What is the “Cyber Five?” If you’re a marketer, those words likely cause anxiety because they’re the five days between Thanksgiving and Cyber Monday. 

With the Cyber Five just around the corner, this year’s holiday will be unlike any other we’ve seen before. It’s no secret that shoppers are shopping more online with the COVID-19 pandemic still wreaking havoc over much of the U.S. With that said, this trend and shift towards ecommerce is expected to continue into Q4 and the holidays

In fact, a recent Dynata study found that 62% of adult respondents said they’ll do all their holiday shopping exclusively online. If you’re in digital marketing that number probably makes you do a happy dance, but also shriek in terror at the inevitable challenges that will come over those days. 

That’s where MailCharts can help. Unless you’re a superhuman marketer, you need some help checking off everything on your holiday to-do list. Using data, we’ll share insights from recent holidays as well as tips for handling your email strategy throughout the holiday season. 

Sit back, relax, and enjoy the next few minutes of deep breathing as you read this article. You deserve it! 😉


Trends from recent holidays

Comparing last November/December to this holiday season is like comparing a car to a table — it’s just not even in the same category. Because of all the changes our economy and world have faced this past year and our previous comments, it’s worth looking at the average number of emails sent on recent holidays like July 4th and Labor Day instead:

Avg. Emails Sent   Day By Brand vs. 2019 300x110

And at the average promotion rate for these emails for July 4th and Labor Day:

Avg. Promotion Rate By Brand vs. 2019 300x110

Based on what we saw during these holiday periods, with the exception of Footwear the volume of email was relatively flat or down slightly for July 4th. Similarly, with the exception of Footwear and Sports/Athletic Gear promotion rates were also flat or down slightly for Independence Day.  By contrast, promotion rates for Labor Day were down in all these sectors except Footwear. 

These summer trends could signal that many brands are conserving their email volume and promotions in anticipation of a Cyber Five 2020 that will match Cyber Five 2019. It could also mean there is an opportunity for marketers to increase email volume and promotions as we head into Cyber Five, particularly if ecommerce ordering explodes with YoY growth as expected. 

Amazon Prime Day recap

This shopping event is probably the best indicator of what’s ahead for the coming holiday season. For the most part, we saw a slight increase in emails that mentioned Amazon Prime Day but a slight decrease in promotion rate.

Prime Day 2019 vs. Prime Day 2020 300x113

These stats suggest that brands wanting to leverage Amazon Prime Day’s popularity this year were a little less inclined to discount. (Heads up for your brand next year: Amazon has trademarked the word ‘Prime’). 

Of course, Amazon Prime Day’s appearance in October (rather than July) has opened the door to retailers starting holiday promotions early.

What does Prime mean for Cyber Five? We could see similar results: slightly more emails with slightly less discounting. Given the uncertainty, we recommend having a contingency plan to increase email volume if necessary (for example, an evening resend of a morning send to ensure you’re hitting revenue goals).


Black Friday vs. Cyber Monday 2019

I know, I know — I said comparing last holiday season to this year is a stretch, but we’re going to do it anyway. 

For Cyber Five 2019, we saw slightly more brands send and offer promotions on Cyber Monday than on Black Friday. This leaves an opportunity for brands to send more over the Cyber Five period and highlight large discounts or limited-time deals.

Black Friday vs. Cyber Monday 2019 300x117

If you are sending promotions over several days, watch out for the kind of promotion fatigue that can set in when shoppers become accustomed to seeing deals. The more you spread out your promotions over several days or weeks, the less impact you’ll see on these key Cyber Five days. With brands initiating holiday promotions even sooner (we’re looking at you, Walmart and Lowe’s), we expect deals to start at the beginning of November — expanding Cyber Five to Cyber 30.


Promotional shifts over the past 3 years

During the past 3 years we’ve seen a steady increase in sending activity and promotion rates. This shift is to be expected as more retailers go online with their Cyber Five sales and as ecommerce continues to grow. Gone are the days of enormous crowds waiting in line for doorbusters; they’re being edged out by comparable deals online. 

We predict an increase in send volume and promotional activity this year. Particularly with the current climate, consumers say they’ll do most of their shopping online and reduce their holiday travel. Consumers will also be more likely to spend if Congress and the White House approve another stimulus bill. 

With our tips outlined above and our collection of previous Black Friday and Cyber Monday emails, your 2020 Cyber Five campaigns are sure to stand out. Sign up today for a free account to see more examples.

Editorial photo by ANIRUDH on Unsplash