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Cyber Five’s Key Takeaways and What They Mean for Retail in 2016

/ 5 min read

The holiday shopping season is still in full swing, but by most accounts we have already lived through the most high-traffic, high-purchase time of year: Cyber Five.

Cyber Five refers to the five days beginning on Thanksgiving and running through Cyber Monday. For many retailers, these are the highest revenue generating days of the year. These days are also subject to high-profile campaigns (like what we saw this year with REI’s #OptOutside initiative), potentially downed sites due to higher than expected traffic surges (Target, for instance, had some issues this year) and tons and tons of media coverage reporting the newest data-backed trends likely to guide retail strategy in 2016.

Bigcommerce in this respect is at an advantage. With tens of thousands of small and midsized retailers using our technology to sell and scale, our teams have access to trending data representative of a large portion of online traffic and transactions.

Here are the top themes for the Cyber Five week, and what they likely mean for commerce in 2016.

Mobile is Officially King of Commerce

Total gross revenue from mobile-generated orders grew 116% YoY, accounting for 25% of total gross revenue for 2015’s Cyber Five. Here is how it broke down per Cyber Five day. YoY mobile revenue grew:

  • 138% on Thanksgiving day
  • 117% on Black Friday
  • 123% on Small Business Saturday
  • 104% on Super Sunday
  • 104% on Cyber Monday

As you might expect, the number of orders generated from mobile devices also increased exponentially: 109% YoY throughout Cyber Five. Here is how it broke down per individual day. YOY mobile orders grew:

  • 131% on Thanksgiving day
  • 120% on Black Friday
  • 113% on Small Business Saturday
  • 95% on Super Sunday
  • 92% on Cyber Monday

Keep in mind that these numbers do not include tablet purchases throughout the Cyber Five days. These numbers reflect growth strictly from smartphones. The below chart represents how total gross revenue (GMV) and orders broke down across all five days, based on device type. Other in this chart accounts for in-store sales (as tracked through our POV partnership with Square) and devices falling into the three prior categories.

cyber5_stat1As shoppers become more and more accustomed to mobile commerce, and traditional barriers disappear (i.e. difficult to fill out mobile checkout pages which have now been streamlined thanks to industry innovators like Braintree), mobile will become a mainstay conversion device. Ensure your site is mobile responsive and that your checkout pages are streamlined for a mobile audience.

Bigcommerce customers in the U.S. can activate the Paypal Powered by Braintree integration on their backend to allow for a clean, easily navigable checkout page.

More than 80% of Cyber Five Revenue is Driven on Black Friday and Cyber Monday

Black Friday and Cyber Monday total gross revenue accounted for 85% of total Cyber Five revenue. Here is how total revenue per Cyber Five day faired YoY:

  • Increased 54% on Thanksgiving day
  • Increased 52% on Black Friday
  • Increased 52% on Small Business Saturday
  • Increased 41% on Super Monday
  • Increased 43% on Cyber Monday

In all, total revenue generated throughout the Cyber Five selling days increased 43% over that generated over the same time span in 2014.


Average Order Value and Total Revenue Increased in Parallel

If you looked over the chart above, you may have noticed something a bit odd: Cyber Monday’s order count increase YoY is less than any other Cyber Five day –– yet, Cyber Monday produced the highest GMV. There is one other metric to look at here to determine what was truly happening: average order value (AOV).

On Cyber Monday, when the vast majority of deals hit the internet, order numbers decreased, and in their place, AOV increased. This means that on Cyber Monday, when there are deals, shoppers purchased fewer items –– but paid more for them. In other words, big ticket items (think technology and appliances) fared best when perceivably discounted.

The discount race to the bottom has been a relatively hot topic throughout 2015, with Amazon and leading the charge. This price competitiveness often takes a cut at the margins of small and midsized business, who find their order number decreasing due to customers choosing a competitor’s lower price point. The lesson from Cyber Five, however, is this: price competitively on your bigger ticket items, and make your margins back (within reason) on your smaller goods.

