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    What Happened on Cyber5 2021?

    December 24, 2021

    Christmas is almost upon us, and the holiday shopping season is coming to a close. Let’s take a look back at how a sampling of vendors performed on Amazon for the some of the most important shopping days of the season: Cyber5.

    OPS, Views, and Conversion

    After a steep rise in OPS last year vs. 2019, growth leveled off in 2021 with much more modest gains for most days around Cyber5. Yet despite largely static OPS vs. 2020, Amazon shopper behavior changed dramatically. Page views declined in 2021 vs. one year ago, while, at the same time, conversion was significantly higher than 2020 which offset the fewer views. In conclusion, shoppers were more focused in their searches this year and browsed fewer product detail pages. However, those pages they did browse were more likely to end in a purchase. Shoppers may have previously considered what they wanted to buy more heavily or perhaps had begun browsing well in advance of Cyber5 in 2021.

    These shifts tend to hold true for most individual categories as well, but a few exceptions exist. Grocery shopping on Amazon in 2021 held more closely to 2020 with similar conversion levels, views, and OPS. Patio, Lawn & Garden items, on the other hand, saw increased views for Thanksgiving and Black Friday which led to higher sales for those days.

    Figure 1: Cyber5 OPS

    Figure 2: Cyber5 Views

    Figure 3: Cyber5 Conversion

    Note: Data in these charts is collected from a sample of CIQ clients on Amazon held constant across 2019, 2020, and 2021.

    Ad Spend

    With shoppers clicking on fewer pages, it’s no wonder that advertising spend has become more important. Vendors increased their advertising spend this year heading into the prime online shopping period ahead of Cyber Monday and spend remained elevated for days afterward. Getting shoppers to see your products before the competition is important if shoppers are considering fewer items and clicking on fewer pages. There is simply less room for error as a vendor. Retail media will only be more important moving forward.

    Figure 4: Cyber5 Ad Spend

    Note: Data in these charts is collected from a sample of CIQ clients on Amazon held constant across 2019, 2020, and 2021.

    Price, Discounts, and Out of Stocks

    Vendors are not only spending more on advertising, but they may also be spending less on discounts.

    Discount levels were actually at their highest on Thanksgiving and then declined slightly but still remained elevated above baseline for the week after Cyber 5. Yet despite these discounts, overall pricing was higher for Cyber5 than it had been days before. Shoppers have become savvy to high discounts caused by high list prices and have come to trust list pricing less as a result.

    Shoppers are spreading out their purchasing over a longer period because they trust that good deals won’t be limited to the Cyber5 timeframe. By now, it’s common knowledge that total ecommerce sales in the US were lower this Cyber Monday than last year, even though overall sales for the longer holiday period continued to rise.

    Figure 5: Cyber5 Pricing and Discounts

    Out of stocks also fell for Black Friday and the days preceding Cyber Monday before spiking up the following week. Vendors and Amazon may have had time to prepare to keep key items or close alternatives in-stock on these days to take advantage of the shopping frenzy.

    Figure 6: Out of Stocks During Cyber5

    In conclusion, a few takeaways for vendors

    1. Shoppers know what they want. Shoppers are focused and keeping an eye out for discounts. They will pounce when they spot a good deal, even if it’s outside of the Cyber5 window or even if the base list price changes.
    1. Ad Spend is growing importance. Getting shoppers to see your product before the competition is everything. Shoppers will not stick around to browse a lot of options in a given session before purchasing.
    1. Amazon is armed with options. Amazon managed to stay in stock on many items throughout a crucial crunch period, even if they had to up their orders on the back end to make it happen. 

     

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