Black Friday Cyber Monday 2018: An Analysis of Over $1.5 Billion in Sales

With the page turned on another exciting Black Friday Cyber Monday, it’s time to take a look at the data and see how the over 600,000 merchants on Shopify did during this banner sales event.

Analyzing what happened this year, and calling out a few key trends, is one way we want to equip store owners to prepare for an even better BFCM in 2019.

The BFCM tradition continues to grow worldwide

Black Friday Cyber Monday global sales data.

Throughout the Black Friday Cyber Monday (BFCM) shopping weekend, November 24th to the 26th, Shopify merchants collectively made over $1.5 billion USD in sales.

At their peak, Shopify merchants generated over $37 million USD in sales per hour and $870,000 USD per minute during BFCM.

While the lion’s share of the action took place in North America, it’s clear that BFCM continues to expand its global footprint, with 18.54% of all orders placed with Shopify stores being shipped internationally. From long-distance trips to short hops across borders, packages from Shopify merchants will be shipped over 30 billion miles in total—ten times the distance between the Earth and Pluto.

Trends we saw during Black Friday Cyber Monday 2018

1. Mobile sales vs. desktop sales

Mobile sales vs. desktop sales.

Mobile shopping has firmly established itself as the new normal, with 66% of sales from Shopify merchants happening on mobile during BFCM versus 34% on desktop.

Shopify merchants had the tools to handle the mobile-first preference among BFCM shoppers, with responsive themes and multiple mobile-friendly payment options. Shopify Pay, Apple Pay, and Google Pay all streamline the process of checking out, making it easier to complete a purchase on any device. Merchants like Victoria Emerson have seen up to 4x higher conversions during BFCM thanks to Shopify Pay.

2. The highest converting channels

Highest converting traffic sources.

Keeping in tradition with last year, we looked at how various traffic sources performed during BFCM weekend. While these channels weren’t necessarily responsible for the most overall orders, the data suggests they’re important sources to consider for store owners in search of qualified traffic.

Email marketing in particular offers a direct connection to existing customers and interested subscribers, but merchants may want to stay in touch with customers and provide value over email throughout the rest of the year—if our inboxes are any indication, things get a little busy around BFCM.

3. Peak shopping hours

Peak shopping hours during Black Friday Cyber Monday.

This year, we also tracked order traffic across Black Friday (November 23) and Cyber Monday (November 26) and found that 12pm and 9pm saw a surge in orders, respectively. Both Black Friday and Cyber Monday see a significant uptick in order traffic around noon, with Cyber Monday reaching its peak in the late evening, possibly due to last chance promotional offers.

During your own BFCM campaign, these times are important to keep in mind when planning and staffing for support or order fulfillment, activating channels like live chat to answer customer questions, or just generally being available in case any issues arise.

4. The dates when sales start to pick up

When Black Friday Cyber Monday sales start to pick up.

With both Black Friday and Cyber Monday being home to some of the best time-sensitive deals of the year, it’s no surprise that sales began to escalate just a few days before the shopping weekend kicked off.

For merchants, the time to prepare your store, offers, campaigns, and shipping processes may be earlier than you think. While there’s always room to improvise, sales ramped up as early as Monday, November 19th, and November 22nd—Thanksgiving Day in the United States. Preparing earlier can ensure you’re ready for a full week of sales, along with the shipping and support workload needed to fulfill them.

What’s your BFCM story?

This year’s Black Friday Cyber Monday featured a number of special moments and notable milestones. What often gets lost in the shuffle is the growing importance independent businesses play in this now global shopping weekend. The collective effort of businesses of all sizes was the most compelling story to unfold, and one we will continue to support and celebrate every year.

With that said, we’d like to hear about your experience. With one eye toward next year, what lessons from this year’s BFCM will you be taking into 2019?

*Shopify’s Black Friday Cyber Monday data was based on sales experienced by its more than 600,000 businesses in 175 countries around the world from November 23 to November 26, 2018. All data presented here is approximate and is based on various assumptions. All data is unaudited and is subject to adjustment.

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