The 2018 Holiday shopping season officially launched over Thanksgiving weekend, with its usual spectacle. That particular weekend has always been a peak buying period, but online shopping has both intensified the activity and simplified the process. Still, there was surprisingly heavy traffic at traditional brick and mortar locations, especially for retailers who’ve more effectively integrated online with in-store shopping, to reduce “friction” typically encountered with the latter. Retailers are thrilled that sales for both Black Friday and Cyber Monday have registered robust year-over-year increases. And they’re also thrilled because this year’s Holiday calendar generously affords five full shopping weekends between Thanksgiving and Christmas. Such is not always the case.
In our recent look at this year’s early email run-up to Black Friday/Cyber Monday, covering the first two weeks in November, we noted heavy overall email activity among the thirteen major retail brands we analyzed, but also that emails specifically referencing Black Friday comprised a surprisingly small percentage of that total: 0.3% – 0.4% of total period campaigns for most brands.
We knew that pattern would change as Thanksgiving approached, and change it did.
Our updated view in this current Blogpost includes the same thirteen brands, and covers the period between November 15th November 26th, the latter date being Cyber Monday. Key activity and performance data appear in the table below. Highlights:
- Overall e-mailing activity by these continued heavy, increasing versus last year for all brands except eBay, Kmart and JCPenney.
- Inbox performance, measured as the percentage of campaigns exceeding 90% deliverability, improved for all brands except Target and Office Depot, whose deliverability eroded; and Macy’s and Best Buy, whose deliverability performance was unchanged.
- Read rate performance, measured as the percentage of campaigns exceeding 20% read rates, improved for Dick’s Sporting Goods, Barnes & Noble, Kmart, JCPenney and Office Depot; but declined for the other brands.
- Versus the earlier run-up period, emails specifically themed to Black Friday and/or Cyber Monday increased their presence within the total flow, but still averaged only about 5% of total activity. Staples and JCPenney had the largest shares (34% and 18%, respectively); Target the smallest (2.5%). Versus last year, eight of the brands increased Black Friday/Cyber Monday–themed activity as a percentage of their period totals.
- For most of the analyzed brands, Black Friday/Cyber Monday themed emails do not drive better engagement than other emails being deployed by those brands during the period of analysis.