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For the vast majority of e-commerce advertisers, the months of November and December are considered to be the peak trading period. Last year was no exception, even if the shopping experience in 2020 was considerably different to previous years. Lockdowns and restrictions across Europe meant online shopping was even more important to consumers, and advertisers and affiliates were prepared for an uncommonly big peak trading period.

This was highlighted in Adtraction’s numbers for Black Week. E-commerce sales grew by more than 30% during Black Week, compared to 2019.

Black Friday

The Friday after Thanksgiving, Black Friday, marks the beginning of the holiday shopping season. Black Friday originally emerged as an offline shopping day, but has grown to become a crucial event for online retailers across Europe. In 2020, Black Friday fell on November 27th.

For the last four years, Black Friday has been the largest sales day at Adtraction. This year was no different, with sales reaching a record high. Compared to average Fridays in October and November, Black Friday was more than nine times bigger.

The increase in online shopping has led to blurred lines between Black Week, Black Friday, Black Weekend and Cyber Monday. This trend became increasingly obvious in 2020, with the vast majority of growth appearing in the run-up to Black Friday rather than on Black Friday itself.

Across the network, sales on the days leading up to Black Friday grew by more than 70%, while growth on Black Friday itself was less than 5%.

Black Week

Year after year, retailers have anticipated sales to start earlier in November and continue for longer. These expectations, along with retailers wishing to avoid the Black Friday noise, have led to the emergence of a week-long shopping event. Black Week 2020 ran from Monday 23rd to Monday 30th of November.

With more than 30% growth over last year's remarkable numbers, it was the biggest week in Adtraction's history. Every three seconds throughout the entire week, Adtraction tracked sales for its e-commerce advertisers. The biggest gains during Black Week could be seen on Monday 23rd of November, doubling e-commerce sales compared to the Monday of Black Week the previous year.

With more than 100% growth year-on-year, Electronics & Technology was the best performing advertiser category, while unsurprisingly, Travel & Accommodation experienced a drop compared to previous years given the disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

On the publisher side of the network, content sites have emerged as the biggest winners in Black Week. Over the last four years during Black Week sales from content sites have quadrupled. The remarkable growth is likely to be a result of our team's dedicated approach to recruit content publishers, and we are happy to see that content sites and publishing houses account for an increasing share of the affiliate mix.

Cyber Monday

Cyber Monday, the Monday after Thanksgiving, was created by retailers to encourage people to shop online. In 2020, Cyber Monday fell on 30th of November.

Even though Black Friday was far bigger than Cyber Monday, it still saw growth of more than 30% compared to the prior year. Cyber Monday, though one third of the size of Black Friday, was more than 125% larger than an average Monday in October and November.

Beating the crowds

Extending the holiday sales and peak trading period has both an upside and a downside. On the plus side, consumers have plenty of deals to choose from, and retailers avoid getting drowned by all the noise on Black Friday itself. On the other hand, brands need to keep customers energised with new deals and communication that stand out. With more retailers looking to drive online sales the task for advertisers is to generate interest and excitement in customers while also finding some room in an increasingly crowded peak trading period.

We look forward to seeing how the trends of extended online sales during November and early December will continue to develop in 2021.

If you would like more details about peak trading in your local market please reach out to uk@adtraction.com.

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