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Black Friday, Cyber Monday and the Impact of Social Media on Sales.
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Black Friday, Cyber Monday and the Impact of Social Media on Sales.

by Ben Wittams-Smith2nd December 2014

The post-Thanksgiving shopping maelstrom has been gaining traction in the UK over the last few years, with 2014 being somewhat of a landmark. This year saw British shoppers spending an estimated £810m on the Friday according to IMRG, eclipsing their initial estimate of £555m. And while their estimate for Cyber Monday was even higher (£650m), the global social media statistics tell a different story:

This year saw just over 2 million discussions on social media about Black Friday (over 100% increase from last year’s figure of just under 1 million); whereas Cyber Monday was discussed only 330,000 times (up 75% from last year). However, this is not necessarily representative of a lack of enthusiasm for the latter. Rather, it is likely due to a conflation of the two days in the minds of shoppers, seeing the whole weekend as one frenzied carnival of cut-price consumption, as well as the fact that ‘Black Friday’ has an established ring to it, and makes for a popular buzzword (and thus key word in searches). Indeed not just ‘Black Friday’, but also simple key words like ‘deal’ or ‘sale’ were reported as more widely used than ‘Cyber Monday’ over the weekend.

Does Social Media Chatter Equate to an Increase in Sales?

Of course, social media statistics do not always translate directly into sales, and this is reinforced by the fact that the National Retail Federation actually reported a drop in sales this year compared Black Friday 2013 of 11%.

However, when we look at the companies that did the best over the weekend, certain facts are hard to ignore:

The ‘winners’ on Black Friday were Apple, Microsoft, Amazon, Samsung and Kohl’s. Kohl’s sales figures were the highest in the US, and managed to be the only non-global company in the top 5 globally, largely down to a hugely successful twitter campaign.

A similar phenomenon was witnessed on Cyber Monday, where Motorola figured in the top money-making brands (along with Amazon, EA and Etsy), also due to a campaign offering money-off for retweets.

While statisticians at Spredfast reckon that online sales account for around 7% of total retail sales, that’s still a 5% increase from last year, and is only set to go up. Brands like Adobe and IBM are reporting an increase in the average order value for online platforms, both reporting the highest AOV from Facebook (both at around $110), with Twitter and Pinterest coming in close behind.

With figures like this, and with the fact that marketing events like Black Friday and Cyber Monday are fuelled by the hype and buzz they create; social media is, as it always has been, the perfect platform to get people talking and buying.

Cyber Monday: Unique Online Equivalent to, or Superfluous Sibling of Black Friday?

Introduced in the US 2005 in a move to boost online sales, Cyber Monday seems to remain overshadowed by its older brother Black Friday, no longer even retaining its unique online pedestal.

Despite taking place the Monday after the last pre-Christmas wage packets come through for most workers (and thus marking the beginning of Christmas shopping for many), Cyber Monday seems almost a superfluous gimmick, given the staggering level of online shoppers taking advantage of Black Friday anyway. The general manager of Amazon’s main UK warehouse in Peterborough is quotes as saying:

“Cyber Monday has always been our biggest single day for sales but the growing success of Black Friday illustrates that it has become a much anticipated date as the nation prepares for the festive season.”

Amazon’s previous record for products ordered in a day (4.1m) last Cyber Monday, was smashed this year on Black Friday but 1.4m (total for BF 2014 = 5.5m products).

Spredfast reported 2,013,943 discussions, while Salesforce Market Cloud reported a higher total of 2.7m

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About The Author
Ben Wittams-Smith
Ben Wittams-Smith is a content writer for Just SEO and the Company Director of JSEO LTD. As a specialist in SEO, SEM and digital marketing, Ben regularly contributes content and provides analytic insight in these areas.

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