2023 Black Friday/Cyber Monday (BFCM): Found a Highly Competitive Environment and Savvy Consumers

Hinge Commerce clients were up 15% over last year’s Black Friday/Cyber Monday, outpacing overall BFCM growth of 8% according to Adobe Analytics. Client success ranged from +8% to +47% YoY that participated in the promotional event.  Paid advertising performance for our clients was OUTSTANDING! Driving an increase of 122% in ad-attributed sales and 45% improvement in Return on Ad Spend (ROAS). Hinge Commerce grew Impressions 48% YoY for our clients while improving Click Thru Rate (CTR) and delivering an 8% reduction in Cost per Click (CPC), despite headwinds of rising advertising costs on platforms like Amazon. 

Results speak for themselves; Hinge’s expert team of Account Managers, Operations Specialists, and Advertising Managers work seamlessly together to drive profitable increases for the brands we help represent. Through careful pre-planning, each prior tent-pole event season is recapped for refinement on promotion type, discount amount, breadth of promoted selection, advertising budget, CPC competitive pressure, campaign type and keyword performance, inventory availability, Fulfillment Center (FC) capacity constraints, in-bound shipping and receiving times, and the list goes on and on.

Changes for 2023: As with all events this year, Amazon introduced changes in how deals and promotions were displayed to customers. In prior years, Amazon pushed for Gold Box Deals on top products (i.e., Deal of the Day (DOTD) and Lightening Deals (LDs) in addition to using Coupons on mid-tier and long-tail products. For 2023, DOTD and Lighting Deals on top products continued to be a very important lever in Amazon’s promotion strategy, but they shifted focus from Coupons to Best Deals as a vehicle for mid-tier items. This wasn’t directly announced to Vendors or Sellers per se, but all of the lead-up to the event was pointing in this direction. When the big day came, there was no landing page/online merchandising support for Coupons. DOTD, LD, and Best Deals received unique holiday badging that stated “Black Friday Deal” or “Cyber Monday Deal”. With this change in direction, Amazon is using internal algorithms to pre-select which items can be promoted; DOTD, LD, and Best Deals are self-service features with pre-populated “recommendations” from Amazon. Going forward, it appears that Amazon will only be featuring products on landing pages and with specific tent-pole event badging if they have been pre-vetted by their algorithm, as this change in direction began with July 2023’s Prime Day event.

Example of Best Deal Badge During Black Friday:






Example of a Coupon Badge During Black Friday:











How Was Black Friday/Cyber Monday Overall?

According to Adobe Analytics, there was a record $9.8 billion in Black Friday online sales, up 7.5% from 2022. And for Cyber Monday, consumers spent $12.4 billion, a 9.6% increase from 2022. But there is so much more to this story…

  • Sales started earlier this year: Amazon began the holiday shopping season with Prime Deal Days in October (Veterans Day) and expanded their Black Friday/Cyber Monday event to start the week before Thanksgiving, calling out early deals on their site. Prices across all major product categories began dropping at the beginning of November, but we saw significant declines the week before Thanksgiving. According to the National Retail Federation, 55% of consumers participated in early holiday sales, and 35% purchased during the week leading up to Thanksgiving.
  • Hot product categories: Traditional big holiday categories such as electronics, toys, and games took the top product spots, but other successful areas were in apparel (due to colder weather), small kitchen appliances, and beauty (specifically in skincare).
  • Inflation Effects: Consumers were much more deal savvy. They were looking for deeper discounts, shopping online to cross-reference prices between big online retailers and DTC sites, and then waiting until they found the best price. Buy Now Pay Later usage increased dramatically; with significant YoY increases for both Black Friday (+47% YoY) and Cyber Monday (+43% YoY), as consumers looked for more flexible payment options.
  • Increased Amazon advertising costs: According to Pacvue, Black Friday’s Amazon advertising spend was up 59% vs. 2022 which caused an 8% increase in CPC and a 26% decline in ROAS vs. last year. It is well known that Amazon’s advertising costs have been steadily increasing year-over-year, as the platform becomes more competitive. However, the decline in ROAS indicates that consumers are not converting due to price and are waiting for deeper discounts. Given that paid search was 27% of BFCM sales, this is not an area that vendors and sellers can walk away from.
  • Mobile Shopping Growth: Smartphones drove 52% of online sales (up from 50% in 2022). Consumers continue to become more comfortable with shopping on mobile as the experience has improved significantly over previous years. The continued growth of influencers/affiliates now makes up 12% of online sales. Additionally, consumers are using smartphones in store to research deeper discounts ensuring they make the most informed purchasing decision.

The trends above must be evaluated carefully to ensure that both vendors and sellers approach their 2024 promotional strategy with consideration for continued shifts in consumer behavior. Some questions and thoughts to consider…

  • Should you offer early discounts to consumers? If so, how do you differentiate during the tent-pole event through product and/or price?
  • What is the right discount amount that will make a consumer convert? What did your direct competition do this year? What was the average % off for your product category?
  • How do you improve your content to be mobile-ready? What are things you can do to get mobile shoppers to your listings easily?
  • What is your advertising strategy going to be, given continued rising costs? How will you target your customers, before, during, and after the event to capture the maximum number of sales without breaking the budget?

Interested in hearing more and learning about Hinge Commerce’s answers to the above questions? Reach out to us at hingecommerce.com/contact-us and let’s talk about your brand and what Hinge Commerce teams can do to make your next promotional event successful. And more importantly, drive sustained growth all year long.



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