Customers will purchase, and even wait to purchase, discounted big ticket items. Smaller goods fare better within an in-context commerce strategy –– i.e. shoppers will buy smaller ticket items on impulse and as convenient. For those smaller goods, it makes sense to utilize a strong multichannel strategy. This will increase impulse purchases, putting your products within the customer’s buyer journey as they near checkout. For more expensive items, a strong competitive pricing strategy plays best.

Location Plays a Significant Role in Spending Habits

Online stores saw an increase in revenue from those shopping in California, Texas, New York, Florida, Illinois and Pennsylvania. Shoppers in California, for instance, were particularly willing to spend high dollar on Thanksgiving day, increasing YoY spending on the holiday 102%.

To be fair, our data does not account for population increases in various states, so we cannot definitively say that shoppers in each of these spent more than those in other regions. What this data does depict, however, is the growth of sales from particular states for online stores using Bigcommerce.

Here is how each region broke down, per total gross revenue, per day. Keep in mind that these numbers represent the areas in which shoppers checked out. This does not necessarily represent the regions which pulled in the highest GMV over Cyber Five.

Thanksgiving Day

Online stores powered by Bigcommerce saw the following increases in revenue on Thanksgiving day in 2015 versus that same day in 2014:

  • 102% increased revenue from California
  • 27% increased revenue from Texas
  • 39% increased revenue from Florida
  • 21% increased revenue from New York
  • 31% increased revenue from Pennsylvania

Black Friday

Online stores powered by Bigcommerce saw the following increases in revenue on Black Friday in 2015 versus that same day in 2014:

  • 83% increased revenue from California
  • 37% increased revenue from Texas
  • 32% increased revenue from New York
  • 42% increased revenue from Florida
  • 34% increased revenue from Illinois

Small Business Saturday

Online stores powered by Bigcommerce saw the following increases in revenue on Small Business Saturday in 2015 versus that same day in 2014:

  • 88% increased revenue from California
  • 33% increased revenue from Texas
  • 44% increased revenue from New York
  • 42% increased revenue from Florida
  • 28% increased revenue from Illinois

Super Sunday

Online stores powered by Bigcommerce saw the following increases in revenue on Super Sunday in 2015 versus that same day in 2014:

  • 45% increased revenue from California
  • 43% increased revenue from Texas
  • 38% increased revenue from New York
  • 27% increased revenue from Florida
  • 43% increased revenue from Pennsylvania

Cyber Monday

Online stores powered by Bigcommerce saw the following increases in revenue on Cyber Monday in 2015 versus that same day in 2014:

  • 41% increased revenue from California
  • 28% increased revenue from Texas
  • 37% increased revenue from New York
  • 48% increased revenue from Florida
  • 38% increased revenue from Illinois

For online store owners wanting to better target these regions, you can use Google’s Shopping Insights beta to determine high item search volume based on location. Then, craft campaigns dedicated to each region. You can use geo-targeting on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram and Google to serve relevant ads to geo-targeted audiences based on Google’s reported search volume for those areas.


In all, shoppers are continuously becoming more and more comfortable with in-context commerce. This means that customers are more willing to purchase anywhere, anytime and on any device. The only barrier to them doing so is lack of convenience, which falls back on your brand’s customer experience strategy.

Utilize as many channels as possible to ensure your products show up when and where a customer may be looking for them, including: social networks, email, marketplaces and your owned and operated site.

For stores which also have brick-and-mortar locations, take advantage of Google’s new omnichannel tools to increase both site traffic as well as physical foot traffic, especially if you are in any of the high-purchasing states: California, Texas, Florida, New York, Illinois and Pennsylvania. For stores with no physical footprint, but who still want to maximize purchases from geo-targeted customers, use Google’s Shopping Insights to educate your brand on various customer search behavior due to location and use your advertising channels to appropriately point those customers back to your site.

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Leave a Comment
  • Ty

    Great post backed by hard cold facts/stats…the move to mobile is a result of the “millennial” effect (more and more of them making online purchases, and they are the ones making mobile purchases).

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