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2016

HOLIDAY
INTELLIGENCE REPORT
CJ Affiliate Network & CJ Insights

Holiday Report

TABLE OF CONTENTS

INTRODUCTION ...............................................................

01

MOBILE SHOPPING TRENDS ............................................

07

KEY STRATEGIES & PREDICTIONS ....................................

02

MOBILE DEVICE TRENDS .................................................

08

HOLIDAY SHOPPING & BROWSING TRENDS ...................

03

PUBLISHER MOBILE ENGAGEMENT .................................

09

COMPARATIVE SHOPPING TRENDS .................................

04

DAY OF WEEK TRENDS .....................................................

10

CANADA SHOWS CONTINUED GROWTH ........................

05

TIME OF DAY TRENDS ......................................................

11

HOLIDAY OFFERS THAT RESONATE ..................................

06

2016 CJ AFFILIATE HOLIDAY INTELLIGENCE REPORT | ©2016 ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. CJ AFFILIATE BY CONVERSANT™

Holiday Report

INTRODUCTION

How will the 2016 holiday shopping season play out in affiliate? What trends from last

IN THIS REPORT, CJ AFFILIATE EXAMINES:

year can help us predict this year’s shopping behaviors?

The distribution of holiday sales by desktop, smartphones and tablets across its global

CJ Affiliate’s Holiday Intelligence Report draws upon CJ Network’s 2015 holiday retail
sales to highlight the trends that will have the greatest impact on 2016 holiday sales.

network; the growing impact of mobile devices on the peak shopping sales periods;
retail sales performance by publisher types; holiday sales trends in the US, UK, and
Germany.

CONVERSION RATE TREND | HOLIDAY 2015
CJ GLOBAL NETWORK
6%

CYBER MONDAY

5%

GREEN MONDAY
BLACK FRIDAY

FREE SHIPPING DAY

4%

CHRISTMAS
BOXING DAY

THANKSGIVING
SINGLES DAY

3%

2%
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2016 CJ AFFILIATE HOLIDAY INTELLIGENCE REPORT | ©2016 ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. CJ AFFILIATE BY CONVERSANT™

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DECEMBER
01

Holiday Report

KEY STRATEGIES &
PREDICTIONS FOR HOLIDAY

GROWTH WILL BE HARD WON, FIRST
MOVER ADVANTAGE

USE OF BUY ONLINE, PICK UP IN-STORE
WILL INCREASE

EXPERIENTIAL GIFTING MAKES
GAINS

Economic indicators clearly point to a holiday sales
season that looks a lot like last year with sales in
ecommerce channels predicted to register a similar rate
of growth, roughly 13% (eMarketer).

Major retailers invested in technology to support buying
online for in-store pick up and its proving popular with
consumers, especially those under 40—more than half
of US holiday shoppers last year planned to buy digitally
and pick up in-store (Market Track).

A growing inclination on the part of shoppers to favor
experiences over “things” represents both a threat and
an opportunity this holiday season.

The challenge for all retailers will be gaining the
advantage over stronger digital competitors, in particular
Amazon, to make an impression and gain share.
A solid affiliate play this year will assume a first-mover
advantage by releasing promotions during the two
weeks leading up to the Thanksgiving – Black Friday
weekend, when 48% of holiday shoppers say they have
started spending (Reuters/Ipsos).
What’s more, Thanksgiving Day in the past three years
has seen the greatest single-day growth amongst the five
days of “Peak Week” and now warrants as much focus as
Black Friday and even Cyber Monday.
Time-strapped shoppers will be shopping heavily on
their smartphones again this year and the key will be
to connect with them early and often, including on
weekends.

Saving on shipping charges and getting items faster are
the prime drivers for choosing local pick up (Deloitte),
underscoring an important differentiator for retailers:
holiday shoppers like to get their items quickly, preferably
at little or no cost.
Retailers who cannot tap the pickup in-store trend, can
instead play up the “fast & free” or expedited shipping
options in their affiliate promotions and on their
websites.
For publishers this year, especially those with a high rate
of visitors that fall into the under 40 set, their promotions
can tap this pick up in-store trend as shipping windows
begin to close on the last few days before Christmas.

2016 CJ AFFILIATE HOLIDAY INTELLIGENCE REPORT | ©2016 ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. CJ AFFILIATE BY CONVERSANT™

The experiential gifting trend we predict will lead to
strong growth in the purchases of gift cards, travel
bookings, concert and sports event tickets, restaurant
certificates, and food and drink items this holiday
season.
Brands selling these items will have an audience primed
for engagement and purchasing. Where does that leave
brands selling traditional hard or soft goods? With
careful tweaking of ad copy and imagery, traditional
goods can tap the experiential zeitgeist by highlighting
the benefits such a purchase will have on the giftee’s
happiness and well-being.
First-world shoppers seek experiences that both
amaze and inspire them rather than meet basic needs.
(AdWeek)
The opportunity for marketers during the 2016 holiday
season is to showcase these attributes in this season’s
gifting promotions.

