Preparing for 2023: Reflecting on Consumer Holiday Shopping Changes

With inflation looming, many marketers were unsure how consumers would show up and spend this past Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Contrary to assumptions, shoppers were hungry. U.S. consumer spending reached a record-high $35+ billion through the entire 2022 Cyber Week – Thanksgiving to Cyber Monday. Customers weathered the squeeze from increasing prices and sought to secure the best deals and discounts, on everything from smartphones to toys.

While the prosperous spending week is behind us, brands must take into account how consumers’ buying habits have changed when finalizing their 2023 digital marketing strategy. 

Carrying Cyber Week Success into Q1

While brands began offering holiday deals as early as October, many smart shoppers waited until Cyber Week’s long-awaited deal days to purchase. In fact, many Perform[cb] clients saw remarkable success during the Cyber Week spike. 5.11 Tactical scored a 69% increase in revenue through the affiliate channel compared to the previous month, and a 250% increase compared to the previous week – their best Cyber Week to date. Ancient Nutrition also saw a 500% increase in revenue through the affiliate channel compared to 2021’s holiday, further proving that consumers came out to play.

Need more proof? Check out some notable industry-wide statistics uncovered post-Cyber Week 2022:

  • Online spending on Black Friday reached $9.12 billion – up 2.3% year over year. 
  • U.S. Cyber Monday sales reached a record-breaking $11.3 billion – 5.8% higher than Cyber Monday in 2021, and 25% more than 2022 online Black Friday sales. This makes Cyber Monday the biggest online sales day in 2022.
  • About two-thirds of Cyber Monday shoppers also made purchases on Black Friday – a significant overlap between the two holidays.  
  • Older generations are increasingly becoming more tech-savvy shoppers – 40% of consumers 55-64, and 56% 65+, did all of their Black Friday shopping online.

So, how did consumers’ shopping habits change in 2022? Let’s dive into some notable insights brands should keep in mind to remain strategic throughout 2023.

Buy Now, Pay Later (BNPL) Encourages Increased Spending

Many consumers held back until the long-awaited shopping week in Q4 to secure the best deals with brands – especially those that offered financing options such as buy now, pay later (BNPL). Given the economic pressures many shoppers face today, BNPL payment options allowed consumers to still get the premium goods they desired. On Thanksgiving Day alone, online BNPL revenue increased by almost 2% year over year with orders up by nearly 1%. Additionally, the use of BNPL by U.S. shoppers during Cyber Week saw continued growth, with 5% more orders than 2021. Although these statistics may seem small, there are roughly 360 million people worldwide using BNPL services, with that figure set to more than double in the next five years.

Many shoppers even used BNPL for lower-priced goods instead of high-ticket items, with the average order value for these purchases decreasing in the U.S. by 6% on Thanksgiving. Steeper-than-usual discounts and the option to pay later helped shoppers stretch their budgets and limit maxing out credit cards – just another reason for e-commerce marketers to test and invest in BNPL partners through 2023. At Perform[cb], many of our Agency clients continue to see major success following integrations with leading BNPL partners such as Afterpay, Sezzle, Klarna, and more. 

Mobile Takes the Holiday Cake

The days of long lines and fights over highly sought-after products may be coming to an end. Many marketers this past year noted that in-person traffic was brisk and unquestionably apparent at various stores, but didn’t come close to the types of crowds for which the holiday used to be infamous. Mobile commerce was a big hit for shoppers this time around, especially on Thanksgiving, as consumers may have taken advantage of the downtime to shop in between or during family gatherings. On Thanksgiving, mobile shopping accounted for 55% of online retail sales – an all-time high and an increase of 8.3% year over year. On Black Friday, mobile hit another record, accounting for 48% of all online sales, compared to 44% in 2021. For the first time, the majority of online sales during 2022’s five-day holiday shopping spree came from mobile devices rather than desktops — 51%, versus 46% in 2021. Although it may seem obvious, e-commerce marketers must be ready to accommodate mobile shoppers throughout 2023 and deliver a seamless user experience to capture buying power. 

The absence of such lines this Black Friday could also be attributed to consumers taking advantage of an increasingly popular digital promotion used by many B2C brands, “buy online, pay in-store” (BOPIS) – trending 20% higher on this past Black Friday compared to all other days. Some brands even offered online-only coupons that encouraged mobile shoppers to avoid the stores and stay home, making great deals more accessible than ever. This is further reflective of growing trust in smartphone transactions and advancements in the mobile shopping experience. 

Full-Funnel Presence Continues to Prove Value

Conversion partners, such as discount, deal, and loyalty, continue to be vital for consumer spending following the 2022 holiday shopping season. As you finish crafting your 2023 strategy, know that a well-thought-out discount campaign can be crucial in helping consumers reach the finish line. According to an NIQ survey, the leading channels in which respondents found out about Cyber Monday deals included a retailer’s website (45%), social media ads (41%), and email (38%). In 2022, more than half of Cyber Monday shoppers used five or more digital channels, indicating the majority of consumers were comparing deals and weighing their options before converting. 

Struggling to recruit high-quality conversion partners, or looking to expand into new distribution channels? Perform[cb]’s team of experts can strategize with our curated partner marketplace to help you build a custom affiliate strategy. Reach out now to hit your customer acquisition goals in 2023.

While discount and coupon code publishers helped deliver conversion growth, content partners equally provided immense value during Black Friday. This past year’s Black Friday saw significant success with content partners across a wide range of sectors, including editorial listicles, influencer marketing, and user-generated content. In fact, Foria proactively strategized with Perform[cb] ahead of Q4 to recruit, test, and optimize with various high-quality content partners throughout Cyber Week, resulting in a 57% increase in revenue from the affiliate channel year over year. 

Need more evidence of the benefits of awareness partners? Learn how a popular sunglasses brand saw a 210% increase in revenue in just one month after Perform[cb]’s affiliate management agency team secured paid media placements with top-performing content publishers.

Ready to Conquer Your 2023 KPIs?

We are! Reach out to our team of outcome-based marketing experts today to learn how we can use these insights and more to scale your customer acquisition this year and beyond.

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