Black Friday 2021 has arrived and SaleCycle will be bringing you live hourly updates from the event as it happens. While we track millions of sessions we’ll be bringing you the most important trends and statistics throughout the day to help improve your Black Friday ecommerce strategy.
Key Black Friday 2021 Stats
|Total Online Sales Value||£36,780,425||£33,918,720|
|Total Online Traffic||12,496,935||9,975,270|
|Total Cart Abandonment Rate||12.25%||13.08%|
|Total Baskets Created||2,022,888||1,702,003|
(Black Friday Evening Commentary)
Total online sales in 2021 followed an almost identical path to that of 2020. 15:00 in both years showing a dip in volume.
We also notice that online sales in 2020 were slightly higher. For example, afternoon and evening sales volume remained higher in 2020.
Black Friday 2021 online sales peak was 11:00 where in 2020 it was 21:00. We notice that online shoppers this year have bought earlier and traditional times in the evening did not show as much price action.
Total cart abandonment trends in 2021 followed a very similar structure to 2020. The main differences came at 12:00 and 15:00. We can see via the charts that while abandonment rate increased on these timeframes in 2021 they had decreased in 2020.
The chart below shows overall sessions on Black Friday 2021, as well as a 2020 comparison. While 2020 shows more volatile online sessions, 2021 traffic stayed a lot more steady.
In 2020 we can see 3 main spikes in traffic: 12:00, 18:00 and 21:00. Whereas in 2021 sessions remained steady from 10:00 through to 21:00 without any real activity. We can also notes there was much more traffic on 2020.
Smart speakers have been a very popular product for Black Friday 2021. Smart speakers, laptops and the majority of their online sales came at 21:00. This correlates with our previous data, which highlighted 20:00 and 21:00 being the most popular buying time on Black Friday 2021.
2020 and 2021 both saw a similar online buying pattern. However, this year we can see a major spike at 16:00. The increase in online sales here was double that of the previous hour. This was a key moment in the day for the travel sector.
The travel sector is the only sector that has seen growth this year. We can see via the chart that online traffic was significantly higher than in 2020. Online customers stuck around for the majority of the day and were consistent as there was no major spikes.
Online sales in the fashion sector shows an almost identical online sales pattern. Sales build from 15:00 onwards towards the peak at 21:00.
Online traffic in the fashion sector spiked at 20:00 in 2021 . The trend in 2021 shows stead growth throughout the day with no major changes in the trend. However, in 2020 there were three key increases in volume: 12:00, 18:00 and 21:00. We can also see there was much more online traffic on Black Friday 2020 than in 2021.
While online traffic spiked at 11:00 in 2021 so did online sales and by a significant amount. From the 11:00 peak online sales slowly declined throughout the day. The this trend occurred in 2020 and 2021, however 2020 did see more online sales in the retail sector.
The retail sector saw a Black Friday spike at 11:00, whereas in 2020 there was a clear online traffic spike in the evening at 20:00. The story of Black Friday 2021 in the retail sector is that customers browsed in the morning more than they did in the evening, which is the opposite trend from last year.
Tech products saw a surge in online sales at noon. However, as we look at the charts we see only laptop and Xbox buying continued to grow while other products didn’t maintain their upwards trend.
A reversal trend has occurred. Online sales has grown from the previous hour and broken the downwards trend. from here on we expect to see hourly increases in sales value and traffic.
The majority of Black Friday 2021 has seen a lower online sales value than 2020. However, the gap is starting to close. This time last year there was a significant drop on volume from 14:00 to 15:00, however this has not been the case today. Black Friday 2021 closing in.
This year did not see a lunchtime peak in online traffic like 2020. Instead there has been much less traffic volatility.
Overall cart abandonment rate for Black Friday 2021 remains steady around 12%. Abandonments are still slightly higher than 2020 and this is with less online traffic suggesting online customers are thinking more about their purchases this year. Recent economic status could be affecting decision making.
Between the three main sectors fashion is leading the online sales performance metrics. But the overall buying behaviour between the three sectors shows a very similar trend.
From 11:00 onwards buying has flattened out after a steep climb towards the daily peak so far at 10:00 for fashion and 11:00 for retail and noon for travel.
Cart abandonments in retail are starting to increase whereas abandonments in fashion are starting decrease. The overall outlook for abandonments is in line with low baskets created. Although online traffic in the travel sector is outperforming last year, online conversions remain lower than fashion and retail.
The charts have shown online traffic is in a steady phase at the moment. The break of trend will likely come at the end of the working day but for now it’s steady.
We can also see online traffic within the fashion industry is far greater than other sectors. At this moment Black Friday belongs to consumer fashion.
Looking at the retail sector, we have seen a much slower morning when it comes to online traffic growth. 2020 is still leading the overall online sessions count so far.
Online sales value (£) in the retail sector spiked at 11:00 in 2020 and 2021. As we can see via the charts, there has been a decline since.
