Black Friday/Cyber Monday 2021: What we learned

It’s official - Black Friday/Cyber Monday is over for another year. Merchants around the world spend months planning and anticipating what’s come to be known as the biggest shopping weekend of the year, in the hopes that they can take a slice of that BFCM pie.  

Let’s take a look at some of the incredible statistics released by Shopify, that prove just how powerful the global Shopify merchant network truly is. 

Another record year for Shopify merchants

You would think after all merchants had to deal with in 2020 that they might catch a break in 2021. Well, between supply chain issues, a still ongoing pandemic, and more, it appeared that they’d be in for another unpredictable Black Friday weekend. 

Despite all they had to navigate, it would seem that Shopify merchants once again showed the power of ecommerce and managed to smash the impressive figures and statistics from last year.

Total global sales higher than ever

Let’s start with the big figure that everyone wants to know - total global sales.

And the number is…

BFCM total global Shopify sales

Over Black Friday weekend, Shopify merchants recorded over $6.1 billion in sales. That’s a huge step up from 2020 - a 23% increase to be exact. As if that wasn’t impressive enough, that figure is double the total global sales from 2019.

Direct to consumer came out on top

The voices of independent and direct-to-consumer brands were very much heard over BFCM weekend, with customers choosing these stores in force. 

47 million customers shopped with DTC

47 million customers shopped with independent and DTC brands powered by Shopify over the weekend. This is across 1.7 million Shopify stores, in over 175 countries, and interestingly apparel and accessories reigned supreme in countries like Germany, Japan, and Italy.

Reaching records faster than ever before

Impressed by the total sales figures? We’ve got another couple of statistics that will really knock you off your feet. 

Total sales surpassed $1 Billion by 4am EST

The total sales surpassed the $1 Billion mark by 4am EST on Black Friday - that’s 4 hours earlier than in 2020. This goes to show that BFCM is still one of the biggest shopping periods around the world.

And we’re not done yet...

Peak sales reached over $3.1 million per minute

At 12:02pm EST on November 26th, we seen peak sales of over $3.1 Million per minute. That’s a huge volume of orders globally - if you were keeping up with Shopify’s live BFCM map, it was totally lit up!

BFCM continues to go global

The Black Friday phenomenon has grows further and wider every year, as more countries join in and more merchants get online.

cross border sales made up 15% of global total

This is reflected in the fact that 15% of all global orders over BFCM weekend were cross-border. The most popular routes being USA to Canada, Canada to USA, and UK to USA - they also represent the top-selling countries. 

Key Takeaways

Customers continue to want to support independent businesses

Over the last couple of years, it has been tough for independent and DTC businesses to navigate their way through the various challenges thrown at them. From a global pandemic to supply chain issues, it has definitely not been easy. That being said, it has also inspired a period of huge discovery for consumers. Whether they found a new brand because supply chain meant they can’t find their usual favorites, or lockdown restrictions prevented them from shopping in-store, customers are finding new, amazing independent and DTC stores to shop with. 

However, if these brands want to hold onto those customers, they need to continue to develop their relationships with them and provide them added value where possible. This will come through personalization, targeted marketing, loyalty programs, and robust retention strategies that engage customers and grow brand affinity. Give your customers the kind of deals, product recommendations, news, and campaigns they actually want to read, and they’ll reward you with their interest and continued support.

Customer experience will be crucial to success

We’ve already written about the kind of factors that will be important to customer experience in 2022, and BFCM weekend only strengthens how vital delivering an excellent customer experience truly is. Over BFCM weekend, 71% of sales were on mobile and purchases as a result of social integrations tripled year-on-year. The way customers now interact with ecommerce is more fluid - they move between channels, devices, and even physical vs online. They expect the brands they shop with to accommodate this approach to commerce, and that’s why omnichannel will be such a big part of customer experience moving forward. 

To deliver on this, merchants should look at the current structure of their customer experience across all sales channels, paying particular attention to how these channels interact. The more connected they are, the better; make it so that customers can easily get to checkout without any extra steps. 

BFCM is still a huge holiday opportunity

Despite all the uncertainty and unpredictability of the last couple of years, Black Friday weekend has yet again proven itself to be a huge opportunity for merchants around the world. This is especially highlighted by the increase in international Shopify merchants, and with how quickly the Shopify network surpassed $1 Billion in the very early hours of Black Friday when the majority of North American customers were still fast asleep. 

To make the most of BFCM in 2022, merchants should take the time in January to review all data and lessons learned over the 2021 holiday season. Look at the impact of issues such as supply chain, how you responded, the impact on sales, and what you could do to improve your response to similar issues in the future. This will strengthen your understanding of how best to handle and manage issues, as well as ensure it has as little impact on the customer experience as possible. From there, aim to start planning for BFCM 2022 in May to allow for plenty of time to assess your supply chain and conduct consumer research. This will mean your store is ready to tackle any issues head on, and your promotional campaigns give your customers exactly what they want.