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What we Learned from Cyber Week 2016: Facts and Figures

By Reading Time: 4 minutes

`Tis the season to go a little nuts: we’ve managed to plow through Cyber Week, the ecommerce highlight of the season, and now we’re in the midst of the the countdown to, probably, the most anticipated holidays of the year. The time left until this weekend can be neatly put into hours, which tells us there’s just enough time to go hunting for that last-minute gift or work on the menu for the big family dinner.

We already gave you a look at what some of world’s most experienced retailers had done for their Black Friday-Cyber Monday ecommerce marketing campaigns, but now it’s time to go a little deeper, look at some more figures, and draw some conclusions from this year’s Cyber Week experience.

Cyber Season


It seems that year after year people are eager to discuss the possible disintegration of the whole concept of Black Friday-Cyber Monday. In a way, it’s already in motion, because we’re actually witnessing the two days expand into an entire week of feverish shopping. For a few years now, more and more retailers are confectioning Cyber Week campaigns, attracting the attention of bargain-mongering shoppers well before the crucial post-Thanksgiving date.

You may have noticed that holiday deals start springing up shortly after Halloween and last well into the new year, with consumers being offered a number of perks to make the online shopping experience as pleasant as possible, such as free shipping, discounts, coupons and more.

Even if the limits of Black Friday-Cyber Monday have been pushed back, without setting any definite calendarial borders, these two reference points of the holiday shopping extravaganza are part of a shopping season of serious magnitude. These sales events may come and go, but something tells us that the deals are going to stay.

(By the way, if you’re interested to learn how Black Friday and Cyber Monday came into being, check out this brief yet lovely description about the two in our holiday season overview from last year.)

Shopping tendencies

According to a National Retail Federation (NRF) survey, more than 154 million people in the US went shopping during this year’s Thanksgiving weekend. Although plenty of people did both, it’s estimated that nearly 100 million shoppers made purchases in brick-and-mortar stores, while 108 million did their shopping on the internet. 

The survey reveals that Millennials are more partial to Cyber Week shopping, and they were more likely to shop for themselves and do more of their shopping via ecommerce. The big spenders during this shopping frenzy were older adults (aged 35-54), spending an average of $356 per person. But the online-savvy Millennials are not far behind, with an estimated $338 per person.

In store vs. online

As tempting it may be to do all of your holiday shopping from your couch, people have their reasons for making their purchases offline. Half of all in store shoppers polled by the NRF said they went out because “the deals were too good to pass up”, one third of offline shoppers went on the annual shopping spree owing to “tradition”, and for one quarter of the people surveyed, the sales gave them “something to do” during the holidays.

Unfortunately nostalgia and boredom aren’t good enough reasons to break in-store sales records anymore. Last year, brick-and-mortar Black Friday sales saw a decline of $1 billion, and this season the demise continues with another 5% drop.

But what’s bad for physical stores is excellent news for ecommerce:

  • In comparison to the rest of the weekend, the online shopping done on Thanksgiving was moderate, adding up to $1.93 billion
  • The online sales on Black Friday soared to $3.34 billion, going slightly beyond the expected $3.05 billion.
  • As for Cyber Monday, the proverbial jelly to the equally proverbial peanut butter that is Black Friday, Adobe reported that this year shoppers spent an impressive $3.45 billion on online purchases.

But yet another impressive thing to consider in the aftermath of this year’s Cyber Week is the growing role of mobile and mcommerce. Black Friday 2016 was the first single day in history with mobile sales going beyond the billion-dollar mark – nearly one third of revenue came from mobile, adding up to $1.2 billion in sales. 

A Printful point of view and conclusions

So how did the stores over at Printful do this year? Rather well, we’d say:


As the list of Printful clients grows longer, annual Black Friday-Cyber Monday sales reach new heights. The green bars in the above chart, representing 2016 sales, speak for themselves – since last year, the total earnings during Black Friday-Cyber Monday have nearly tripled.

We can also see that the revenue from Black Friday was similar to that of Cyber Monday, the latter beating its predecessor only by a small margin. Yes, the limits of Black Friday-Cyber Monday are becoming more and more fluid, yet for Printful and for other retailers, these two dates still stand out.

So here’s how to make the most of Cyber Week for your online business:

  • Build your audience and attract visitors to your ecommerce site well in advance. You must work hard all year to reap the benefits of Cyber Week. Invite visitors to sign up to your newsletter or blog, have them participate in competitions, giveaways and other activities on social media. Those who visit your store once must get the impression that it’s worth it to come back again and spread the word among their friends and family.
  • Figure out how to make the shopping season work for you. You can stick to Black Friday, or you can also offer Cyber Monday deals, but in that case you’ll need to work on both.
  • If you want to extend the two days into a week, that’ll involve even more prep – you’ll get sales only if your customers are informed about your deals and satisfied with them.
  • Assuming that mobile sales won’t be slowing down anytime soon, having your site available for shopping on the go is an absolute must. Just make sure it’s mobile-friendly – every year brings new technological improvements, so you don’t want people leaving your site because it’s a nightmare to navigate on mobile devices.

And if you haven’t already, take a look at our “Best of” Cyber Week 2016 blog post for some more marketing inspiration. A good build-up takes a while to create, so don’t put off your 2017 strategy brainstorm for too long.

With every blog post, we’re getting closer and closer to the new year. We’ve still got a few end-of-the-year bits and pieces for you as well a special Printful holiday surprise – don’t miss out and subscribe to our blog and follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

See you after the holidays, hope you have a joyful, magical weekend!

A language lover constantly on the hunt for all things brilliant in life, from polished writing and sparkling conversation to bright ideas and shiny things.

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