For many, 2022 will be a year remembered as a year of profound change, encompassing a return to social normalcy along with the uncertainty of a global economy facing inflation, rising interest rates and contraction for some major national economies.
In its economic outlook report for October 2022, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) projected a slowdown of growth for this year and 2023, resulting in the weakest growth profile since 2001, excluding the financial crisis of 2008 and the worst of the pandemic in 2020. So it’s no surprise that retailers braced for the worst and hoped for the best heading into this year’s holiday shopping season.
BigCommerce merchants, however, not only weathered the macroeconomic storm but flourished this Cyber Week, with 32% YoY growth in gross merchandise value (GMV) compared to 2021.
Additionally, BigCommerce merchants experienced 100% platform uptime throughout Cyber Week for the ninth straight year, while BigCommerce support teams stood by 24/7 to assist during the busiest shopping days of the year.
With all this in mind, we’ve put together a comprehensive 2022 Cyber Week report covering the five-day period from Thanksgiving to Cyber Monday, concluding our Cyber Week series of reports.
Read on for data insights into the macro trends and consumer behavior BigCommerce has observed so far this holiday season.
BigCommerce’s holiday shopping data is based on a comparison of total platform sales that occurred September 1 through November 29, 2021 and September 1 through November 28, 2022, while Cyber Five data is based on a comparison between November 25-29, 2021 and November 24-28, 2022. It represents information from thousands of small, mid-sized and enterprise retailers selling on the BigCommerce platform. Unless otherwise noted, the data is global.
This Holiday Season Broke the Mold
One way or another, the 2022 holiday season was going to be different from the last two years. In a year that saw consumers enduring spikes in gasoline prices only for those prices to let up just before the cost of all other essentials and groceries would rise, the average consumer ran a veritable pricing gauntlet. How would they adjust their gift buying as a result?
BigCommerce CEO, Brent Bellm, expressed his optimism:
“Because the days from Thanksgiving through Cyber Monday are so crucial to retailers’ success for the year, it’s exciting to see BigCommerce merchants hit new highs with a 32% annual GMV increase, while also benefiting from our platform achieving 100% uptime for the ninth year in a row. Our platform’s openness and enterprise capabilities provide the competitive advantage merchants need to succeed around the world and across multiple sales channels.”
— Brent Bellm, chief executive officer at BigCommerce
It was the longest holiday shopping season ever.
Indeed, consumers begin their holiday shopping earlier every year, and 2022 was no exception. BigCommerce began tracking these trends in September and drew comparisons once we had a full dataset for October.
According to BigCommerce data, sales were notably up in September year-over-year (YoY) across certain major marketplaces and online retail channels. October followed suit as BigCommerce merchants saw more online orders, increased gross merchandise value (GMV) and higher average order value (AOV) compared to 2021.
Likely owing to earlier deal events like Amazon’s Prime Early Access Sale, marketplaces like Walmart, Amazon, eBay and more saw an increase in October orders YoY among BigCommerce merchants.
Here’s how Cyber Week played out.
A long holiday shopping season could’ve broken either way as far as Cyber Week performance was concerned. Were shoppers already finished with their holiday shopping back in October? Or did all of the opportunities for deals leading up to the traditional week of deals only add to the anticipation?
We now have our answer: Cyber Week grew in response to the longer holiday shopping season.
As mentioned above, from Thanksgiving to Cyber Monday, there was a marked increase of 32% in sales for BigCommerce merchants compared to Cyber Week 2021. Additionally, shoppers were more active this year with a 25% increase in total Cyber Week orders.
Looking closer at the daily shopping activity, we saw just over a 23% increase in sales on Thanksgiving YoY, a 36% increase in sales on Saturday November 26th YoY and nearly a 35% increase in sales on Sunday November 27th YoY.
Black Friday and Cyber Monday stood out once again.
As expected, the two marquee days of Cyber Week accounted for the most sales of the week for BigCommerce merchants. But how did they compare to last year and which one reigned supreme during Cyber Week 2022?
When all was said and done, there was an increase in GMV of 31% YoY for Black Friday and an increase of just over 32% YoY for Cyber Monday.
The most active part of the day on Black Friday for BigCommerce merchants was 10:00 a.m. CT while the most active stretch of Cyber Monday was 12:00 p.m CT.
