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Black Friday & Cyber Monday 2023: Unleashing the power of email

Email is the top choice for consumers when it comes to Black Friday communications, with nearly 70% of people stating they want to get promotions directly in their inbox. So, did brands meet consumer expectations this BFCM? We look at Sinch’s send data to discover.

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The holiday season is like a grand stage for email senders, and nothing steals the spotlight quite like the Black Friday and Cyber Monday weekend.

Shopping is on the rise in 2023 and overall spend is expected to surpass pre-pandemic levels during Q4. And while many Americans think Black Friday is overhyped, 20% still planned to do most of their holiday shopping on November 24. That’s not surprising: With the current economic climate and constant rise in prices, the anticipation for these Black Friday deals has been palpable.

When it comes to Black Friday communications, email is still the top choice for consumers. In fact, Sinch’s 2023 email engagement survey revealed that nearly 70% of respondents wanted to hear about Black Friday promotions directly in their inbox

So, how did brands rise to meet these expectations? Let's dive into the highlights.

BFCM 2023: The email perspective

Earlier this fall, we conducted a survey on consumer preferences for Black Friday communications. The verdict was clear: Customers wanted to hear from their favorite brands well before the big shopping weekend, and – most importantly – they wanted those exclusive deals delivered straight to their inboxes.

So, did brands meet these consumer demands? We analyzed over 45 billion emails sent by Sinch Mailgun and Sinch Mailjet in the weeks leading up to Black Friday and compared that to what customers were asking for.

Here’s what we found:

Black Friday and Cyber Monday 2023 email volumes infographic

Let’s dive deeper into some of these insights. 

Increased email volumes and strong engagement

Consumers asked to get for holidays deals via email, and brands delivered.

Sinch Email saw a 16% surge in email volumes during Black Friday and Cyber Monday 2023 compared to the previous year, with over two billion emails sent each day, proving that email is still the go-to channel for customer communications during the holiday season.

Graph showing BFCM email volumes 2021 to 2023

However, the most significant surge in email sending actually came in the days and weeks leading up to the shopping holiday. Overall, email volume increased 22% through the month of November compared to 2022.

And with so many messages landing in the inbox – did emails get noticed? We analyzed how consumers engaged with these emails and here’s what we found: 

  • Black Friday 2023 saw an average open rate of 12% (excluding bot activity), and a 13% click-through rate.

  • Cyber Monday 2023 tracked an average open rate of 14% (excluding bot activity), and a 11% click-through rate.

Considering that average open rates typically hover around 14% (excluding bots), this type of engagement during such a competitive period is impressive. Click rates also showed great engagement, revealing that consumers were indeed interested in these deals and promotions.

Ultimately, what our data shows is that brands have taken note of consumer preferences and continue to rely on email for customer communications around this time of the year.

“This increase in email volume is a positive sign that retailers are meeting customer expectations when it comes to Black Friday communications. Given the current economic climate and consistent rise in prices, it isn’t surprising that consumers are looking for a deal. According to our research, 68.9% of consumers want to get these Black Friday promotions via email, and our send data shows that brands have taken note.”

Kate Nowrouzi, VP of Product Strategy, Sinch Mailgun

Early lead on Black Friday communications

Timing is everything, especially in the world of Black Friday promotions, and it’s not just November 24 that hit it out of the park this year.

Email volumes have been trending up for weeks ahead of Black Friday, something that seems to align with the consumer expectations uncovered in our email engagement survey.

Our consumer research showed that people want to hear from brands early on: 35.5% of respondents told us they wanted to receive promotions “as soon as possible”, and another 21.2% expected these communications a month before the big day.

Only 5.8% of respondents said they wanted to wait until Black Friday to hear from brands, which suggests people are eager to make plans for their holiday shopping. 

And it looks like brands have recognized this need to get a head start. As we noted, Sinch Email data revealed a 22% increase in email volumes during November compared to 2022, suggesting brands have messaged their customers more during the weeks before BFCM, rather than just waiting till the big day. In fact, the biggest surge happened two weeks before the week of Black Friday, with volumes up 34% from last year.

Graph showing November 2023 email volumes

This is a smart choice. Competition in the inbox is fierce during the BFCM period, so reaching out earlier can help businesses get customer attention well ahead of Black Friday, ensuring they’re top of mind on the day.

A reliable sending partner: During Black Friday and Cyber Monday 2023, Mailgun and Mailjet achieved a 97% delivery rate. 99% of Mailjet and Mailgun messages were processed in less than 33.5s, with over 133,000 messages processed per second at peak.

Beyond Black Friday: A strong finish to Q4

Cyber Week is a key part of the holiday season, but there’s more to Q4 than Black Friday and Cyber Monday.

With some major shopping days still ahead, email will remain a critical channel for connecting with customers, enabling brands to carry the momentum into 2024.

And it’s not just about deals and promotions. Email plays a crucial role in post-sale customer communications, and triggered emails like order confirmation or shipping notifications are key components in ensuring customer satisfaction.

But the true power of email can only be unleashed through best-in-class deliverability and a customer-centric approach. Without the right email partner and a good grasp of best practices, brands risk missing out on email ROI and hurting their customer satisfaction.

Looking for expert guidance to close out the year on a high note? Our team of email specialists is always here to help.

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