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Cyber 5 Analysis: Was Inflation the Reason for Record-Breaking Sales?

Get an inside look at key metrics during the Cyber Five period, including total sales, ad spend by category, ad sales by category, and more! By Marissa Incitti December 14, 2022
Cyber Five 2022 Results: Feedvisor

This Cyber Five period was one like no other, as a record-setting 196.7 million US consumers took advantage of the holiday shopping period. While holiday shopping officially kicked off with the Prime Early Access Sale in October, retailers and brands prepared for a more extended holiday selling period, steep competition, and what they thought would be an uncertain sales week. 

The numbers are officially in. Record-breaking sales were reported across all five days of Cyber Five, but many are questioning how much was due to demand and inflation. We dig deep into the numbers to answer this question while providing our insights from Feedvisor client data. 

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Deals and Promotions Helped Drive Record Sale Numbers, Not Inflation

Thanks to macroeconomic pressures such as inflation and threats of a recession, experts were NOT predicting a strong holiday shopping period. Despite this prediction, experts were pleasantly surprised when Adobe Analytics announced the final sales numbers: 

Cyber 5 2022 Results: Feedvisor

Each day of Cyber Week showed a modest increase in growth compared to 2021, with Black Friday coming in with the highest increase at 3.9%. Cyber Monday saw a 3.8% increase year-over-year, and Thanksgiving increased just under 2%. 

Deals Were the Primary Driver of Sales During Cyber Five

Inflation may have been a factor driving up retail sales numbers in the past couple of months,  but it was not the primary driver of record sales numbers during Cyber Five. 

Deals and promotions were the primary drivers of increased sales, as consumers sought ways to save money. According to Adobe Analytics, there were more transactions overall rather than high prices resulting in sales reaching such heights. 

Electronics saw the highest uptick in sales compared to 2021, with a 2.5x growth.

Summary of Cyber Five Sales Numbers, Basket Sizes, Discounts, and Best Selling Categories

If you look at the number of transactions on Cyber Monday, you’ll see consumers were spending $12.8 million a minute. Yet, the average cart size only increased by 8%. The average basket size was $325.44 on holiday-related purchases over the cyber five, per NRF.

Discounts were the strongest they’ve been since pre-pandemic, especially in the Electronics category, where they reached 25% off. In 2021, the average deal for Electronics was around 8%. This year’s top category for discounts was Toys, with the highest discount reaching 34% off. 

In a press release, Amazon announced their best-selling categories, with Toys among the top five sales categories. Closely following are the Home, Fashion, Beauty, and Amazon devices categories. 

Feedvisor client sales showed an uptick in sales compared to 2021, with the top categories similar to  Amazon’s: Toys, Electronics, Apparel, Jewelry, and Sporting Goods were the biggest sellers during the five days. The Electronics category saw the highest uptick in sales compared to 2021, with an astonishing 2.5x growth. 

Ads Performed Well Despite Increases in Competition and Costs

These days, costs are going up everywhere. No one felt this more than brands and retailers with the increase in ad costs. Ad spend was up around 30% when compared to 2021. This is due not only to increased fees and competition but also to anticipated higher spending based on Prime Day data and more deal promotions. 

How Prime Early Access Sale Influenced Cyber Five Ad Spend and Performance

With the Prime Early Access Sale (PEAS) just a month prior, brands and retailers had the unprecedented opportunity to test out ad campaigns and build audiences closer to the holidays than before. Unfortunately, not all brands and retailers took advantage of PEAS, instead preferring to save their ad spend for the Turkey Five and relying on July Prime Day data instead. 

As a result of the increased ad spend, ad sales for the top 5 categories also increased around 32% but showed a muted RoAS, likely due to more deal promotions. Inventory availability issues were felt much less by retailers and brands, with more opting to run deals across their catalogs. Some were even hoping to get rid of stagnant inventory left over from earlier. 

Another bright spot is that CPCs decreased for three top five categories compared to 2021. This is a welcome reprieve for sellers, with Thanksgiving showing the lowest CPC. The highest CPC day was Cyber Monday. 

With increased ad spend, impressions also rose this year, allowing consumers more choices than ever before. CPM was relatively flat compared to 2021, with a 2% average increase across categories. 

Notable Cyber Five Trends in 2022

Apart from the apparent metrics, we looked at the top three consumer trends and behaviors affecting sales, purchasing habits, and strategies on Amazon and other marketplaces during this year’s Cyber Five.

Buy Now, Pay Later orders were up 85% during Cyber Five.

1. Buy Now Pay Later Payment Options Gave Consumers Flexibility

Consumers were looking for any way to stretch their dollars further and found it in the form of Buy Now, Pay Later (BNPL). While BNPL orders are not new, usage of this feature has not been as significant until now. During Cyber Five, BNPL orders were up 85% and showed an increase in revenue of 88%. We predict usage of BNPL will continue to rise as inflation remains top of mind.

2. Smaller Screens Mean Bigger Sales

Mobile purchases accounted for 43% of all online Cyber Monday sales and 55% of Thanksgiving online sales. 

Mobile devices are playing a more prominent role in consumers’ everyday lives, with mobile shopping rising as a top use. Accelerated by the pandemic, we predict mobile commerce will make up at least 50% of Cyber Monday online sales in 2023 and 60% of Thanksgiving online sales. 

3. Paying to Play is Still the Largest Sales Driver

Paid search remained the biggest driver of sales for retailers across Cyber Week, totaling 28% of online sales. If you can’t earn brand discovery and visibility, you need to pay for it to compete in this challenging environment.

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About the Author

Marissa Incitti is the Associate Director of Content for Feedvisor, where she oversees and executes the company's content marketing strategy and initiatives. Before joining Feedvisor, she was the content marketing manager for a Fortune Global 500 omnichannel commerce technologies and operations company.

Final Thoughts

This year has been challenging, to say the least; however, there’s always innovation in times of adversity. New opportunities for greater insight into consumer behavior, faster data collection, and the next “big thing” in e-commerce are just around the corner. 

For those selling on Amazon, you already have an advantage – let us do the rest. Try us free for 30 days, or reach out for a personalized consultation. 

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