The 5 days from Thanksgiving to Cyber Monday are often referred to as the "Cyber 5" and have become some of the biggest retail sales days of the year. They serve as a barometer for the holiday season overall and can serve as a market share launchpad for brands who choose to strategically activate.
The Dawn of Cyber 5:
Interestingly, the day after Thanksgiving, known in more recent decades as “Black Friday,” kicked off the U.S. Christmas shopping season all the way back to the early 1950’s and became one of the biggest shopping days of the year. As internet household penetration and connection speeds accelerated in the early 2000’s, as well as ecommerce fueled in large part by the launch of Amazon Prime with 2-day free shipping in 2005, so emerged a new online retail holiday the Monday after, coined “Cyber Monday” that same year.
Initially, brick-and-mortar big box retailers and department stores claimed Thanksgiving Day and Black Friday and online retailers claimed Cyber Monday. However, the channel boundaries between offline and online competition have blurred and today, all retailers alike are vying for the same omnichannel – but ever increasingly digital – traffic and share of wallet with ever more competitive offers running across the entire Cyber 5 holiday weekend.
In fact, according to Jumpshot digital insights, Cyber 5 continues to get bigger and bigger vs. Q3 baseline YoY, up +296% in 2018. Increased omnichannel competition trying to one-up each other continues to spread ecommerce sales earlier in the holiday weekend with:
- Black Friday growing almost as big as Cyber Monday in 2018 vs. Q3 baseline
- Thanksgiving 2018 saw the largest growth of +27% YoY, a higher increase in sales than Cyber Monday
- “Overlooked Tuesday,” the day after Cyber Monday, continues to gain significant ground supporting an argument of renaming it Cyber 6 in the coming years
Cyber Monday as a standalone event may still be the biggest sales day online but has lost its unique leadership edge as shoppers now have multiple competitive retailer offers to consider and many days to indulge in online shopping with no need to wait to participate in the promotions.
Cyber 5 or Dive
Whether you’re a giftable, destination category like laptops, toys or pressure cookers or whether you’re a everyday essential category like dog food, shampoo or vitamins, Cyber 5 strategy isn’t really optional. Your approach to each and every Cyber 5 – also taking into account your category’s unique competitive dynamics and your peer’s understanding of the same urgency here – can make or break your brand’s leadership or leadership potential well into the new year to follow.
Destination Categories: The importance of retail holidays to destination categories like Consumer Electronics is immediately visually apparent when looking that the ecommerce transactions on Amazon over the last 3 years. According to Jumpshot, there is 0% average ecommerce transaction baseline lift between retail holidays for Consumer Electronics. Retail holidays drive the vast majority of category growth activity with Black Friday, Cyber Monday and Prime Day having driven +242% average ecommerce transaction lift vs. baseline over the last 3 years. These events can be the only inflection point for brand leaders to defend their leadership and for challenger brands to break into the leaderboard.
Non-Destination Categories: The importance of retail holidays to non-destination categories Household Essentials is also visually apparent when looking that the ecommerce transactions on Amazon over the last 3 years. According to Jumpshot, the events themselves drove an +92% average ecommerce transaction lift vs. baseline over the last 3 years, but more importantly, Cyber 5 and Prime Day drive such online category awareness that they have consistently increased the average ecommerce transaction baseline lift between retail holidays by an average of +9%. As a result, these events can serve as a slingshot for challenger brands within non-destination categories to shake up the leaderboard and drive significant incrementality.
Cyber 5 Front Runners
While category leadership pre-Cyber 5 doesn’t guarantee leadership during and post Cyber 5, it is certainly the most favorable position to drive going into the holiday season, especially in light of the increasing number of challenger brands from D2C, digitally native, specialty channel, private label and exclusive brands all surging and chipping away at the market leaders’ share.