Last month our CX experts shared some digital best practices brands should follow to prep for a stellar holiday shopping season kickoff. Well, Black Friday weekend has come and gone, and the numbers are in. We spent this week digging up millions of visitor sessions from Black Friday and Cyber Monday* to better understand how digital shoppers went bargain-hunting this year.

Here’s what we found:

1. US consumers don’t wait til Cyber Monday to snap up a bargain.

Our data shows that the conversion rate on tech products decreased across all devices between Black Friday and Cyber Monday — dropping by 17% on desktop, and 13% on mobile. US-based consumers also spent less time browsing for tech goods on Cyber Monday than on Black Friday, and viewed fewer pages during their navigation. Mobile traffic also dips slightly after Black Friday, confirming that the feeling of urgency of the holiday shopping season kickoff winds down as the weekend progresses.

2. There were fewer visits to category pages on Cyber Monday.

US shoppers visited 5% fewer category pages on Cyber Monday and for UK shoppers, that number shrank by 27%. It appears that by the time Cyber Monday rolls in, many visitors know what they want and are keen to find the shortest path to those items.

In fact…

3. Use of the search bar increased during Black Friday.

We found that in the US, the search bar click rate increased by 31% on Black Friday on retail sites specializing in tech products. France saw a slighter 9.25% increase, and in the UK, that same figure went up 5%.

In the UK, the average search bar click rate on fashion sites increased by 10% between Black Friday and Cyber Monday, showing that consumers become even more focused on wishlist items as the weekend progresses.

But that’s not the only thing that went up.

4. There was a higher click recurrence on the add-to-cart button during Black Friday.

Click recurrence on the add-to-cart CTA for sites specializing in tech products rose by 50% for the US and 62% for the UK. Click recurrence on the add-to-cart CTA of apparel brands also experienced a slight increase of 8% in the UK and 5.85% in France.

Consumers appear to encounter friction when it comes to adding items to their cart — particularly when shopping for tech products. Whether caused by error messages or stock running low on the most popular items, these obstacles are getting in the way of shoppers’ intent to buy.

Brands that can remove these obstacles to conversion at the very end of the buyer journey will be able to capitalize on this high-converting audience. Because once an item is in that cart, it’s good news for retailers — indeed…

5. Cart abandonment rate decreased significantly during Black Friday.

The cart abandonment rate for US shoppers went down by 28.3% on Black Friday. In the UK, it shrunk by 32.1%. The same trend is observed on Cyber Monday, with cart abandonment rates reduced by 24.8% in the US and 27.6% in the UK.

Consumers who reach checkout during these special shopping events are less likely to be deterred by the ‘administrative’ footwork of completing a purchase, such as filling out payment or delivery information.

And yet many rushed shoppers will still select the guest checkout option when it comes to finalizing their purchase. Indeed:

6. Account reach decreased during Black Friday.

On Black Friday, the account reach rate decreased by 61% in the US, and by half in the UK.  

It could be that shoppers are in a rush, and see guest checkout as a shortcut, or they might be already logged in from a previous session. For those users who elect guest checkout, encouraging signup after payment is a good way to bump up account creation numbers. At this point in the journey, much of the personal information has already been harvested — all that needs filling out is the password field.

7. US shoppers spend more to save more.

The average cart for US desktop shoppers increased by 12% on Black Friday, proving consumers really did spend more to save more. UK shoppers have a more conservative approach to saving. With the average cart dropping by 21% on desktop and by 36% on mobile, savings in the UK are really about spending less than you otherwise would.

The sense of urgency brands create around the holiday shopping season kickoff is reflected in the way customers behave on their platforms. Consumers have done their research, and tend to know in advance what bargains they want to pick up. Make sure to wow customers with quick and seamless paths to checkout, and take advantage of the shopping frenzy to multiply signups.

*We analyzed more than 110 million visits and 600 million pages from global accounts over the month of November.

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