4 Cyber Week Trends That Will Influence Consumer’s Choices This Holiday Season

Both digital and retail saw a boost in sales

Cyber Week and Black Friday continued to bring increased sales to retailers. Getty Images

As predicted, Cyber Week 2018 delivered good news for retailers. The period between Thanksgiving and Cyber Monday brought increased sales across the industry, fueling a promising start to holiday shopping.

What’s behind this sales boost? We saw four trends playing a big role.

Promotions are getting longer

One-day doorbuster sales are out; multi-day shopping is in. Consumers used to be all about Black Friday-only offers, then Cyber Monday brought another day of deals. Now retailers are extending their offers beyond a single day.

It may seem like online shopping gets all the buzz and publicity, but consumers are willing to shop across any channel to satisfy their needs and get the best deals.

The annual shopping event is coming to encompass the two-week period before Thanksgiving and after Cyber Monday. Cyber Week data from over 70,000 brands found that retailers released Black Friday deals 6.2 days earlier in 2018 than they did in 2017, likely to take advantage of consumer appetite to browse the deals before they buy and encourage repeat visits.

For example, Apple, a traditionally nonpromotional retailer, shifted its strategy from a one-day deal in 2017 to an event lasting Black Friday through Cyber Monday in 2018. Apple’s shift is in line with shoppers’ growing desire to browse throughout Cyber Weekend and buy at their convenience.

Cause shopping strikes a chord

Shoppers love discounts, but they also value giving back. Old Navy added an extra twist to its traditional Black Friday sale with the “One Dolla Holla” sale, which offered shoppers a pair of the chain’s well-known cozy socks for just a buck. And for every pair sold, Old Navy donated $1 to the Boys & Girls Clubs of America (up to $1 million).

Promotions like Old Navy’s are likely to become more common as retailers align their business needs with the needs of the cultural consumer in 2019. Retailers will court consumers with products and causes close to their hearts in order to make spending more meaningful.

Shoppers love any channel shopping

It may seem like online shopping gets all the buzz and publicity, but consumers are willing to shop across any channel to satisfy their needs and get the best deals. Cyber Week saw an increase in shoppers hitting both online and brick-and-mortar stores this year. While omnichannel isn’t a new trend, the speed at which shoppers move between any and all channels can be a challenge for some.

To woo shoppers, retailers are getting creative with omnichannel offerings. Buy online and pick up in store is a great tactic to encourage both online and in-store visits and help increase average order value. Retailers that make it easy for their audience to visit them both online and in physical locations have set themselves up for success: Multichannel shoppers spent an average of $93 more than shoppers who bought via only one channel during Cyber Week.

Traditional retailers thrive by innovating

Traditional retailers have cause for cheer, too, this year. Several big names were able to innovate successfully and respond to the rapidly changing retail landscape with their online and in-store experiences. And consumers responded.

After Toys “R” Us closed its U.S. stores in 2018, retailers like Target went all-out to step into the gap. Hundreds of Target stores got extra space for toys, creating a permanent addition. Additionally, traditional retail stores have been increasingly focused on giving consumers the memorable experiences they crave during the holidays. Meaningful and standout in-store experiences can turn holiday traffic and mall crowds into an event that many look forward to this time of year. Walmart has also gained more of the toy market by improving selection and launching the Walmart Toy Lab, an interactive experience on the web for those who prefer to shop from their favorite device.

The impact of these Cyber Week trends will be felt during the rest of the holiday 2018 season, which is looking well on track to meet or beat expectations. But brands that remain stagnant, especially during the busy holiday season, may be left behind in 2019. And while it may make for interesting headlines, retail isn’t dying. Different? Yes. Dying? Not a chance.

Marissa Tarleton is CEO of RetailMeNot.