DoubleClick Performics has released indexed data illustrating online buying patterns for the holiday season as a whole and for various days of the week, including Black Friday and the “Cyber Monday phenomenon” – a series of them, rather than a single Cyber Monday.
“The peaks and valleys of consumer shopping behavior during the holidays are filled with misconception among marketers and the general business community,” said Stuart Larkins, vice-president of search for DoubleClick Performics.
“It’s more than just one Monday; it’s a Cyber Monday phenomenon, and the Monday following Thanksgiving tends to pale in comparison to the others that follow,” Larkins said.
The trending data illustrates year-to-year seasonal patterns as well as intra-week patterns, each with merchandising implications for marketers, according to DoubleClick Performics:
- In 2006, for example, the third Cyber Monday was the peak day of the season, according to the data from Performics search clients.
- This year brings an early Thanksgiving, a Tuesday Christmas – and an extra Monday: With a fifth Cyber Monday in 2007, the fourth could turn out to be the peak of the season.
- Black Friday, on the other hand, does not rank in the top 10 online sales days.
The Performics data also sheds light on consumer shopping behavior within any holiday season week (see above chart): Most offline holiday shopping happens on the weekends, but not everyone buys in the stores; many go online Monday to purchase what they did not find over the weekend, price-check with competitors, and pursue deep online discounts and deals.
That behavior explains, at least in part, light online sales over the weekends and the Monday surges.
Although online sales decline each week following Monday, research and other online activity continue in preparation of weekend offline shopping, Performics said. According to a recent DoubleClick Performics, Microsoft and ROI Research survey, moms search online prior to making a purchase online or offline:
- 70% of respondents said they search before making any online purchase; 57% do so before making any offline purchase.
- 64% use search engines to find out where to purchase products offline
“Understanding how consumer holiday shopping behavior changes throughout the course of a week has major implications for marketers,” said Larkins. “At the most basic level, marketers should adjust their online marketing efforts to accommodate this behavior.”
“They should also make sure retail store managers understand this phenomenon and give them what they need to catch shoppers on their way out of the store and offer incentives to buy online Monday,” he added.
DoubleClick Performics also recommends that marketers allocate adequate search budgets to capture heavy e-commerce activity on Monday and transition throughout the week to focus on the online-to-offline connection as the weekend approaches.
Considering “Brand + Location” keywords and leveraging the geotargeting capabilities of most search engines are just two of the ways marketers can strengthen the online to offline connection in the latter half of each week throughout the holiday season, DoubleClick Performics said.