With the end of year peak season just around the corner, the next two months are the most important for Australian retailers. Anet Arakeli of Similarweb explores.
The first major sales event of the season, Black Friday, falls on 25 November this year. While this event has its roots in the brick-and-mortar world of Thanksgiving weekend in the US, today it is a major traffic driver to Australian eCommerce stores.
Understanding web traffic trends behind events like these can help retailers make strategic digital marketing decisions to make the most out of days like Black Friday, Cyber Monday, or the Australian favourite, Boxing Day.
Traffic data can provide powerful insights to help understand when, where, and how consumers are searching for the best online deals – as well as what products they’re looking for. In this article, we’ll unpack the trends behind when people start searching for deals online.
One important traffic trend to understand is how many more shoppers are browsing online than just a few years ago.
Although there’s a decline in traffic numbers between 2020 and 2021, when compared to 2019 there were significantly more shoppers online last year.
So what happened between 2019 and 2021?
COVID. Back in 2020, most of us were living in lockdown. Unable to leave the house and stuck indoors, digital was for many the only way to purchase anything – this was a massive accelerator for eCommerce and it brought a lot more people online.
This is why in 2020 we see the highest traffic numbers of the past three years.
But that year is an outlier. What’s important here for online retailers, is how many of these additional shoppers continued shopping online after lockdowns were eased.
And here we can see there were millions more Australians visiting eCommerce sites during last year’s major sales events.
When we compare last year’s traffic to 2019, when things were much more normal, there’s significant increases during all three events: 17 percent more shoppers during Black Friday, close to 20 percent more for Cyber Monday, and an incredible 23 percent more for Boxing Day.
While these numbers sound impressive, when we map out eCommerce traffic over the year, we can see just how many more shoppers are showing up for these sales than on an average day.
Australian eCommerce traffic is here in blue. The two large recurring spikes in traffic are Black Friday and Boxing Day. This helps to visualise the massive opportunity these two events present to online retailers.
When we compare the Australian traffic trends to the average of the major European markets (in orange) there’s two key insights to note.
The first is that Boxing Day is unique to us.
Because the Europeans don’t have the event, their online traffic drops to its lowest level of the year on 26 December. Ours, on the other hand, peaks to one of the highest so it’s critical to take advantage of the increased shopping behaviour. Don’t take Boxing Day for granted.
The second is that the post-COVID increase in traffic is longer-lived here in Australia. Whereas European traffic snapped back almost immediately to pre-COVID levels, our traffic numbers have stayed consistently, and considerably, higher than they were in 2019.
While those are differences between our two markets, Europe and Australia share one very important traffic trend when it comes to Black Friday.
When we measured the traffic to Australian and European eCommerce sites in November, we found that increased traffic volumes weren’t isolated to just Black Friday itself.
The Black Friday peak
Here we’ve mapped out the share of days in November where traffic was at least 80 percent of the Black Friday peak – and this figure has been increasing every year for the past three years.
For Australia last year, a third of the days in November had significantly increased traffic numbers. This presents online retailers with a much longer sales cycle that isn’t strictly tied to the Friday itself.
This means consumers are starting their sales shopping earlier, so it’s important for retailers to start Black Friday communications and marketing strategies earlier to attract these additional shoppers. The early bird gets the worm, as they say… but how much earlier?
We see the acceleration really kicks into gear five days before Black Friday itself. This trend has been increasing every year, and we expect even greater numbers of shoppers to visit eCommerce sites in the week before Black Friday this year as well.
Harnessing this interest in the days leading up to Black Friday can have an outsized impact on performance. By investing in multichannel content and maximising visibility of your sale in the days leading up to the peak you can build greater demand.
When planning your communications, keep in mind there’s an initial burst of consumer interest about 15 days before the event which then really ramps up during the week of Black Friday.
One final insight to note is that last year we saw a significant traffic increase during Cyber Monday, so don’t forget Black Friday’s little cousin when crafting your content.