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Holiday Report

HOLIDAY SHOPPING &
BROWSING TRENDS

Across the ecommerce sales tracked by the network, the core performance period has
continued to be the Thanksgiving through Cyber Monday time period.

For UK and German network retailers, these five days had less importance overall to
their holiday success—UK retailers last year realized 15% of total sales and German
retailers 10% of sales during the time period.

On average, US retailers in the network last year experienced 20% of their holiday
sales during this five day stretch.

Strong early-season sales activity in the UK markets pushed up the clicks and sales for
the network during November, most notably around the Single’s Day event (11/11).

SALES AND CLICK TRENDS | HOLIDAY 2015
CJ GLOBAL NETWORK

DESKTOP CLICKS
MOBILE CLICKS

CYBER MONDAY

SALES

BLACK FRIDAY

THANKSGIVING
FREE SHIPPING DAY

SINGLES DAY

GREEN MONDAY

BOXING DAY
CHRISTMAS

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NOVEMBER
2016 CJ AFFILIATE HOLIDAY INTELLIGENCE REPORT | ©2016 ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. CJ AFFILIATE BY CONVERSANT™

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DECEMBER
03

Holiday Report

COMPARATIVE SHOPPING
TRENDS: US, UK & GERMANY

The US, UK, and German markets behave differently in terms of the timing of sales. This
is to be expected, as the holiday shopping experience has strong regional differences.
Retailers in the US, for example, still kick off the bulk of their promotions on Black
Friday, while UK retailers have not traditionally been beholden to Black Friday. As a
result UK sales again this year, compared to US sales, will be off to an earlier start.

German shoppers, on the other hand, are at the opposite extreme—they appear to
commit most of their purchasing activity to mid-December.
All markets will again realize a nice post-Christmas bump particularly in the UK
market where the tradition of Boxing Day is strong.

DAILY SALES TREND (US, UK & DE) | HOLIDAY 2015

UNITED STATES

NORMALIZED SALE VALUE (RELATIVE PERFORMANCE)

UNITED KINGDOM

BLACK FRIDAY

6

GERMANY

CYBER MONDAY
THANKSGIVING

5

4
FREE SHIPPING DAY

CHRISTMAS

GREEN MONDAY

3

SINGLES DAY

BOXING DAY

2

1

0

-1

-2
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3

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NOVEMBER
2016 CJ AFFILIATE HOLIDAY INTELLIGENCE REPORT | ©2016 ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. CJ AFFILIATE BY CONVERSANT™

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DECEMBER
04

Holiday Report

CANADA SHOWS
CONTINUED GROWTH

Holiday sales to Canadian retailers in the CJ Network grew 26% overall last year and
much of this growth was driven by sales in the Books & Media, Department Stores, and
Home & Garden categories. Last year’s sales over the Thanksgiving Day - Cyber Monday
shopping days were up 45% and Boxing Day sales increased over 200% YOY.

With over 3,000 Canadian-based publishers in the CJ Network, plus thousands of
cross-border publishers with Canadian reach, sales in Canada should again be
strong in Holiday 2016. Mobile fact: Canadians are heavy users of their tablets and
smartphones for shopping. 35% of Canadian holiday sales last year were either a
tablet or smartphone purchase.

CANADIAN SALES AND CLICK TRENDS | HOLIDAY 2015
CJ NETWORK

2015 SALES
2014 SALES

BLACK FRIDAY

CLICKS
THANKSGIVING
CYBER MONDAY

BOXING DAY
FREE SHIPPING DAY
CHRISTMAS
GREEN MONDAY

SINGLES DAY

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NOVEMBER
2016 CJ AFFILIATE HOLIDAY INTELLIGENCE REPORT | ©2016 ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. CJ AFFILIATE BY CONVERSANT™

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DECEMBER
05

Holiday Report

HOLIDAY OFFERS THAT
RESONATE

Many retailers used a combo coupon/discount strategy
in their promotional wording last year (for example: “Save
up to 60% off when you take an extra 20% off! Code:
DISCOUNT”) which muddied the waters when evaluating
effectiveness of “coupon” versus “sales/discount” offer
types.
Even so, links designated as “coupon” promotions in
the network drove the greatest share of sales across
the holiday season, likely due to the fact that coupon
code offers are traditionally given prime placement on
publisher sites. Links promoting free shipping—which
remains a viable and strong incentive for shoppers—
were the least successful links in terms of volume of
sales, but remained popular in Germany.
When it comes to the week of Thanksgiving through
Cyber Monday (often referred to as Peak Week), the
opposite dynamic played out. Sales/discount promotions
edged out coupon promotions most days.

