App Marketing

Is Black Friday just for Americans? The mobile app benchmarks behind the discount day

Simon Kendall
Head of Communications

There’s plenty of data out there already that give a picture of the extent of the boost that Black Friday deals give to retail and ecommerce. A coordinated, market-wide burst of activity appears to lift all boats, as it were.

But is that necessarily true for every ecommerce app – regardless where their users are?

From our HQ in Berlin, a stone’s throw from the megabox marts of Alexanderplatz, Black Friday is an odd notion. Since Europeans don’t celebrate Thanksgiving at all, the “Black Friday” deals are offered on just another weekend. Presumably, most Europeans barely realise which weekend these discounts and rebates are coming up.

So we asked ourselves: how do US and European Black Fridays differ? What can we see in the data coming from thousands of mobile ecommerce apps as relates to Black Friday?

We calculated revenue ratios (defined as the % of revenue maximum for the period) for all of the apps that we track, and averaged these across verticals and countries.

In this blog post, we’ll be focusing on ecommerce apps in particular.

What’s the numbers say about Black Friday?

The initial round of US data was unsurprising: the mobile “foot traffic”, i.e. the number of sessions from US app users in ecommerce apps, jumped strongly over the average for the month.

Average sessions ratios for Thanksgiving weekend

There’s an observable bump that carries in from midday Thanksgiving into the weekend.

Foot traffic is one thing, but the question we’re all interested in is: was there an increase in revenues?

The thing about revenues to keep in mind is that while more people are coming in to make purchases (and this is the increase in sessions), the amount of money they spend may actually be lower in a lot of cases because of the hefty discounts and rebates associated to their shopping baskets.

In the US, the revenue ratios jumped by a full half – 49.9 % to be exact – on November 25th.

The most interesting parts, for us at least, became evident when we ran the same averages across a number of European countries as well, comparing these “boosts” across multiple different markets.

Revenue multiplier for ecommerce apps on Black Friday

Western European app users actually increase their in-app ecommerce spend much more significantly over Black Friday than American users do. This is in relation to a typical Friday in November. The increases that we observe in Western European markets are much higher above the normal spend than the increase above the norm observed among US users.

The 49.9 % increase of revenue ratios in the US were well exceeded by e.g. Germany (at 75.6%), France (74.7%), Belgium (79.9%) and Switzerland (73.9%).

So what does this mean for app marketers?

There are a few different potential explanation behind this pattern. The most intuitive idea would be that US shoppers are already distracted by Thanksgiving and retail Black Friday offerings, which European shoppers aren’t as interested in. Instead, Europeans will be going about their usual Friday agenda, dropping onto their smartphones to check out deals online.

The holiday and its increasing popularity represents an opportunity for ecommerce companies across Europe. “The overall marketing pressure from the major retail chains is so huge that it drives installs and conversions for us, too,” says Andre Kempe, Performance Marketing Lead at fleek, a Zalando venture.

The data indicates that mobile is particularly “hot” over Black Friday in Europe. Could app marketers in Europe use holidays like Black Friday – that are sure to be exploited by major retail outlets – as an opportunity to offer extra discounts and rebates?