Global Black Friday 2019 highlights

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Despite the most unpredictable Black Friday to date, Awin broke all records, tracking more than two million sales and over $220m in revenue globally. 

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Given Black Friday fell on the latest possible date in the month, there was a fear the drive to push Black Friday promotions even earlier in November could have led to consumer fatigue by the time the big day rolled around. But advertisers and publishers didn't need to worry, as their combined efforts drove commissions up by 24% across our global affiliate network.

Leading the way were the southern European nations, with Spain, Italy and France posting like-for-like commission hikes of 96%, 56% and 48% respectively.  Other markets with notable increases include the Netherlands and Belgium with a 43% spike, and, despite the relative maturity of the event in the UK, a 34% leap in earned commissions by publishers there. This was due in no small part to the emerging power of influencers as social media tracked more than one in 10 sales across the day.  Compelling health & beauty and telecom deals also drove thousands of consumers to part with their cash.

Other highlights witnessed across the network globally included:

  • 24 sales tracked per second across the 24 hours of Black Friday
  • Average basket spend of $118, a 27% increase on the monthly average of $93
  • While retail and shopping dominated (1.8m sales), telcos with its much higher commission potential proved Black Friday is not just about gifting - posting 71k sales across the day. Although much smaller in focus, the biggest YoY relative growth came from Awin’s finance clients:

Despite impressive commission growth on Black Friday, higher year-on-year hikes were seen on the days preceding the main event, signaling how many brands push their Black Friday deals earlier.

Growth exceeded 2018 numbers globally, despite warnings that many macro and economic factors may lead to dampened interest - possibly because Black Friday in 2019 was almost a week closer to Christmas and partly because many consumers were paid around Black Friday, boosting their disposable income.

Mobile came close to overtaking desktop for the first time as the largest device. Checking on Friday afternoon, it was edging desktop out, but as people turn to their traditional devices at home in the evening the balance shifted:

Yet again there were pronounced regional variations, with sales twice as likely to originate from a handset in the UK than Brazil.

As with much in affiliate marketing, due to the diversity of activity, fascinating patterns emerge when you delve deeper into the data. Nowhere is this more apparent than in publisher, affiliate and partner data.

This graph shows the sales split across the top 10 publishers globally by sales volume on Black Friday. Unsurprisingly given the nature of Black Friday, incentivized traffic in the form of vouchers, coupons and discounts emerge as the largest single publisher type at 29%. The growth over the years of influencer marketing in our channel has been well documented and this year saw that category pull in an impressive 7% of sales:

When considering which publisher type results in the highest average basket value, editorial underlines its credentials as one of the most important affiliate categories, pulling in almost $166 per sale, more than double that of social content, but potentially underlining how their strengths lie in targeting different brands and sectors. 

Will peak move closer to Christmas?

Given Black Friday has become synonymous with both gifting and buying presents for ourselves, does this year's lateness focus our minds more on what to buy our nearest and dearest? Will this alter the complexion of what we buy away from the more mundane goods and services that we've seen succeed in previous years?

What of the supposed anti-consumerist backlash as well? With some brands eschewing Black Friday and its inevitable association with heavy discounting, have our minds been sharply focused in 2019 on the environmental impact of our buying habits?

An article from The Washington Post points to a new threat for retailers: consumers 'conspicuously skipping consumption.' In the past some of the more high-profile brand boycotts were seen as the exception, but could we start to see this being a demand of increasingly socially aware consumers?

Check out our fuller digest of Black Friday and trading peak to see how these trends played out which will be published later this month, and stay tuned for our North American Cyber Weekend barmoeter to be published later this week.