How 25,000+ Brands Used Owned Marketing to Grow Over Cyber Weekend 2019

Personalized experiences paid off big for online brands over Cyber Weekend 2019. Brands drove two percent of all Cyber Weekend online sales through Klaviyo. 


Cyber Weekend 2019 has come and gone, and once again it’s broken several records in its wake. 

Throughout Cyber Weekend (Thursday, November 28 through Monday, December 2, 2019), nearly 190 million people shopped across the five-day period this year—up 14 percent over last year, according to the National Retail Federation (NRF). 

Consumer spending was up, too. 

Across the weekend, shoppers spent more than $28.4 billion online, including $4.2 billion on Thanksgiving (November 28), $7.4 billion on Black Friday (November 29), $7.4 billion across Small Business Saturday and Super Sunday (November 30-December 1), and $9.4 billion on Cyber Monday (December 2), according to Adobe.  

And for the first time ever, more people shopped on Black Friday than on Cyber Monday (93.2 million vs. 83.3 million), according to the NRF. 

Yet despite all of the additional shoppers turning out in stores and online on Black Friday, Cyber Monday still reigned supreme as the biggest online shopping holiday ever in terms of spending. Shoppers spent $9.4 billion on Cyber Monday—up 19.7 percent from last year, according to Adobe.

One thing’s clear about Cyber Weekend: online businesses are the real winners of this holiday shopping extravaganza. More than 142 million shoppers made purchases online compared to 124 million people who made them in-store, according to the NRF.

“Online shopping received some unexpected boosts this holiday season. Retailer fears of a shorter season meant that deals came much sooner than usual, and consumers took notice. In some areas of the country, adverse weather in the form of snow and heavy rain meant that many opted to stay home instead and grabbed the best deals online. Just look at Black Friday, which brought in $7.4 billion online and is just below last year’s Cyber Monday at $7.9 billion,” Taylor Schreiner, principal analyst and head of Adobe Digital Insights, told TechCrunch

Online businesses drove $72.1 billion in sales in November alone—up 16.3 percent over last year, according to Adobe Analytics. And with the holiday shopping season in full swing, brands have to contend with a shorter than usual season between Cyber Monday and Christmas this year. With just 22 days after Cyber Monday to compete and meet holiday sales goals, smart brands are well aware they must be strategic with their holiday marketing plans. 

Rather than relying too heavily on sales from paid search, display advertising, and third-party marketplaces, many of the most successful brands used the channels within their own control—their website, email, and mobile marketing—as a core component of their holiday marketing strategies and based those strategies on the personal relationships they’ve developed with shoppers. Data shows this approach helped them to stand out and drive significant growth for their brands during the busiest shopping weekend of the year.  


How owned marketing helped brands succeed during Cyber Weekend

Just as Cyber Weekend is one of, if not the, most critical weekends of the year for online businesses, it’s the same for us at Klaviyo, too. 

Since Cyber Weekend last year, both Klaviyo’s customer base and internal staff have grown—both have more than doubled, in fact—and this weekend is always an incredibly exciting time for both the brands we serve and the people who serve them. 



This year, we helped more than 25,000 online businesses grow during this critical timeframe. Over the five-day weekend, we processed more than 3.5 billion different unique events (like browsing data, purchase data, and more) and saw brands send more than 2.5 billion emails. With these brands, shoppers placed more than 21 million orders. 

Of the $28.4 billion that shoppers spent online during Cyber Weekend 2019, brands drove two percent of all Cyber Weekend online sales through Klaviyo—double the performance of 2018 with no signs of slowing down.  

“It’s a really energetic, electric weekend where everyone’s watching the numbers. We have dashboards that help us track how much money our customers are making so we can celebrate their wins with them and really feel the pride in our product,” said Alexandra Edelstein, senior product manager, Klaviyo.

Here’s a look at how brands used owned marketing to grow during Cyber Weekend 2019. 