SALES BY OFFER TYPE
HOLIDAY 2015

52%

UNITED
STATES

38%
9%

COUPON
SALE/DISCOUNT
FREE SHIPPING

UNITED
KINGDOM

61%
34%
5%

67%

GERMANY

15%
19%

OFFER PERFORMANCE
PEAK WEEK 2015

60%

HOLIDAY 2015

CJ GLOBAL NETWORK

COUPON

50%

40%

SALE/DISCOUNT
FREE SHIPPING

30%

20%

10%

0%
11/23/15

2016 CJ AFFILIATE HOLIDAY INTELLIGENCE REPORT | ©2016 ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. CJ AFFILIATE BY CONVERSANT™

11/24/15

11/25/15

THANKSGIVING

BLACK FRIDAY

11/28/15

11/29/15

CYBER MONDAY

06

Holiday Report

MOBILE SHOPPING TRENDS

In the US, UK, and German markets, sales on mobile
devices maintained consistent rates throughout the
holiday season, with a few notable exceptions.

MOBILE SALES WEEKLY TREND
SHARE OF SALES ON MOBILE DEVICES

UNITED STATES

HOLIDAY 2015

UNITED KINGDOM
GERMANY

UNITED STATES

NOV 1 - 7

US shoppers increased their rate of purchasing on
smartphones and tablets from 25% to 29% during the
third week of December and again increased their mobile
usage during the days after Christmas.

40%

DEC 27 - 31

35%

NOV 8 - 14

30%

UNITED KINGDOM

UK retailers saw a greater share of mobile sales overall
than US and German retailers.

25%

On average, 32% of all sales in the UK network occurred
on a mobile device and reached 40% of sales during the
third week of December.

15%

20%

10%

DEC 20 - 26

NOV 15 - 21

On Black Friday, 34% of UK sales were mobile compared
to 24% of sales in the US.
GERMANY

German shoppers also were especially keen on mobile
shopping after Christmas—the German market’s highest
mobile shopping days all occurred post-Christmas.
DEC 13 - 19

NOV 22- 28

DEC 6 - 12

2016 CJ AFFILIATE HOLIDAY INTELLIGENCE REPORT | ©2016 ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. CJ AFFILIATE BY CONVERSANT™

NOV 29 - DEC 5

07

Holiday Report

MOBILE DEVICE TRENDS

Last holiday season, 24% of global affiliate sales and 36%
of clicks occurred on a mobile device and smartphones
were the key driver of growth.

SMARTPHONE V. TABLET SALES
HOLIDAY 2015

TABLET

SMARTPHONE

UNITED STATES

US shoppers showed a stronger preference for
purchasing on a phone versus a tablet (65% and 35%
of sales, respectively) and most mobile clicks were on
phones.

44%

50%

35%

GERMANY

UNITED KINGDOM

UNITED STATES

56%

UNITED KINGDOM

50%

65%

UK shoppers were the most highly mobile. Mobile clicks
accounted for 52% of all clicks.
Tablet and phones were equally used for purchasing
and together accounted for 32% of all UK sales.
GERMANY

Retailers in the German market are engaging with
shoppers who are still primarily desktop heavy in both
sales and clicks, but there is a slight preference for
phones over tablets.

SALES BY DEVICE TYPE

CLICKS BY DEVICE TYPE

HOLIDAY 2015

HOLIDAY 2015

100%

100%

87%
80%

82%

76%

80%

67%

Note: Tablet, Smartphone and Desktop values for the US,
UK and Germany will not always total 100 percent. This is
due to sales that cannot be assigned to a device.

64%

60%

60%

47%
40%

38%

40%

29%
20%

16%

16% 16%
7%

20%

7%

0%

13%
5%

0%

US

UK

GERMANY
DESKTOP

2016 CJ AFFILIATE HOLIDAY INTELLIGENCE REPORT | ©2016 ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. CJ AFFILIATE BY CONVERSANT™

14%
7%

5%

US
SMARTPHONE

UK

GERMANY

TABLET

08

Holiday Report

PUBLISHER MOBILE
ENGAGEMENT

In terms of connecting with mobile shoppers, last year
email publishers achieved the greatest share of clicks
and sales during the holiday season in large part due
to their success in reaching potential shoppers on their
smartphones.
Coupon publishers—including deal sites—were nearly as
successful in terms of engagement (clicks) and sales. This
was driven by the successful mobile apps many coupon
and deal sites have launched and through which they
push advertiser and product-level deals.
Incentive publishers had the highest mobile click to
sale ratio last year—nearly 1:1—while shopping sites
(which includes product discovery and content sites)
experienced a greater share of clicks than sales, which
suggests that shopping sites are strong participants in
the research phase.