The travel sector is seeing a healthy resurgence in online traffic compared to 2020. In fact 2021 is wildy outperforming 2020 for the majority of the day.
With increased online traffic and browsing within the travel industry we can see this is also having an impact on sales. Online shoppers are purchasing travel goods. Although we can see both trend lines meet at 13:00 so it’s going to be interesting to see which way this one goes.
11:00 – 12:00 has seen an influx in tech and electronics buying. Smart speakers leading the way but laptop buying volume has significantly increased. We’ve also seen Nintendo Switch buying increase by over double in buying volume.
In 2020 there was a significant trend reversal going into lunchtime. Online traffic spiked. However in 2021 the opposite has played out with online traffic remaining the same going into lunchtime.
As we can see online sales value has dropped off slightly. If history is to repeat itself we should now see a steady decline in online sales through the afternoon from 13:00 until 17:00 were online sales really picks up and peaks traditionally around 21:00.
However we already know this year is different. Online sales value has dipped in 2021 but with customers coming to purchase a bit later this year, could we see an increase in sales later, meaning the overall buying volume could peak later?
As the day unfolds hour by hour there are more baskets created but with that comes more abandonments. The total abandonment rate is currently 12.34%.
Although the online traffic chart patterns between 2020 and 2021 look similar we are seeing some very different results. Firstly, as we move into the lunch break period in 2021 we have seen a drop in traffic whereas this time last year we saw an increase in traffic.
It’s also interesting to note that the online traffic trend that is playing out in 2021 is following that of 2020 but it’s still at a much lower volume. This is somewhat surprising given that more businesses are online due to the recent pandemic and more customers are online due to working from home changes and improved mobile phone browsing.
11:00 has reached a daily high in online sales value. In 2020, 10:00 had higher sales value than 11:00, suggesting shoppers are taking a little more time to browse this year. Overall sales value for Black Friday 2021 is slightly lower than 2020, however, with slightly later purchasing could mean 2021 sales value could flip 2020 later in the day.
Cart abandonment rates have fallen dramatically throughout the morning. However, abandonments are starting to level out around 12%, which was also the case last year. The abandonment percentage hit it’s lowest at 12 noon in 2020, so let’s see if the trend is mirrored.
Black Friday 2021 tech product sales are being led by smart speakers and TVs. With 9:00 being the peak time of the morning so far for buying. In 2020 the Nintendo Switch was one of the main products being purchased. This year it has started off slow but there’s still time. Tablets are also seeing a healthy amount of buying pressure.
9:00 has seen the best online sales volume, which then dropped slightly moving towards 10:00. Perhaps users starting work.
It’s time to take a look at the industry charts. We are tracking fashion, retail and travel. We can see that fashion industry traffic at 7:00 dipped whereas in 2020 the upwards trend continued. There’s less online traffic at this time compared to 2020.
Although there is a dip in traffic the online sales volume trend between 2020 and 2021 is once again almost identical.
Black Friday 2021 online traffic starting to build nicely into mid-morning and is increasing since 8:00. However, compared to 2020 sessions are lagging behind significantly.
Similar to online traffic there has been a considerable jump in online sales value, by almost 20% in 2020. The 2021 trend is following 2020 very closely but at less value. Black Friday 2021 online sales value is significantly less than 2020 yet the trend line is nearly identical.
The cart abandonment rate trend between 2020 and 2021 has now met at the same point. It’s going to be interesting to see which way the trend breaks in the next update. As the day continues abandonment rate decreases.
Online customer behaviour closely followers a traditional daily working routine, which is why the charts are showing a spike in online sessions. More online shoppers are browsing the Black Friday sales. However, online sessions at 8:00 compared to 2020 is significantly lower.
Online sales value (£) has also dipped slightly, however the macro sales total in 2021 is still higher than 2020.
The gap between cart abandonments year on year has closed slightly. There is a morning high of baskets created. With more baskets created and a slight drop in cart abandonment the trend is beginning to warm up.
Note: as customers start their days the Black Friday customer behaviour will lean towards the retailer as there’s more money and intent in the market.
Black Friday 2021 early online traffic is slightly ahead of 2020 from midnight. However, online users begins to even out from 1:00 to 7:00. The total early morning online traffic is almost identical to 2020.
Although online traffic is almost identical, online sales value is much greater than 2020. This could suggest the average order value of products purchased is higher or that online shoppers have much more intent to buy.
There have been many more digital baskets created as Black Friday 2021 kicks off mainly around midnight. However, this means the overall cart abandonment rate is slightly higher than 2020.
Note: Black Friday online sales value (£) is up by 17% compared to 2020 and online traffic is almost identical. Cart abandonment is higher than last year but this is to be expected with more digital baskets being created by shoppers.
Black Friday 2020 has arrived and we’re excited to be able to bring you live updates throughout the day.
(9.00 am UK) To kick us off today we’ve seen more sales volume activity in 2020 vs. 2019 from 1am until 4am. However, since 6am sales have dropped slightly versus 2019.