Ultimately, Cyber Monday won out with the most overall sales for BigCommerce merchants.
How Shoppers Approached This Season
Two years removed from the massive growth of online shopping brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic and in a much safer situation now for in-person shopping, consumers have a wealth of options and diverging paths for how they want to go about making purchases this holiday season.
The buyers’ journey has never been more diverse. Here’s what we saw in consumer shopping behaviors and preferences.
What devices did shoppers favor?
Last year, mobile orders accounted for 42% of all Cyber Week orders. Out of that, only 1.3% of Cyber Week 2021 orders were placed using a tablet. We predicted that purchases on tablets would drop to 1% this year. That, in fact, came to pass.
The percentage of sales on mobile devices decreased slightly by 3.5% in 2022 and accounted for 38% of total orders during Cyber Week. Sales on tablets were just over 1% of the total orders pie.
Where were they shopping?
With the rise in omnichannel commerce, shoppers have more options for holiday shopping than ever. Last year, BigCommerce merchants saw significant spikes in social commerce and marketplace sales, led by Instagram and Amazon, respectively.
For Cyber Week 2022, Amazon remained the standout among marketplaces with highest GMV and most orders for BigCommerce merchants, followed in GMV by eBay and Walmart.
Across the board, social platforms had their biggest day on Black Friday, with TikTok, Instagram and Facebook all recording the most sales on the day. Surprisingly, the next biggest day for TikTok and Instagram wasn’t Cyber Monday, but instead Saturday.
Did flexible payment options make a difference?
When it came to Cyber Week that trend exploded. BNPL usage was up 25% YoY for the week and overall BNPL sales were up 33% YoY, suggesting that the consumers have grown more comfortable with deferring payments on gift purchases.
What Shoppers Wanted
With the aforementioned shifting of holiday shopping timing and financial prioritization, it’s interesting to see how those shifts affected what types of products sold the most this year. In 2021, the categories with the biggest increase of GMV were health and beauty, fashion and jewelry followed by automotive. Did anything change?
Here were the top categories by sales for Cyber Week 2022.
There was certainly a shift from last year. The category with the largest growth in GMV YoY during Cyber Week 2022 was luggage with a 74% increase. Next was fashion and apparel with a 66% increase. Rounding out the top three with a 64% increase in GMV YoY was travel.
All of this would seem to say we can expect to see some very stylish people doing some globetrotting in the near future.
2022 Cyber Week Takeaways
Cyber Week 2022 may have come and gone, but it has left a lasting impression. Here are our key takeaways from this year’s busy season to keep in mind as we head into 2023.
1. Holiday ecommerce rises in the face of economic headwinds.
Despite lukewarm expectations, U.S. Cyber Week online sales exceeded $35 billion, up 4% from last year, according to Adobe Analytics, and Salesforce reported $281 billion in global online sales, a 2% increase from 2021.
Amidst the economic uncertainty, one thing is clear: having a strong online presence is nothing short of critical in today’s commerce landscape, and retailers require a modern ecommerce platform that provides the flexibility to respond to unexpected shifts in consumer behavior.
2. Shoppers are turning to more alternative payment methods.
We all know how hectic holiday shopping can be, so offering flexibility to consumers remains the name of the game. BNPL is proving to be one solution which can help alleviate holiday headaches.
While BigCommerce merchants saw a 25% increase in BNPL usage globally compared to Cyber Week 2021, the U.S. economy at large saw a whopping 85% increase in BNPL orders over the previous week of this year with revenues up 88%.
3. More sales channels means more diversified holiday spending.
By now, retailers are aware they need to meet shoppers where they are by tapping into new channels to reach more people and drive more sales. Holiday shopping is no longer just brick-and-mortar versus online.
One-third of U.S. online retail sales are happening on third-party marketplaces, while social commerce in the U.S. has doubled since 2020 and is expected to double again by 2025 — all clear indications that shoppers want omnichannel options.
The Final Word
For more insights from BigCommerce and help getting through the rest of the holidays read our 2022 Guide to Preparing Your Ecommerce Store for Holiday Magic.
And be sure to visit our LinkedIn page to watch the recording of our Cyber Week live podcast on-demand.