If you’ve been reading the blog, you’ve probably seen our most recent Cyber 5 post where we talked about expectations for 2020 based on sending and promotional activity throughout this year and last year’s Cyber 5 season. In this post, we’re going to be talking about frequency and how soon to start promotions. (Hint: now is not too early according to Target, Amazon, and Walmart.)


Frequency of ‘Cyber Monday’ and ‘Black Friday’

Our team of data experts took a look at how often ‘Black Friday’ and ‘Cyber’ were mentioned in emails across six core industry groups (Accessories, Apparel, Footwear, Home, Beauty, and Sports) throughout the 2019 holiday season– spanning from October 13, 2019, through the week ending on December 14, 2019. 

Black Friday  vs.  Cyber  Total Mentions 2019 300x80

Through this data exploration, our team found: 

  • ‘Black Friday’ was mentioned twice as often as ‘Cyber’ even though Cyber Monday brought in the highest revenue day of the Cyber 5, topping out at $9.4 billion online sales. This is likely because ‘Black Friday’ language is associated with early bird deals before the week of Cyber 5. 
  • In addition to that trend, it comes as no surprise that ‘Cyber Monday’ mentions didn’t spike until the week of Cyber 5 while ‘Black Friday’ mentions occurred throughout November — further supporting the previous point.
  • Further data shows the spike was more significant for the term ‘Black Friday’ than for ‘Cyber’. The increase was conspicuous in several industries but most notably Apparel, which enjoyed twice as many mentions of ‘Black Friday’ as ‘Cyber Monday’.

How soon is too soon?

How soon do you think ‘Black Friday’ was mentioned in 2019? July? August? (It sure feels like it!) The first mention of Black Friday last year was October 9th — still not super close to the actual holiday but close enough. This year, ‘Cyber’ deals were mentioned much sooner, with Fall Cyber events starting as early as September to leverage the interest consumers have for deals during this season. 

Based on the data from last year and the fact that the holiday is in full swing for many major retailers, mentions of this year’s highly anticipated Cyber 5 have started 3 to 4 weeks sooner than they did in 2019. 

Black Friday  vs.  Cyber  2019 Mentions Timeline 300x141

Given that the 2020 season is already underway, here’s a list of some brands that have already started using ‘Black Friday’ language this season. We’ve also started to see more gift guides. Here are a few gift guides we’ve gotten in our inbox; most were sent in the past few weeks.

Key Takeaways for your ecommerce brand

  • It’s okay to lean into the Black Friday messaging early (if you’re reading this article, it’s not too early and not too late to start incorporating Black Friday language!).
  • Keep in mind promotion fatigue — if you’re starting Black Friday deals early in November, expect those sales to eat into your typical big Black Friday sales. 
  • Log into the MailCharts app (and if you don’t have an account, create one) to keep your pulse on other brands in your industry. If they’re starting sales and mentions early it may be a good idea for you to schedule some additional promotions of your own.
  • If you’d like to go against the grain, consider giving consumers a break from Cyber 5 mentions by featuring promotions on other November holidays like Singles’ Day or Veterans Day (both November 11).


What’s Next?

We want your brand to have a successful Cyber 5 season and encourage you to sign up for a free MailCharts account to keep track of trends as well as your industry — and pivot if needed. Happy holiday planning!

Editorial photo by Bernard Hermant on Unsplash