(11.00 am UK) After being initially overtaken at 6 am, traffic sessions for 2020 have now retaken a lead at 9 am versus 2020. This is broadly in line with UK Abandoned baskets.
Will abandoned baskets increase throughout the day? So far they are up in comparison to 2019.
(11.45 am UK) Average Order Value (AOV) is an important metric. Getting additional revenue through up-sell can make or break a sale campaign. During Black Friday Sales this metric can sometimes be skewed due to large discounts. So far this year the average basket value is £121, £6 more than the average basket in 2019. It would appear people are cautiously starting to buy more.
(1pm UK) Sessions stats in the UK are now pulling ahead of 2019. This is starting to correlate with sales figures.
(1.25 pm UK) Looking at the current data for sessions, shopping cart abandonment and sales for Black Friday 2020 in the UK so far, we can see a high volume of traffic and a slight lift in sales and abandoned baskets. This could be linked to people researching items in the build-up to lunchtime (historically a period of high online sales volume). The lift in abandoned baskets is a direct result of the higher traffic. More traffic, more abandonments.
(2 pm UK) The travel industry has been harder than many throughout the COVID19 pandemic. The government in the UK have released a tiered plan as we emerge from lockdown. This recent update could have potentially aligned with travel agents, hotels and airlines trying to build back their industry. We’re seeing early signs from basket abandonments today that suggest people are still looking and putting holidays, bookings and trips in their baskets. Is this the first sign of a recovery for the travel industry?
(2.30 pm UK) It wouldn’t be Black Friday at SaleCycle without some product stats. We’ve seen a lift in sales of some key items that will get anyone ready for the winter holidays. Despite a spike of gown sales in May 2020, the Black Friday sales have delivered a yearly high.
Slippers have seen steady sales volumes all year, but the cold weather has seen uplift culminating in a Black Friday spike.
I’d suggest these trends are a combination of people preparing for more work from home scenarios and early Christmas present purchases.
(3.30 pm UK) As expected, Black Friday 2020 sale volumes in the UK have started to trend above 2019. This is a shift in buyer behaviour form 2019, where an early morning sales rush can be seen, curving off before lunchtime. This year the sales volumes have continued to grow after the morning rush. This is likely due to the increased number of shoppers working from home and having additional time to make purchases around their work.
(4 pm UK) Sales volume is up, as you can see from the previous graphs for Black Friday 2020. What impact is this having on the overall value of all transactions?
This metric can be heavily influenced by a number of factors including level of discount, items per transaction and ultimately product type purchased.
It’s clear that the increase in sales volume for Black Friday 2020 didn’t correlate with value after 12 pm. This suggests lower sales revenues being taken despite higher sale volumes. The lunchtime sale rush appears to have yielded lower priced items. Stocking filler shopping perhaps?
(4.30 pm UK) We’ve covered the state of the travel industry, which accounts for a large proportion of our household disposable income spend per year. So what is powering the increased sales and traffic numbers in 2020?
It’s looking like fashion is one of the main driving forces behind this additional traffic.
(7 pm UK) As we move into the evening of Black Friday in the UK it’s clear that the necessary movement of businesses to be more focused on e-commerce has yielded online growth in 2020.
The true impact on the future of the high street won’t be known for some time to come, but fashion ecommerce retail trends is a shining example of how retailers have adapted. It’s been great to see new styles of data capture and cross-sell and upsell across all industries. We’ll be sure to compile some of our favourite examples in our upcoming Look Book series coming soon.
(8 pm UK) Before signing off for the evening, we wanted to share some encouraging insights from the end of the day in the UK. Traffic uplift looked to be decreasing by 3 pm, but a sharp upturn was noticed at the 4 pm mark and has increased ever since. This suggests that the Black Friday shoppers are planning on purchasing into the evening. It is clear to see the growth curve of 2020 versus 2019, hopefully these incredible figures continue into the night.
Alongside this incredible traffic growth, we’ve tracked a comparative lift in basket abandonments. Companies facing this issue should ensure they have an appropriate retargeting strategy in place. SaleCycle are experts at recovering abandoned sales and improving conversion rate optimisation. If you’d like to find out more, request a demo and we’ll do the rest.
One of the most important metrics from Black Friday 2020 is the sales volume. It’s great to see that the increase in traffic has led to a similar increase in sales. It’s important to track online traffic and sales patterns because the busiest retail months online, such as Black Friday presents a huge opportunity online sales and micro conversions. The growth from 4 pm in the UK has continued on an upward trend until a slight level-off at 6 pm. We’ll be exploring the full impact of this into next week and benchmark Black Friday 2020. We’ll also be taking some time to examine what this means for the Chrismas sale period.
Thanks for taking the time to read our live updates, have a great weekend.
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Brad Ward is the SEO & Content Manager at SaleCycle. Brad is a former magazine journalist with over 8 years experience in digital, including SEO, social media and copywriting. Brad has written thousands of articles for a range of different sectors including online gambling, travel, education, sports and ecommerce.