SHARE OF CLICKS ON
MOBILE BY DEVICE
(SELECT PUBLISHER MODELS)

EMAIL

51%

45%

6%

HOLIDAY 2015
CJ GLOBAL NETWORK

TOTAL MOBILE

46%

COUPONS

40%

6%

SMARTPHONE
TABLET

INCENTIVES

SHOPPING

18%

12%

32%

6%

26%

6%

SHARE OF SALES ON
MOBILE BY DEVICE
(SELECT PUBLISHER MODELS)

EMAIL

29%

23%

6%

HOLIDAY 2015
CJ GLOBAL NETWORK

TOTAL MOBILE

COUPONS

26%

19%

7%

SMARTPHONE
TABLET

2016 CJ AFFILIATE HOLIDAY INTELLIGENCE REPORT | ©2016 ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. CJ AFFILIATE BY CONVERSANT™

INCENTIVES

19%

11%

SHOPPING

18%

12%

9%

6%

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Holiday Report

DAY OF WEEK TRENDS

Greater accessibility to shopping away from a computer
has erased past dominance of weekday ecommerce
sales. Weekend sales—particularly on mobile devices—
has seen steady sales on Saturdays and Sundays.

YOY SAME STORE GROWTH BY
DAY OF WEEK

CONVERSION RATE

HOLIDAY 2015

AVERAGE ORDER VALUE

CJ GLOBAL NETWORK

RETURN ON AD SPEND

SUNDAY

Traditionally, Mondays in holiday ecommerce sales were
strong in terms of sales volume and YOY growth, yet last
year signaled the second year in a row in which Sundays
have emerged as a peak converting shopping day.

25%

20%

PREDICTIONS

Faster and larger smartphones will impact the days on
which people make their holiday season purchases.

MONDAY

SATURDAY
15%

Based on their growth rates from last year, Sundays
and Tuesdays will be strong converting days for sales, in
addition to Mondays.

10%

5%

TUESDAY

FRIDAY

THURSDAY
2016 CJ AFFILIATE HOLIDAY INTELLIGENCE REPORT | ©2016 ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. CJ AFFILIATE BY CONVERSANT™

WEDNESDAY
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Holiday Report

TIME OF DAY TRENDS

Across the three largest shopping days of the holiday
season—Thanksgiving Day, Black Friday, and Cyber
Monday—shopping intensity varies by time of day.

2016 SHOPPING VOLUME FORECAST | TIME OF DAY
(PACIFIC STANDARD TIME)

THANKSGIVING

CJ GLOBAL NETWORK

BLACK FRIDAY
CYBER MONDAY

THANKSGIVING DAY

Thanksgiving’s social and dining activities have a definite
impact on shopping. Fewer shoppers will be buying
during the afternoon, so plan to engage with shoppers
early in the day and late in the evening.
BLACK FRIDAY

Shoppers start early on Black Friday and keep on going
nearly all day. Sales volume remains constant throughout
the afternoon and then gets an end of day bump in the
evening.
CYBER MONDAY

On the largest sales volume day of the season, shopping
occurs during work hours, likely on desktops, and only
increases during post-work hours. Many shoppers will
switch from their desktops to mobile devices for their
evening purchases.

1 AM

2 AM

3 AM

4 AM

5 AM

6 AM

7 AM

8 AM

9 AM

10 AM 11 AM

12 PM

1 PM

2 PM

3 PM

4 PM

5 PM

6 PM

7 PM

8 PM

9 PM

10 PM

11 PM

PREDICTIONS

Cyber Monday will continue to be the largest sales day across the holiday season.
Thanksgiving Day will again be a strong day for engaging customers doing early “window shopping” for Black Friday
and also a strong sales day for apparel retailers.

2016 CJ AFFILIATE HOLIDAY INTELLIGENCE REPORT | ©2016 ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. CJ AFFILIATE BY CONVERSANT™

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Holiday Report

KEY STRATEGIES &
PREDICTIONS FOR HOLIDAY

Questions?
CONTACT SANDRINE THOMPSON
sthompson@cj.com

2016 CJ AFFILIATE HOLIDAY INTELLIGENCE REPORT | ©2016 ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. CJ AFFILIATE BY CONVERSANT™

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