Total emails sent across Cyber Weekend 2019 (by day)

Timeframe: November 28 - December 2, 2019 Total emails sent
11/28: Thanksgiving (Thursday) 376,966,773
11/29: Black Friday 719,432,056
11/30: Saturday 445,559,070
12/01: Sunday 350,491,135
12/02: Cyber Monday 654,842,073
11/28-12/02: Cyber Weekend (total) 2,547,287,598

Total orders place across Cyber Weekend 2019 (by day)

Timeframe: November 28 - December 2, 2019 Total orders placed
11/28: Thanksgiving (Thursday) 2,809,703
11/29: Black Friday 6,236,781
11/30: Saturday 4,220,354
12/01: Sunday 3,489,953
12/02: Cyber Monday 4,612,916
11/28-12/02: Cyber Weekend (total) 21,418,429

Brands used email marketing and other personalized web and mobile experiences to deliver memorable experiences across the weekend. 

Here’s a closer look at why the relationships you built all year long mattered for your Cyber Weekend success, and why the specific messages you sent, how you sent them, and when you sent them helped you own your marketing and grow your business across Cyber Weekend 2019. 


Why building relationships ahead of Cyber Weekend matters

Whether much of your Cyber Weekend sales came from people who’ve previously made a purchase from you or from subscribers you’ve spent time nurturing who hadn’t previously made a purchase, relationships built throughout the year are critical for both your Cyber Weekend success and your growth well beyond the holiday marketing season. 

Last year, we explored this very topic and saw that not only do repeat purchasers account for nearly half of your Cyber Weekend sales, but the people you’ve engaged well before Cyber Weekend (those who’ve opened an email from you) have higher average order values on Cyber Weekend—17 percent higher, in fact. 

This year, throughout the weekend, brands saw nearly 43 percent of purchases come from repeat shoppers. 

Take a minute to think about your holiday sales targets and imagine what your sales would’ve looked like if repeat purchasers didn’t account for nearly half of your Cyber Weekend sales. What would that mean for you right now? Would you be able to meet or exceed your plans for the year? Or would you be left scrambling in the final weeks of the holidays to bridge the gap?

On the flip side, first-time buyers accounted for approximately 57 percent of purchases on Cyber Weekend this year and brands gained more than two million new subscribers, as well. 

Now imagine how many of those people can become repeat purchasers next year. How will that influence your mix of repeat vs. newly acquired customers? How will that impact your holiday marketing strategy (and your ability to enjoy Cyber Weekend yourself!)? 

These newly acquired purchasers are people you can spend time building relationships with starting right now to influence your brand’s growth in the years ahead.

Timeframe: November 28 - December 2, 2019 % of purchases made by first-time shoppers % of purchases made by repeat shoppers # of new subscribers brands gained
11/28: Thanksgiving (Thursday) 56.74% 43.26% 473,390
11/29: Black Friday 55.63% 44.37% 571,586
11/30: Saturday 59.30% 40.70% 431,287
12/01: Sunday 57.11% 42.89% 404,700
12/02: Cyber Monday 57.30% 42.70% 476,124
11/28-12/02: Cyber Weekend (total) 57.12% 42.88% 2,357,105

As you think about all of the new subscribers and purchasers you’ve just gained, make sure you start developing deeper relationships with them now and throughout the year to set yourself up for even great Cyber Weekend success in the year ahead.


See the impact your relationships have on Cyber Weekend sales


The types of subject lines brands used across Cyber Weekend 2019

The holidays, and Cyber Weekend especially, are a time when email volume tends to be at its peak. With so much competition in your shoppers’ inboxes, it can be tough to stand out. 

Last year across Cyber Weekend, we saw brands use a mix of discount-focused vs. non-discount-focused messages in email subject lines during this time frame. 

On the discount side of things, we saw brands experiment with offers like percentages off and dollars off promotions. And while more brands used percentage-off discounts, the brands that used dollars-off discounts tended to see more success last year.

This year, we’ll soon take a closer look at whether brands saw greater success with either of these types of discounts. In the meantime, though, we saw the majority of brands favoring discount-focused messages vs. non-discount-focused messages across Cyber Weekend 2019. 

