With Black Friday and Cyber Monday behind us, it’s a good time to assess how different marketing channels performed through another record-setting BFCM shopping period and what this can tell us about consumers’ shopping habits in 2024.
Looking at Omnisend’s recently released BFCM marketing report, which analyzed over 2.5 billion marketing emails, 29 million SMS, and 30 million web push messages sent by Omnisend merchants in November, five holiday shopping insights stuck out to me:
1. Companies Were Prepared for an Early Start
We anticipated an early start to the holiday shopping season — and we got it. Shoppers spent $76.8 billion online in October, up 5.9 percent year-over-year (YoY). Brands were well prepared with their marketing.
In October, brands sent 39.9 percent more emails and increased orders by 16.5 percent YoY. But while the send increase was consistent throughout the month, orders saw a heavier uptick in the second half. The week of Oct. 22 saw email orders increase by nearly 26 percent and 27.7 percent the following week.
The increase in sends and orders showed brands prepared for the extended shopping season, and they should expect this to be the norm moving forward. For better or worse, we’ve permanently gone from stand-alone days like Black Friday to a three-month shopping season.
2. Email Continues to Be a Go-To Channel for Brands
Brands increased their reliance on email marketing YoY by sending 35.3 percent more scheduled email campaigns in November and nearly 24 percent more during the Cyber 10 (the Sunday before Black Friday through Giving Tuesday).
During the Cyber 10, open rates increased by 5.4 percent and conversion rates increased to 0.09 percent, up from 0.07 percent seen January through October. This resulted in a 24.5 percent increase in email-related orders.
Consumers continue to respond to email marketing, and there are no indications this behavior will change. To get the most out of their email marketing programs in 2024, brands should maximize all aspects of their programs, from individual campaigns to automated messages.
3. Email Automation is How Brands Help Shoppers Pick Up Where They Left Off
Behavior-based messaging continues to deliver a strong return on investment for e-commerce brands as more than one-third of people who clicked on an automated email went on to make a purchase. Automated emails, like cart and browse abandonment, generated 29.3 percent of all email orders during the Cyber 10 while accounting for only 1.75 percent of email sends.
Brands should recognize that scheduled email campaigns won’t capture all potential sales and that using automated messages in the shopping journey is critical to maximizing sales through the channel.
4. Consumers Want SMS From Brands, Especially on Black Friday and Cyber Monday
During the Cyber 10, merchants sent 41.2 percent more SMS, generating a click rate of 5.58 percent, a conversion rate of 0.17 percent, and 12.3 percent more orders than in 2022. However, the tentpole days are where SMS shined the most.
On Cyber Monday, SMS sends increased 308.9 percent and generated 221.9 percent more orders YoY. Black Friday accounted for 26.3 percent of all SMS sales during the Cyber 10.
Like email, automated messages outperformed scheduled ones. Automated sends during the Cyber 10 increased by 199 percent and converted 91.7 percent better than scheduled text messages. Sitting on the SMS sidelines is no longer optional.
5. Plan to Experiment With Push Messages in 2024
Merchants sent 12.7 million re-scheduled push messages and 151 percent more automated push messages during the Cyber 10, resulting in a more than 60 percent increase in orders.
Again, automation outperformed scheduled campaigns during the Cyber 10. Automated messages converted 871 percent better than scheduled campaigns, generating 18.8 percent of push message orders from only 2.3 percent of sends.
Push messages may be a newer channel for brands, but seeing the number of sends in the tens of millions and having the ability to combine them with email and SMS automation workflows, it would be wise for brands to explore this channel as a revenue stream in 2024.
Consumers spent $109.3 billion online in the first 27 days of November, again setting a record. Email and SMS played a major role in capturing these sales. As online sales increased, so did sends and orders from first-party marketing channels like email, SMS and push messages.
These channels may not capture as many headlines as the cool new social media site, but they're essential for growing sales. Consumers continue to rely on email and SMS for product discovery and to guide their shopping journeys, and emerging channels like push messages are providing new avenues for sales growth.
The answer for businesses looking to increase their sales in 2024 is no secret. They just need to look at the first-party channels consumers continue to rely on and refine their strategy for each channel.
Greg Zakowicz is a veteran marketer and the senior e-commerce expert at Omnisend, the all-in-one e-commerce marketing automation platform.
Greg Zakowicz is a veteran marketer and the Director of Content at Omnisend. With 15-plus years of experience in email, mobile, and social media marketing, he’s helped over 100 DTC companies around the world, including numerous from the Internet Retailer Top 1000, maximize sales through their email marketing programs. Zakowicz is a frequent speaker at ecommerce events, often shares his ecommerce insights across various industry media outlets, has been retained as an ecommerce expert witness for trial, and is the host of Omnisend’s Cart Insiders Podcast.