Cyber 10: The Holiday Shopping Sprint You REALLY Need to Prepare For

Cyber 10: The Holiday Shopping Sprint You REALLY Need to Prepare For

By Greg Zakowicz, commerce marketing analyst at Grow Wire
4-minute read

In short:

  • Marketers need to look beyond the Cyber Five -- a historically high time for holiday online sales -- and instead prepare for the 10-day period that stretches from the Sunday before Black Friday through the Tuesday following Cyber Monday.
  • The shopping days around Thanksgiving continue to grow in year-over-year revenue from online sales, some by as much as $1 billion.
  • Retail marketers would be wise to focus on the Cyber 10 when preparing holiday email, paid search and social media campaigns.

The holiday season is upon us, and, once again, it’s expected to set online sales records to the tune of $142 billion, according to eMarketer estimates. As online sales rapidly increase year-over-year, trends evolve and retailers adapt.

Take Gray November for example. Over the past couple of years, we have seen those signature stand-alone online shopping days like Black Friday and Cyber Monday morph into a month-long series of discounts leading up to those days.

And now, within Gray November comes another consumer shopping evolution that will become a holiday season norm — the Cyber 10.

Yes, 10.

Stretching the limits of the Cyber Five

Most digital marketers have heard of the Cyber Five, the five shopping days from Thanksgiving Day through Cyber Monday. These five days happen to be the top five online sales days for the entire holiday season, accounting for 19% of all online holiday sales.

👉 Year after year, Cyber Monday sets the mark for the largest online sales day in U.S. history, but sales don’t just end when the clock strikes midnight.

Last year, the day after Cyber Monday was the sixth busiest shopping day of the season. This day generated nearly $3 billion in online sales, only slightly short of the fifth-busiest day of the season.

This sixth day of this span matters. Whether your marketing focus is on email, paid search or social media, you need to plan for this day.

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The holiday shopping season you really need to plan for

And the front end of the Cyber Five — the day before Thanksgiving Day — continues to increase in online sales relevance. This day last year saw year-over-year growth of 32%, which accounted for $1 billion in incremental sales. That is nothing to throw eggnog at, and you should consider this a major holiday shopping day.

For the past couple of years, some retailers have promoted weeklong Black Friday sales, and last year, many more jumped on the bandwagon and started their sales the Sunday before. It’s probably not a coincidence that this Sunday was another day with a year-over-year increase of $1 billion in incremental sales. Consumers were not only open to receiving early offers but willing to shop them.

This 10-day period, starting the Sunday before Black Friday and continuing through the Tuesday after Cyber Monday, will be critical for retailers’ seasonal online sales this year.

Cyber Monday is still king.

Even when planning for the Cyber 10, keep in mind that Cyber Monday is still the preeminent shopping day of the year, registering nearly $8 billion in online sales in 2018. With the number of sales up for grabs on this day alone, you’ll want to make sure your marketing plan encompasses the entire day. 

👉 Last year, more than $500 million was spent online by 7 a.m. PST on Cyber Monday, and $2 billion in sales happened from 7–11 p.m. 

With so much shopping happening — especially from folks who are working — make sure your emails, paid ads and website are optimized for mobile. After all, mobile sales accounted for more than $2 billion on Cyber Monday last year. (We are now officially one year closer to the mobile doomsday.)

Cyber Monday will fall later in the season this year, creating a longer Gray November. This year, there are fewer days (27) between Thanksgiving and Christmas, meaning there are only 23 days between Cyber Monday and Christmas. Plan for a long month leading up to Black Friday week and Cyber Monday.

And once you manage to get through Cyber Monday and feel like taking a breather … don’t. Remember, the following day is a top online sales day of the season and a part of the Cyber 10.

🎁 Putting a bow on it

The 10-day period from Nov. 24 – Dec. 3 this year will be an extremely busy shopping period, and retailers should be prepared. This is the new norm. This is the Cyber 10!

I get it, Cyber Five sounds catchier than Cyber 10. Maybe we can call it the C-10, Cyber X or C-Decennium. But once we find a name that sticks, we’ll no doubt need to keep adding numbers to the list until we have something that encompasses an entire month.

I’m thinking something like, I don’t know, Gray November.

Cheers to a successful holiday sales season!