Transformation of Platforms in the Black Friday Discount Frenzy and Insights for the Development of Cross-Border E-Commerce Opportunities

Time: 2023-12-19 11:10

The 2023 Black Friday shopping season in the United States set a new record for total sales, with constant evolution in e-commerce platforms and strategies. In the context of the new normal brought about by the pandemic and inflation pressures, what market dynamics will unfold during this annual global shopping extravaganza? Let's explore the reports and trends of the 2023 Black Friday in the United States together.

 How did Black Friday Perform?

1. **Significant Increase in Black Friday Discounts to Counter Inflation Impact**

   Under the influence of relatively high inflation, the discount intensity of Black Friday in the United States was much higher than in previous years, stimulating consumer purchasing intentions to a certain extent. Data indicates a substantial increase in promotional discount rates for categories such as apparel and home appliances in October compared to 2021 and 2022. For instance, the discount on televisions increased from 10% to 24%, and online clothing discounts rose from 18% to 25%.

   The substantial increase in discount intensity during Black Friday effectively offset the impact of inflation, preventing a significant rise in consumers' actual payment burdens.

2. **Robust Performance of Online Shopping during Black Friday, TikTok Shop Emerges as a Winner**

   According to data from Adobe Analytics, during the first 20 days of the official Black Friday shopping season (November 1 to November 20), U.S. consumers spent $632 billion online, a 5% increase compared to the previous year and surpassing market expectations.

   Notably, TikTok Shop had a remarkable performance during Black Friday. Comparing order volumes between November 14 and November 20 with October 20-26, TikTok Shop's order volume in the U.S. market increased by a significant 205%. On Black Friday itself, online sales for U.S. consumers reached $98 billion, a 7.5% increase from the same period last year. Cyber Monday's online sales hit $124 billion, representing a 9.6% year-on-year increase and reaching even higher figures. During peak shopping hours, U.S. consumers' online spending reached $15.7 million per minute.

Black Friday Advancements: Prolonged Duration, Intense Competition, Localization of Strategies

   The promotion duration of this "Black Friday Online" has been extended compared to previous years, as businesses attempt to stimulate consumption by prolonging major promotions. For example, Amazon set its event from November 17 to November 27, spanning 11 days. Temu and TikTok Shop extended their promotional periods even further, starting from October 20 to December 5 and October 27 to November 30, respectively.

   The number of e-commerce platforms participating in Black Friday increased this year. In addition to traditional players like Amazon, eBay, and Walmart, newcomers such as TikTok Shop, SHEIN, and Temu joined the fray. The increased competition led to the introduction of more significant discount activities, with some of Temu's discounts reaching up to 90%. Physical retailers also actively participated in "online Black Friday," with international retail giants like Target and Best Buy launching extensive online promotions that integrated with their offline store activities, achieving an omnichannel promotional approach.

   The strategies became more diversified, incorporating some marketing methods from Chinese domestic e-commerce platforms. For example, TikTok Shop introduced a Black Friday promotion schedule, divided into different phases such as "Early Purchase (October 27-29)," "Category Days (October 30-November 13)," "Carnival (November 15-27)," "Black Friday (November 24)," "Cyber Monday (November 27)," and "Return Period (November 28-30)." This extended timeframe, spanning from October to December, is a common practice in major Chinese e-commerce promotions. Some promotional strategies and experiences from Chinese e-commerce are being adopted and applied by local e-commerce platforms in the United States, aligning their marketing activities with those of Chinese e-commerce during Black Friday.

Summary of Black Friday 2023

The sales performance of the 2023 Black Friday in the United States exceeded expectations, demonstrating strength amid the challenging environment of high inflation. The addition of new e-commerce platforms intensified competition between them, leading to the introduction of higher discount rates to attract consumers.

This high-intensity price war, to a certain extent, helped alleviate the pressure of rising actual purchasing costs due to inflation, supporting the growth of Black Friday online sales. While the rise of new platforms posed a challenge to established ones, each e-commerce platform has its preferred target user group, and competition is more evident in providing differentiated services.

This necessitates major e-commerce platforms to offer more precise user services, moving beyond simple price wars. In summary, behind this shopping extravaganza is the continuous optimization of market strategies by e-commerce platforms around specific user needs, signaling a new stage of development characterized by segmentation and differentiated competition in e-commerce.

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