Campaigns sent with or without discounts (Cyber Weekend 2019)

Timeframe: November 28 - December 2, 2019 Discount-focused campaigns sent Non-discount-focused campaigns sent
11/28: Thanksgiving (Thursday) 57.79% 42.21%
11/29: Black Friday 70.52% 29.48%
11/30: Saturday 64.95% 35.05%
12/01: Sunday 68.84% 31.16%
12/02: Cyber Monday 71.55% 28.45%
11/28-12/02: Cyber Weekend (total) 67.41% 32.59%

See which types of discounts work best


Mobile is a mainstream way to shop

Mobile is a marketing channel you can’t afford to ignore, especially during the holidays. This year, shoppers made more of their purchases and did more of their browsing on a mobile device than ever before. 

On Thanksgiving Day, smartphone purchases accounted for nearly half the day’s total revenue—up almost 25 percent from last year, according to Adobe. 

And one-third ($3 billion) of all Cyber Monday purchases were made on a smartphone—up 46 percent from last year, according to TechCrunch.  

What’s more, smartphone browsing accounted for 54 percent of all Cyber Monday shopping—up 19 percent from last year, according to TechCrunch.

“Consumers are reimagining what it means to shop during the holidays, with smartphones having a breakout season as well. We expect that consumers will spend $14 billion more this holiday season via their phones,” Taylor Schreiner, principal analyst and head of Adobe Digital Insights, told TechCrunch. 

Over the five-day weekend, brands, on average, saw subscribers open approximately half (50.81 percent) the emails they sent on a mobile device. More than three-quarters (75.64 percent) of people clicked on an email from a mobile device and more than two-thirds (69 percent) of orders came through a mobile device. 

Emails opened and clicked on a mobile device (Cyber Weekend 2019)

Timeframe: November 28 - December 2, 2019 % of emails opened on a mobile device % of emails clicked on a mobile device
11/28: Thanksgiving (Thursday) 52.95% 77.95%
11/29: Black Friday 52.08% 77.07%
11/30: Saturday 52.42% 78.31%
12/01: Sunday 51.55% 77.66%
12/02: Cyber Monday 46.53% 68.77%
11/28-12/02: Cyber Weekend (total) 50.81% 75.64%

Mobile is clearly an important channel for online businesses, so consider using SMS (text) messages as part of your broader marketing strategy to build deeper relationships shoppers across the channels where they want to engage with your brand—email, SMS, push, and your website. 


Learn more about Klaviyo SMS


Why brands need to be strategic about the timing of holiday marketing messages 

With online brands driving more than $70 billion in sales during November 2019 and nearly $30 billion of those sales happening across Cyber Weekend alone, the online sales boon is projected to continue throughout the remainder of the holiday season. 

Starting your holiday marketing early matters, especially when there’s a short period between Thanksgiving and Christmas, but continuing it strategically well past Cyber Weekend is also critically important to your brand’s growth. 

With less than three weeks until Christmas, competition across the holiday marketing landscape is steep. And that’s exactly why brands need a post-Cyber Weekend holiday marketing strategy

We recently analyzed data based on more than 135,000 emails sent last year by 5,000 brands representing $425 million in sales and found some clear winners and losers in terms of when to send your emails throughout the rest of the holiday season. We also saw how brands tend to use shipping-focused discounts leading up to December 25th. 

Catch up here and, to get ahead of the competition for the rest of the season, use this live dashboard to explore which days brands tend to send the most emails and how they’re using discounts in their campaigns so you can make the most out of the remaining days in the 2019 holiday marketing season. 


View the live holiday marketing heatmap


Key takeaway

You survived Cyber Weekend, so now what? It’s time to focus on how you can create long-lasting, meaningful relationships throughout the year with your community, including all of those new subscribers you gained over the weekend. 

While many small and medium-sized brands chose to sell through third-party marketplaces and saw Cyber Weekend success as a result, they now lack the data and the relationships with all of those new customers they recently acquired because those third-party platforms are in control—they own the data and the relationship with that new customer, not the brand. 

Selling through third-parties will always have a place for some brands, but savvy online businesses know they’re not the only way to grow. These forward-thinking brands know the path to long-term, sustainable growth is through the relationships you build directly with your customers, and they’re using the channels within their own control to create and deepen those relationships across the most critical weekend of the year and over time. 

Learn more about the impact newly acquired vs. existing customers have on your Cyber Weekend sales and a look at how existing vs. newly acquired buyers behave after Cyber Weekend. 


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