The Adtraction Blog

Peak trading on Adtraction

Adtraction recorded record-breaking growth in Q4 2019!

Peak Season

Retailers and publishers across the Adtraction network were geared up for a big peak trading season in 2019, and the results didn’t disappoint. There were exceptional numbers, impressive growth and some interesting trends across our nine European markets.

November and December are considered the peak trading months for the vast majority of e-commerce retailers that work with Adtraction. Adtraction’s sales in these key months grew by almost one quarter on the previous year, showing that the peak trading period continues to grow in importance for e-commerce retailers.

Black Friday

Black Friday, the first Friday after Thanksgiving, has been considered the biggest shopping day of the year in the US since 1952, and in more recent years has become a focal point of peak trading for online retailers in Europe.

Black Friday itself has been Adtraction’s largest trading day for the last three years, and 2019 saw no signs of that changing. This peak season, Black Friday was more than two and a half times bigger than other Friday trading days in November and October.

The network’s year-on-year growth for Black Friday of 33% was very similar to the annual growth rate on Black Friday in 2018, showing that more and more retailers and consumers are continuing to take advantage of this iconic online shopping day.

While all our territories across Europe saw like-for-like growth on Black Friday, we saw some of the biggest gains in Denmark and Norway. In Denmark, Friday 29th November was more than 4 times as big as the three preceding days of the week, while in Norway it was more than 3 times as big.

Black Week

The increasing popularity of online shopping has led the lines to blur between Black Week, Black Friday, Black Weekend and Cyber Monday. There is however no denying that the period related to Black Friday is a key growth driver of holiday spending in Europe.

The Black Friday week, running from Monday 25th November to Monday 2nd December in 2019, was the biggest week in Adtraction’ history, growing more than 50% on the previous year.

The growth in number of sales outstripped growth in sales revenue, highlighting how large consumer-facing discounts continue to fuel trading in Europe’s biggest online shopping week of the year.

However, it’s what’s happening in the run-up to Black Friday that’s really interesting. Between Monday and Wednesday of Black Friday week this year the network grew at an average of 88% each day, compared to an average of 48% in 2018. We’ve understood that Black Friday is a week-long trading event for a few years now, but this year’s large growth rates from the early part of the week demonstrate how consumers are responding to retailers pushing out their offers early to maximise exposure.

Cyber Monday

Avoiding the Black Friday crowds is often listed as a primary reason for consumers to shop online. In order to encourage online shopping Cyber Monday was created by US retailers in 2005 as the Monday following Thanksgiving weekend. However, it’s failed to capture the imagination of European consumers or retailers in the same way as it’s famous Friday cousin.

For the second year running Cyber Monday numbers across the network were underwhelming compared to Black Friday. The 2nd December 2019 was less than half the size of Black Friday and just 50% bigger than an average Monday in November.

Balancing Margin

Yet again, the peak trading season has shown how e-commerce in Europe has come to rely on back-filling trading into the final part of the year, and it’s also something consumers have come to expect.

It will be interesting to see how long this trend will continue in the face of increasing consumer discounts and pressure on margins. Particularly as we can see in more mature markets a greater desire from retailers to more evenly distribute their promotions throughout November and December so as not to get drowned out by all the noise on Black Friday itself.

If you are interested in more detail about peak trading in your local market please get in touch by emailing uk@adtraction.com.

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