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Keys to Black Friday 2023: Start Marketing Early and Prioritize Existing Customers

Optimove data highlights consumers' inclination to start holiday shopping early and demonstrates the need for brands to prioritize existing clients over new ones on their way to a strong Black Friday performance 

Retailers should start holiday shopping marketing early ahead of 2023 Black Friday and Cyber Monday and focus on existing customers, Optimove data shows. The data is from Optimove’s 2023 Holiday Shopping Survey and Report and post-2022 Black Friday analysis and research.

In 2022, Black Friday sales raked in a record $9.12 billion from online shoppers, making it one of the most significant shopping events of the year. 

Early Bird marketing land Black Friday customer

To meet customer expectations this year, marketers should not wait before they begin their marketing efforts. Fifty percent (50%) of consumers plan to start holiday shopping by the end of October, however, forty-six percent (46%) will not wait for Black Friday or Cyber Monday deals to start shopping, and 65% can be incentivized to start shopping earlier by discounted prices.

The data is clear: prioritize existing customers over new ones

When prioritizing marketing activities during the holiday season, the data could not be more revealing: existing customers should be your top priority during the holiday season, not new, first-time customers. Acquisition marketing is simply not the strategy that yields the most revenue. 

Existing customers vs. new customers

We dove deep into Black Friday 2022 data and found several reasons why your holiday season/peak times marketing strategy should prioritize some of your existing customers ABOVE new ones:

  • They spend more: Existing customers’ average order amount per customer is usually between 15-20% higher on average between Thanksgiving and the end of that year compared to “holiday new customers.”
  • They buy more items: Existing customers’ number of items per order is more than 20% higher than the average.
  • They are more loyal: Existing customers not only buy more during the holidays but also tend to retain a greater loyalty to the brand.
  • Retaining new holiday customers is hard: Holiday First Timers are 19% less likely to stick around.
  • VIPs matter more: They spend more (5X), buy more (4X), and order more times (2X).

Existing customers average order amount higher  

On Black Friday 2021, the average spend of existing customers was higher than newly acquired customers. New customers spent $94 on average while existing customers spent $113 that day.  

On Cyber Monday, new customers spent $91 on average, while existing customers spent $107 that day. 

Existing customers average number of items purchased higher

The average number of items customers purchased during peak season last year was lower for new customers versus existing ones, 1.57 versus 1.94 items on Black Friday and 1.55 versus 1.85 items on Cyber Monday, respectively.  

Black Friday

Cyber Monday 

Existing customers “beat” new customers across the board:

  • Order amount: 17% higher with existing customers 
  • Number of items per order: 19% higher with existing customers 
  • Retention rates: a whopping 116% higher with existing customers

The numbers have spoken: two takeaways

Customers will start shopping early this Holiday Season. Brands’ marketing playbooks should be ready to accommodate them with personalized and relevant offers, allowing them to lead their own marketing journey that further cements their brand trust and loyalty.

New customers are not the key to a successful Black Friday and Cyber Monday. First-time customers tend to purchase fewer items and spend less compared to existing customers who are more confident to spend with the brand. Existing customers buy more, spend more, and are likelier to return and shop again.

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Guy Leshno

Guy Leshno, a seasoned PR and Communications professional, with a successful track record in leading PR strategies and projects in emerging startups. With over a decade of experience, his expertise lies in blending creative ideation, analytics, and expert writing capabilities, driving brand awareness, and improving sales.