The busiest shopping week of the year just beat records as price-conscious shoppers hunted for deals. Personalized SMS and email drove the shopping surge, generating $1.8B in revenue.
Heading into Cyber Week, experts predicted that shoppers—feeling the squeeze of ongoing inflation—would turn out to take advantage of record discounts. Their predictions came true (and then some). Personalized SMS and email marketing powered by Attentive drove a major surge in online shopping, generating over $1.8 billion in revenue between Thanksgiving and Cyber Monday.
Mobile was the undisputed winner of Cyber Week 2023, driving a 58% increase in online revenue year-over-year. But the real superhero this shopping week was AI. Nearly 50% of our customers used AI to create or fine-tune their SMS and email campaigns this holiday season.
Keep reading for the top insights we’re drawing from our Cyber Week data, or download a two-page recap to share with your team.
Really good personalization drives better results
Brands’ ability to break through the noise with relevant, timely text messages played a significant role in capturing shoppers’ attention (and wallets). Over Cyber Week, our 8,000+ customers engaged consumers by sending more than 2.2 billion messages. This represents a 30% increase year-over-year in the number of text messages brands sent between Thanksgiving and Cyber Monday.
On Black Friday alone, brands sent a record-breaking 540 million text messages, keeping the momentum of the week going. By personalizing shoppers’ experiences based on real-time behavioral data, brands recovered $148 million in abandoned carts. Text messages tailored to subscribers based on their behaviors drove up to a 36.6% conversion rate (CVR) on Black Friday.
Performance peaked on Black Friday and Cyber Monday
Automated messages were the unsung champions of Cyber Week 2023. Conversion rates for automated text messages jumped on Thanksgiving, and stayed above 30% through Cyber Monday. These messages enabled marketers to send more personalized messages, as well as capture otherwise lost revenue at scale through thoughtful behavioral triggers.
Email performed especially well on the major shopping days, Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Automated emails reached a 23% conversion rate on these tentpole shopping holidays. But on the days in between—including Thanksgiving and Small Business Saturday—text messages proved to be an effective way to convert browsers into buyers.
AI is a force multiplier in this new era of hyper-personalization
This year, brands relied heavily on a new (indispensable) helpmate: Attentive AI™. Using AI, nearly 50% of our customers not only scaled up their SMS and email marketing programs, but increased their messages’ performance. This partnership paid off: AI-influenced emails and text messages achieved higher click-through rates (CTRs).
This increase in engagement made a significant impact when you consider the scale. More than 218 million of the text messages brands sent were influenced by AI, and just over 10% of all SMS campaigns were created using our AI copy assistant.
Consumers were also comfortable engaging with AI. 45% of Attentive Concierge™ conversations were powered by AI, and delivered a 2.4x higher CVR than those powered by humans alone.
Brands sent a record-breaking 2.2 billion messages
Thanks to AI, the increased volume of messages brands sent didn't translate into more noise for consumers. Instead, brands used AI and automation to send more personalized messages to individual consumers to capture their attention.
Drawn in by the value SMS and email offered them as they hunted for deals, 13.5 million new subscribers signed up for brands’ direct marketing channels. As we’ve grown our partnerships with brands in international markets, we’ve seen significant growth in consumer adoption. Brands in the UK and Australia saw 400% and 600% subscriber growth respectively.
Shoppers spent the most on apparel
Shoppers seemed just as excited to treat themselves as they were to purchase gifts this Cyber Week. Apparel, health and beauty, and jewelry and accessories were the most popular categories consumers purchased from this year. Each of these categories saw an increase in spending compared to Cyber Week 2022, especially Apparel (which increased 24% year-over-year).
SMS and email marketing are the dream team
For the second year in a row, brands sent the most text messages at 12pm local time. The second-most popular send time was 11am, as brands sought to grab shoppers’ attention over lunch. A second wave of SMS campaigns peaked at 7pm (the 5th most popular time) as brands connected with consumers between dinner and bedtime, perfect for browsing and shopping.
Brands reached consumers with email earlier on in the day: The top five send times fell between 6am and 12pm. Email sends peaked a bit earlier than text messages (10am), but noon was the second-highest time. These trends confirm that brands want to engage shoppers earlier in the day.
This year, Black Friday surpassed Cyber Monday as the top send day for text messages. But Cyber Monday held the top day for email. Across channels, Sunday was the third-highest day for message sends, as brands primed shoppers for the new deals coming on Cyber Monday.
Cyber Week may be over, but that doesn’t mean consumers are done shopping. Check out these resources with tips for how to finish the year off strong: