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2021 Prime Day

What Can Brands Predict for Cyber 5 in 2021?

At the risk of stating the obvious, the 2020 holiday season was one for the books. The pandemic wreaked havoc with how we celebrated, and it also impacted how, and when, we shopped. As expected, lockdowns and social distancing made online holiday shopping more commonplace than ever before. But, it was the timing of holiday promotions that really shook things up.  

Cyber 5 2020 Recap 

Cyber 5 weekend, the span between Thanksgiving Day and Cyber Monday, is usually the official kick-off to the holiday shopping season, and the time when the best deals are available. 2020, however, looked different. Although it was still the most popular time of the year to make online purchases, promotions were spread out more and lasted longer than ever. We also saw larger retailers closing their brick and mortar on Thanksgiving for the first time. Let’s take a look at the recap: 

Prime Day made a move:  

Last year, Amazon moved their biggest shopping days of the year from their typical summer dates to October 15 and 16, and even advertised Black Friday deals for Prime Day. Other larger retailers piggybacked on this approach. The result was that Prime Day 2020 became the unofficial start of the holiday shopping season. According to Digital Commerce 360, 62% of consumers bought gifts online at this time. 

Shipping delays and lack of inventory were prevalent:

“Shop early” was the 2020 holiday slogan for retailers, and with good reason. The pandemic caused shipping problems and inventory issues.  In an effort to promote early shopping, many online brands offered Black Friday deals beginning the Monday before Thanksgiving.  

Cyber 5 2020

High online traffic caused big problems:  

According to our Community Benchmark Analytics, peak traffic for Cyber 5 2020 occurred at 12:00 PM on Black Friday. The increased traffic across all eCommerce platforms caused slow load times, inconsistencies with pages, and even lost carts. These factors, added to PayPal going down in North America and the UK, equaled lost sales during Cyber 5.  

What this means for Cyber 5 2021 

As of now, it’s looking like the 2021 holiday season will have a more normal feel — but what about our shopping habits?  Year over year, we’ve seen continual growth in Cyber 5 sales, but will the Thanksgiving weekend continue its reign as king of eCommerce or will consumers continue last year’s spread of holiday buying over a longer time frame? 

Why shoppers might hold off until Cyber 5: 

  • Amazon has moved Prime Day back to June this year, far too early to have an impact on holiday shopping. They could still push promotions this fall as well, but we won’t know until then. 
  • Shipping and inventory problems seem to have been solved as brands have caught up with the new pace. This dilutes the sense of urgency to purchase items far in advance. 

Why shoppers might continue holiday purchases in advance of Cyber 5: 

  • Inflation has been rearing its ugly head and there is concern that its rate will continue to rise over the next few months.  
  • Add in scarcity of the raw materials needed for electronics and it’s easy to see higher prices for some products on the horizon.  
  • Additionally, the pandemic has changed our habits and our view of what holiday shopping looks like.  


It’s hard to know for sure how much eCommerce growth we’ll see during Cyber 5 this year, but one thing we can all bank on is that online shopping will play a significant role. Being prepared to handle high volume traffic and having the ability to know when 3rd parties have an impact on your site’s performance, can make the difference between a high and low conversion rate on your site this holiday season. 

To make sure that your company is ready before, during, and after Cyber 5, get your FREE Site Performance Snapshot today!