Ecommerce Research / Holiday Ideas & Strategies

2020 Cyber Week Trends Report: A Record-Setting Year for Ecommerce Holiday Sales

Beatriz Estay / 5 min read

2020 Cyber Week Trends Report: A Record-Setting Year for Ecommerce Holiday Sales

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After much anticipation, Cyber Week 2020 has come and gone and one question remains: how does the pandemic year stand up to holiday seasons of the past? 

Before we dive into the results, remember that Cyber Week consists of five key holiday shopping dates:

  • U.S. Thanksgiving Day (November 26, 2020)
  • Black Friday (November 27, 2020)
  • Small Business Saturday (November 28, 2020)
  • Super Sunday (November 29, 2020)
  • Cyber Monday (November 30, 2020)

Heading into Cyber Week 2020, we knew we were in for a holiday shopping season unlike any before. Statista Research Group projects overall 2020 ecommerce holiday sales to reach $190.47 billion USD, and eMarketer recently increased their 2020 ecommerce retail sales forecast to 30% YoY growth.

This year, BigCommerce saw 100% performance uptime, marking the seventh consecutive year of zero reported site downtime during the peak holiday period. BigCommerce CEO, Brent Bellm, shares his thoughts on our Cyber Week 2020 results:

“This year, brands and retailers needed to grow spectacularly online to make up for unprecedented challenges offline. The success that BigCommerce merchants saw during Cyber Week reflects the quality of their ecommerce websites and the ever-expanding willingness of consumers to shift their spending online. 2020 will be the biggest year of ecommerce growth in history, by far. We are proud that BigCommerce plays an essential part in helping businesses provide engaging, reliable and secure digital sales experiences.”

Methodology

BigCommerce’s Cyber Week data is based on a comparison of total platform sales that occurred between November 28-December 2, 2019 and November 26-30, 2020. It represents information from thousands of small, mid-sized and enterprise global retailers selling on the BigCommerce platform.

Without further ado, here’s our key data and insights from Cyber Week 2020.

Overall Performance

1. Ecommerce sales soared YoY.

The predictions for increased ecommerce growth rang true this year with a 74% increase in GMV year-over-year (YoY), recorded by BigCommerce. While we’ve continued to see YoY Cyber Week growth over the years, the coronavirus pandemic had a significant impact on this year’s shopping. 

In a report from SYKES, nearly 44% of consumers stated they won’t feel comfortable shopping in person until they feel the pandemic is under control in the country or their area. Plus, another 25% say they won’t be shopping in person until a vaccine is available. Ecommerce quickly became essential for many consumers around the world.

2020 AOV YoO

Despite the fiscal challenges consumers faced with the pandemic, average order value also jumped significantly, averaging $144 across the five key shopping dates — a 17% increase to the year prior.

Average order value (AOV) peaked at $164 on Cyber Monday and overall Cyber Week orders increased by 48% YoY.

2. Cyber Monday leads in GMV and AOV, while Black Friday continues to lead in orders.

The fifth and final day of Cyber Week takes the crown in total GMV (+64% YoY) and average order value — coming in at a whopping $164 USD this year, compared to $136 in 2019 — and Black Friday holds order share (+45% YoY), but that alone doesn’t convey the entire story. Many of the changing consumer behaviors we saw leading up to the holiday shopping week played into the results.

With global lockdowns in place due to the coronavirus pandemic, holiday gatherings and in-store shopping were limited, and consumers were prepared to tackle Cyber Week 2020 digitally. This means that they also had more time to scout out deals across the five-day shopping period. As a result, less popular shopping days like Super Sunday (+86%) and Thanksgiving (+84%) experienced the most YoY growth in GMV.

In addition, consumers were looking for more than great deals this year. There was increased interest in diversifying their shopping habits by shopping small. Ahead of Cyber Week, Klarna conducted a holiday survey that found 85% of consumers wanted to shop to support the economy. In turn, Small Business Saturday captured the second most YoY growth in orders placed.

Winning Categories

1. Sporting Goods take the largest category share of Cyber Week 2020.

A big question leading up to Cyber Week 2020 was how the coronavirus pandemic would impact purchasing decisions. This year Sporting Goods purchases lead the pack and benefitted from 136% GMV growth YoY — and for good reason. With many consumers faced with lockdown measures, there are two options for exercise: engage in outdoor sports or purchase at-home gym equipment.

Other category leaders included Apparel and Accessories (+37% in GMV YoY), Automotive (+51% in GMV YoY), and Health & Beauty (+43% in GMV YoY).

