New Research Reveals Thanksgiving Weekend Shoppers Spend More, But Churn Faster

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Retention Science study reveals slashed prices and one-day holiday deals don’t deliver long-term retail success

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A new study by Retention Science, an innovator in retention marketing, has uncovered research that shows holiday buyers, while willing to spend more, are disposed to one-time purchases and increased churn. The data was derived from an analysis of more than 3 million consumers placing nearly 6 million orders over the 2014 holiday buying season.

The study found consumers making their first purchase with a retailer on Black Friday are 19 percent less likely to purchase again during the holidays than other customers and will make 20 percent fewer purchases from the retailer over time. Similarly, consumers making their first purchase with a retailer on Cyber Monday are 26 percent less likely to make a repeat purchase during the holidays and will make 23 percent fewer purchases over time.

What’s more, the study found consumers who make their first purchase on that Friday and Monday, respectively, churn 274 and 296 percent faster than customers who buy during other times of the year.

“Black Friday and Cyber Monday customers spend 12 percent more than other customers throughout the year, so there’s much more for retailers to gain beyond a one-day sales bounty,” said Jerry Jao, CEO of Retention Science. “Retailers must have a solid retention strategy in place, or they’re apt to lose the new customers they acquire on these two days, along with the lifetime value they can bring.”

Retention Science found the time it takes consumers to make an initial purchase after registering with a retail site is significantly shorter in the period leading up to and through the Thanksgiving weekend, and persists for a short time afterward.

One month before these holiday sales events, the time from registration to purchase averages 23 days. However, this number drops as it gets closer: One week before the holiday weekend, the time between registration and first purchase averages 13 days, and it stays in this range for at least three weeks following Thanksgiving.

“The fact that time-to-purchase remains short into December suggests that the excitement and momentum generated from Thanksgiving weekend sales carries over into the rest of the holiday season,” said Jao. “These two promotional days are important to drive sales, but if retailers fail to capitalize on their customer interactions to build loyalty before the end of the year, they risk missing out on repeat business.”

Retention Science analyzed more than 3 million consumers placing nearly 6 million orders during the 2014 holiday buying season. Results were normalized to account for varying sample sizes. The campaigns involved retailers involved in specialty goods, apparel, baby products and wellness products, among others.

Retention Science, the global leader in Retention Marketing, helps retailers and brands understand, engage and retain their customers. Its marketing platform can accurately predict customer behavior, and those insights used to conduct one-to-one email, website and mobile marketing campaigns that increase conversion rates and revenues. Headquartered in Los Angeles, Retention Science powers campaigns for Target, Dollar Shave Club, The Honest Company, BCBG, Wet Seal, Zumba Fitness and many other innovative brands. The company was recently named the “Most Innovative Company in Los Angeles” by Inc. Magazine. For more information, follow Retention Science online or on Twitter.

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Rebecca Scanlan
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