In order to successfully maximise revenue during the Christmas season, online marketers must prepare for the drastic fluctuations in search trends, and understand the biggest online shopping days for their campaign calendar. In the US, there are very clear trends that point towards peak online shopping days like Black Friday and Cyber Monday around Thanksgiving. However, in the UK there have been less clear winners in terms of the biggest online shopping days during the festive period.
To better understand the key dates and trends in online shopping behaviour, we examined how paid search click volumes changed throughout the 2011 festive period for our retail clients in the UK (Figure 1).
Figure 1: Key Dates Identified Using Click Volumes (2011 Christmas Season)
As you can see, Sundays, Mondays and Tuesdays in early December saw some of the highest paid search activity during the Christmas season, with the two biggest days being the first two Mondays in December (Figure 2). It is likely that online marketers will see a similar pattern emerge in 2012. To help prepare for these key dates, we have highlighted some of our key findings:
Figure 2: Top 5 Days by Paid Search Click Volume (2011 Holiday Season)
US Cyber Monday (28th November 2011) – Despite being only the seventh largest day in terms of paid search click volumes in the UK, the US version of Cyber Monday – the Monday following Thanksgiving – continues to rise to prominence in the UK. As US retailers such as Amazon, eBay and Toy ‘R’ Us roll their US Cyber Monday promotions into the UK market, there is increased confusion as to when Cyber Monday falls in the UK, or if there even is such a thing as Cyber Monday in the UK. However, all online marketers in the UK should have November 26th on their calendar as a day to watch in 2012. Many predicted it would be the biggest in the UK last year.
UK Cyber Monday (5th December 2011) – The day which has been broadly coined by the UK press as “Cyber Monday” is the first Monday in December. Our data shows that this was marginally the largest day in the UK in terms of paid search click volumes in 2011, and if I was a betting man, I’d put my money on the 3rd of December 2012 as being the biggest online shopping day for the upcoming festive season.
UK’s Almost Cyber Monday (12th December 2011) – There was only a marginal difference between December 5th and December 12th in the UK in terms of click volume in 2011. This makes it hard to declare a clear winner as Cyber Monday. In 2012, with the second Monday in December being earlier in the month than it was in 2011, we could see it being even closer in terms of click volume between the 3rd and 10th of December. Therefore, we recommend online marketers keep an eye on both dates in their campaign calendar.
It looks like it could be a close call in 2012 as to which day will be the UK’s biggest pre-Christmas online shopping day, but if I had to hang my hat on one, it would be December 3rd. If you’re an online marketer in the retail industry, and want more data and trends on what we saw in 2011 and tips on how to prepare campaigns for 2012, then check out our Online Marketers Guide for Christmas 2012. It contains addition data and trends, and 9 tips for a successful 2012 festive season.