Thanksgiving Day, Black Friday and Cyber Monday are three of the largest online shopping days of the year. What does this mean for affiliate marketers? Your site should be prepared for the rapidly approaching holiday traffic. The 2013 IBM Digital Analytics Benchmarks is a great source for researching the most recent online revenue spikes and traffic-driving trends from the 2013 holiday season. This report, along with new projections for the upcoming holiday season, should help you make informed decisions on how to maximize your revenue over these next few high-traffic days. Following are some valuable highlights from this report.
Peak Traffic Timing
Timing is of the essence—being unprepared during a peak traffic time on the biggest shopping day of the year is like winning a ticket to the Super Bowl and then leaving it within reach of your 5-month-old puppy—highly risky and potentially disastrous.
In 2013 online sales peaked at 7:25 p.m. PST on Thanksgiving Day. Peak timing will likely be similar this year. Online sales are predicted to experience an evening peak in 2014.2
Black Friday sales peaked at 9:05 a.m. PST in 20131 which may change slightly this year, perhaps during a midday peak.2
Online Sales Growth
Thanksgiving Day 2013 online sales exceeded $1 billion, growing 19.7% over 2012.1 Online sales are predicted to reach $1.35 billion on Thanksgiving Day this year.2 This would be a 27% overall increase from 2013.
Black Friday online sales are expected to reach $2.48 billion in 20142, which would be a 28% increase from 2013. Last year Black Friday saw an 18.9% increase in online sales revenue over 2012.
Cyber Monday revenue growth reached double digits in 2013—amounting to a 20.6% increase1 and marking the fifth consecutive year of double-digit growth for Cyber Monday online sales. In 2013 online sales grew 20.6%1 ; sales are predicted to reach $2.60 billion in 2014—up 15% from 2013.2 This would make Cyber Monday the largest online shopping day of the three.
Average Online Price Discount
Between Thanksgiving Day, Black Friday and Cyber Monday, Thanksgiving Day is predicted to offer the highest average discount at 24%. Black Friday follows with an estimated 23% average discount, and then Cyber Monday with an estimated 20% discount.2
Categories to Watch
Keep an eye out for categories that experienced significant spikes in recent years. Three different product categories grew exponentially both on Black Friday and on Cyber Monday in 2013:
- Health & Beauty
- Home Goods
Do your research and select campaigns that are expected to perform well. Not only are Health & Beauty, Home Goods, and Apparel recent top performers; they are also top categories in the LinkConnector network—with 11% of all active campaigns falling into the Health & Beauty category, 9% falling into the Home Goods category; and 9% falling into the Apparel & Accessories category.
Pay close attention to newly predicted category spikes. According to an Accenture holiday survey, electronics are expected to be the most popular gift this holiday season. Fifty-two percent of survey participants plan to purchase in the electronics category this holiday season. Nine percent of all active LinkConnector campaigns fall into the Electronics and Technology category.
Make a conscious effort to find parallels between the predicted trends and the resources your affiliate network offers.
Here are featured holiday promotions available within LinkConnector this Thanksgiving, Black Friday, Cyber Monday season. Find a match for your site, get links in place, and ask for help if you need it!
 IBM Digital Analytics Benchmarks  Adobe Systems Inc. 2014 Digital Index  IBISWorld  2014 Accenture Holiday Shopping Survey – U.S. Results