Black Friday and Cyber Monday, the focal points of the holiday shopping season, are now past us. Marketers and retailers have activated their strategies in an effort to win the attention — and wallets — of today’s connected customers. More than ever, brands are tailoring efforts to the individual shopping journey, providing the right product or offer at just the right time, making every interaction count. Early indicators show those strategies paid off, and in one major surprising way.

According to Salesforce Commerce Cloud data, this year, Black Friday surpassed Cyber Monday as the year’s biggest digital shopping day. This was led by two transformational shifts: first, that the holiday shopper has pulled their digital spending forward to Black Friday and second, that retailers (not just consumers) approach Black Friday as a key digital shopping day. That means that neither shoppers nor retailers are waiting for Cyber Monday anymore. Strong apparel growth, specifically 38% growth in active apparel, on Black Friday, helped bolster that day’s expansion. At the same time, Black Friday has become a strong digital day beyond the United States, with Canada, France, Germany and the UK all registering faster growth on Friday than Monday.

In fact, Cyber Monday revenue growth this year slowed by nearly ten percentage points, to 16%, compared with last year, while traffic growth to retail sites also slowed by ten percentage points. Overall, Cyber Week is carrying a bigger share of the season’s revenue, even during a year where there are more days between American Thanksgiving and Christmas Day. This means that these first few days play an even bigger part in retailers’ success for the entire year.

Consumers Enjoy the Frenzy

According to Marketing Cloud Social Studio, there were almost 20 million social posts related to holiday, Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Sentiment was upbeat on social media, with 73.1% of the holiday mentions being positive.

Mobile Usage Explodes

Shoppers were mobile on Black Friday, as phones accounted for 37% of orders and 56% of traffic. With people constantly on the move, retailers are leveraging mobile messaging. Our customers sent 36 million SMS, MMS messages, and push notifications using Marketing Cloud on Black Friday alone, over a 225% increase from 2015.

Email Remains the Most Popular Digital Channel

This year, our Marketing Cloud customers sent more than 2.53 billion emails using Marketing Cloud on Black Friday, a 23% increase over Black Friday 2015. It is also a 58% increase over our daily average in November, where we sent more than one billion messages 26 days of the month. Marketing Cloud topped out at a whopping 213 million emails sent in a single hour on Black Friday and over 12 billion emails through the holiday period.

Artificial Intelligence Increases Personalized Experiences for Customers

In addition to delivering a record amount of message volume, our customers are connecting with personalized experiences using Salesforce Einstein. Marketing Cloud predictive intelligence, powered by Einstein, leverages data science and machine learning to automatically determine the next best offer, product, or content for each customer and delivers it across all channels. Our research has found that high-performing marketers are 10.7x more likely to extensively use predictive intelligence than low performers. On Cyber Monday, Marketing Cloud Einstein powered 68 million unique predictions, with a peak of 1,333 predictions per second. On Black Friday, we powered 61 million predictions. These volumes represent a 25% increase over last year.

What’s Next?

A transformational force is making its way through every industry, shifting from simply selling products to creating unique customer experiences. As the data above illustrates, customers are shopping on their own terms customers now expect businesses to personalize their experience and proactively engage with them and predict their needs at every touchpoint. We look forward to continued success with our customers, this holiday season and beyond.