It’s always a struggle for global B2B marketers to label the period between US Thanksgiving and New Year’s. You don’t want to call it the “holiday season” since “holiday” means “vacation” in Europe. You don’t want to call it the “Christmas season” and risk alienating non-Christians. So that leaves “peak shopping season” as the best way to characterize what this special time of the year is really all about, right?
Labels aside, we saw massive spikes this past week leading up to Cyber Monday which produced record-breaking sales figures. However, the “season” kicked into high gear a few days earlier when social media engagement reached its peak.
Looking at the six day period starting the Wednesday before Thanksgiving, we found that Cyber Monday actually had the lowest volume of any of the individual days in terms of engagement with retailers on social. In the US, Thanksgiving Day (Thursday) drove the most engagement and in the UK, Black Friday reigned supreme.
What’s behind this trend? Perhaps people in the States are turning to social media on Thanksgiving as a diversion from spending quality time with their families. (Maybe it’s time to amplify the call-to-action for #DeviceFreeDinner? Or just serve more wine with dinner?)
And, while people may immediately engage with retailers that catch their attention, they prefer to wait until Cyber Monday when they know the products will be available online at steep discounts. Meanwhile across the pond, Brits don’t have the family affairs to escape from on Thursday so it appears Black Friday is when they turn to their devices to catch a buzz.
Regardless of the rationale for this consumer behavior, the imperative for marketers is to ensure proper attribution is given to the earlier touchpoints that led to Cyber Monday sales.
Whether we’ve peaked or not, rest assured 4C will be keeping our fingers on the pulse of the rest of the peak shopping season.
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