote Control Car” respectively. Both paid for the top row of sponsored products and did not feature elsewhere in the top 10.


Winners (Greatest average weighted share of search*)

“Dog Toys” - goDog
“Dog Treats” - Purina
“Cat Toys” - Emmeliestella
“Cat Food” - Hill’s

There was an interesting dichotomy between Cat and Dog Food products. For dogs, “Dog Treats” was more popular than “Dog Food” but for cats “Cat Food” was searched more than “Cat Treats”.

For “Dog Treats”, Nestle’s Purina brand had the top 3 returning products. Milk-Bone was the only other brand to have more than one listing in the top 10, it held 8th and 9th.

Colgate-Palmolive’s Hill’s brand had 40% of the top 10 for “Cat Food”, including the top 3. Amazon’s own brand came 4th stopping Hill’s sweeping the entire top 4.

For both “Dog Toys” and “Cat Toys” the brands that sponsored the top product row were the best performers. These were goDog and Emmeliestella respectively, no other brand had more than one listing in the top 10 for either term.

That’s all for the headlines of who’s winning search this Black Friday. Tune back in on Cyber Monday to see how things have changed over the weekend.

*Weighted share of search is weighted so that products nearer the top of the search results are given a greater percentage share than results further down. The weighting is exponential for rankings from 1st to 10th.

All data from Edge by Ascential Digital Shelf. Request a demo to see how you can track, manage and optimise your online performance on Amazon and across the websites you sell on.

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