Black Friday in numbers by AfterPay Insights

AfterPay Insights research shows that 32 to 41% of German, Norwegian and British consumers state they will purchase on Black Friday in 2021. However, the share of consumers who intend to shop on Black Friday in the Netherlands is lower at 26%. This may be attributed to the fact that a smaller share of Dutch consumers is aware of Black Friday (and Cyber Monday) than in Germany, Norway and the United Kingdom.


Nonetheless, we can conclude that Black Friday will likely be the biggest sales event of Peak Season ’21 in all four countries in terms of purchase numbers – a similar prognosis to the one we made in 2020.

Newcomers drive Peak Season growth. Particularly Black Friday is successful in converting aware consumers to paying customers in 2021.


— AfterPay Insights, research sept 2021

The increased shopper base is a result of the increased purchase intentions of ‘newcomers’: shoppers who did not purchase during Peak 2020 but who do intend to shop during Peak 2021. The inflow of these newcomers, with Black Friday attracting most newcomers, will drive overall Peak Season growth in 2021 in all the aforementioned countries.


26% of the Dutch consumers intend to shop online during Peak ’21, +6% more than ‘20

Looking at the newcomers through a demographic lens, we see that they are younger, more likely to be female and over-represented in the pre-family and family life stages with children at home. These shoppers are evolved online shoppers: they shop online more than other consumers and conduct a larger share of their monthly spend online. Their online shopping behavior is mainly driven by the fact that online shopping is convenient. Newcomers are slightly more price sensitive: even though they would like to increase their overall online shopping, their financial situation limits them from doing so. The convenience and price-awareness aspects are likely the key drivers for these shoppers to increase online Peak Season purchases in 2021.


In the Netherlands, this Peak Season will be dominated by Black Friday as it continues its reign as the King of Sales in 2021, followed by St. Nicholas at 11% and the other events at below 10% each. One quarter of Dutch consumers (26%) state that they intend to purchase on Black Friday this year. This figure measured 21% in 2020 – Black Friday is expected grow significantly in 2021. And the same goes for the other sales event this Peak Season. In total, 40% of Dutch consumers of whom are aware of Peak Season Sales declare that they will purchase on at least one of the sales events this year – an increase of +6% compared to last year.


In terms of converting aware consumers to actual customers, Black Friday takes the lead in the Netherlands: 63% of Dutch consumers are aware of Black Friday and 40% intend to purchase. For Cyber Monday, Singles’ Day and Halloween the conversion rate is around 25%.

Holiday Shopping Peaks in The Netherlands
Holiday Shopping Peaks in The Netherlands

Overall, consumers’ awareness of the different sales events has not changed significantly compared to 2020. But the share of consumers who intend to increase purchases has increased, mainly among consumers who did not make a purchase during Peak Season last year (“newcomers”). Looking at the share of ‘newcomers’ we see that they make up 8% of Dutch Black Friday Shoppers in 2021. And 3% of St. Nicholas and Cyber Monday Shoppers are newcomers to those respective sales in 2021. These newcomers drive the overall growth of the Peak Season sale events in the Netherlands.


The share of consumers loyal to Peak Season sale.
The share of consumers loyal to Peak Season sale.

Besides newcomers, purchases during the sales events are upheld by Peak “loyalists”: 70-75% of Dutch consumers who intend to purchase at an event this year also purchased on the same event last year. For example, among the 26% of consumers who intend to purchase on Black Friday in 2021, 18% also purchased on Black Friday last year. This means that 72% of Black Friday shoppers can be defined as loyal. Loyalty is lowest among Cyber Monday Shoppers, indicating that these consumers see Cyber Monday more as a potentially interesting opportunity than that purchasing during that day is engrained in their intended shopping habits.


Media/Electronics shopper base to grow most on Black Friday and Cyber Monday, followed by Household and Home Improvement purchases

The AfterPay Insights survey results indicate that a significantly large share of consumers intends to shop Media/Electronics during Black Friday and Cyber Monday than usual - a confirmation of the product mix that we traditionally see during these sales events. While the prospect of high discounts in this category currently attracts consumers to the category and overall purchase events, this also means consumers’ expectations of these aspects for Black Friday and Cyber Monday are high.


For merchants, it is essential to tap into consumers’ high expectations of Peak Season by providing information on products and discounts early on, enabling them to lock in and secure consumers’ valuable purchase intentions.


Zooming in on Dutch Black Friday and Cyber Monday shoppers (respectively 26% and 8% of Dutch consumers), we see that Media/Electronics is expected to be the top selling category amongst these shoppers during both events: 47% of Black Friday and 54% of Cyber Monday shoppers state they will shop in this category during the respective sales events. But not only is Media/Electronics expected to attract the largest number of shoppers, we can also expect it to have the highest uplift compared to Dutch consumers’ ‘normal’ shopping behavior. Normally, around 20% of Dutch consumers shop Media/Electronics in any given month.


Besides Media/Electronics, we can also expect Household/Home Improvement purchases to experience a significant uplift; normally, around 15% of Dutch consumers shop in this category but we can expect this to increase to 35% during Black Friday and Cyber Monday.

Not only is Media/Electronics expected to attract the largest number of shoppers, we can also expect it to have the highest uplift compared to Dutch consumers’ ‘normal’ shopping behavior.

— AfterPay Insights, september 2021

Black Friday and Cyber Monday popularity by vertical.
Black Friday and Cyber Monday popularity by vertical.

Besides Media/Electronics, Fashion/Cosmetics is a top performing product category during Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Which types of Fashion do consumers plan to buy this year? Will we finally say goodbye to casual wear 24/7 as societies return to normal? 


Fashion/Cosmetics is expected to be the second most popular category during Black/Cyber Week in the Netherlands as 43% of consumers intend to shop. Although this is a large share of consumers, the uplift for -Fashion – e-commerce’s biggest online category – is significantly lower than for Media /Electronics and Household/Home Improvement.


The impact of Black/Cyber week is expected to be smallest on the Food/Health Food (normally the second largest online category in the Netherlands) and Travel/Tickets categories, with the expected share of shoppers at a similar level as normal.


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