2. Global pandemic continues to impact category performance.

Similar to what we saw this year with the Sporting Goods category, the global pandemic has had a ripple effect across many categories. Most importantly, this year’s Cyber Week purchases not only provide a current snapshot of consumer sentiment around the pandemic, but also how they foresee the near future. Here are two examples of this:

  • Despite being down on four of the five shopping days, the Travel category managed to pull through with the most YoY growth on Black Friday (569%), resulting in 49% YoY growth overall — a telling sign consumers are looking forward to traveling again in 2021.
  • Both Furniture and Office Supplies categories have significantly grown GMV YoY, following months of stay-at-home orders around the globe.
  • More time at home means more time with and caring for pets. The Animal and Pet Supplies category grew immensely this year on Super Sunday by 42%.

While some categories have grown during the pandemic, previously popular Cyber Week categories took a hit, like CBD which was down 28% YoY despite still growing 82% on Small Business Saturday.

Devices and Channels

1. Smartphones continue to grow in overall device share.

For the past few years, we’ve continued to see an increase in mobile commerce and this year is no exception. While desktop still holds a majority share of orders at 49%, smartphones accounted for 43%. Desktop also holds the highest AOV of all devices at $159, compared to smartphones at $121.

Notably, we also see a year-over-year decrease in tablet orders (-18.8%) and sales (-10.25%) despite average order value increasing by 10.5%, reaching $125. This is the second consecutive year of the same trends, after tablets peaked in performance during Cyber Week 2018.

With mobile commerce on the rise, we decided to take a closer look at how smartphone purchases divvy up. This year, our data shows there’s a correlation between mobile devices and overall spend — specifically, mobile shopping on iPhones account for 106% more orders than Android. Plus, orders placed on iPhones showed a stronger AOV of $124, compared to Android at $114.

2. Amazon leads omnichannel purchases; social commerce is on the rise.

Across omnichannel purchases, Amazon remains a leading Cyber Week shopping destination for consumers. According to our data, Facebook saw a 123% increase in GMV and 98% increase in orders YoY, a sign of strength for social commerce in the future ecommerce landscape.

This comes after Facebook launched more social commerce tools like Shops and Checkout on Instagram preceding the holiday shopping season. These results are a positive signal that social commerce is just beginning its rise and serves as an innovative way for consumers of all demographics to shop online.

Based on this year’s results, we also found that Apparel & Accessories and Home & Garden categories performed better on Facebook, whereas Auto, Food & Beverage, Health & Beauty, Sports & Outdoors, and Toys & Games performed better on Amazon.

Global Insights

1. The U.S. remains the leading country for Cyber Week sales.

As an American coined holiday shopping weekend, it’s no surprise that the United States takes the cake for Cyber Week 2020. In fact, it was another record-setting year of Cyber Week with 67% growth in YoY GMV.

The beauty of ecommerce is that consumers can shop with brands outside of their local town. To end the year on a happy note, every state in America grew Cyber Week sales. Here are the states that had the most Cyber Week success*:

  1. California
  2. Texas
  3. Florida
  4. New York
  5. Pennsylvania
  6. Illinois
  7. Virginia
  8. Ohio
  9. Washington
  10. New Jersey

*This represents Cyber Week sales of businesses based in these states, not where orders originated from.

2. Cyber Week continues to grow globally with Black Friday taking the lead.

Cyber Week success crossed the pond this year as the U.K. grew sales by a smashing 146% year over year — generating more sales than any other country outside of the United States. When looking at Cyber Week trends outside of the United States, we found Black Friday to be the key shopping holiday date.

With an increase in ecommerce sales during the global pandemic, we saw a boost of many countries joining the Cyber Weekend tradition. Here are the top ten countries by GMV:

  1. United States
  2. United Kingdom
  3. Australia
  4. Canada
  5. New Zealand
  6. Ireland
  7. Hong Kong
  8. China
  9. Germany
  10. Japan

Summary

With Cyber Week 2020 complete, the results are clear: even during a global pandemic, holiday ecommerce sales continue to grow. 

But the season isn’t over just yet, and we’re here to support our merchants through the remainder of the holidays and beyond. For last-minute holiday tips and tactics, be sure to check out the BigCommerce 2020 Guide to Holiday Planning.

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Beatriz Estay

Beatriz Estay

Beatriz is a Content Marketing Manager at BigCommerce and the fashion and lifestyle influencer behind The Letter Bea, an Austin, Texas based blog. She holds a B.A. in Communication and Sociology/Anthropology from Lake Forest College and specializes in ecommerce, marketing and merchandising strategies, influencer and branding work, and social media. When she's not curating content, Beatriz loves to travel the world, share her journey with Type 1 Diabetes, and find Austin's most Instagram friendly spots.

View all posts by Beatriz Estay

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