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3 Takeaways From Black Friday, Cyber Monday 2021


For the second year in a row, consumers purchased subscriptions at a record rate during the annual Black Friday, Cyber Monday event, according to internal Ordergroove data.

Below, we’ve detailed why subscriptions have stayed a strong seller and highlighted other critical takeaways from this year’s shopping extravaganza.

1. Subscriptions Are on the Rise — Even After COVID-19

One of the major eCommerce storylines in 2020 was the meteoric rise of subscriptions. Consumers who were unwilling or unable to shop at brick-and-mortar stores because of pandemic-related concerns flocked to subscriptions to get the products they loved delivered to their doorsteps.

But with the country opening back up and inching toward pre-COVID normalcy, some merchants have questioned whether consumers will stick with subscriptions.

This year’s BFCM data proves that merchants shouldn’t be concerned. Our analysis shows there was a 35% YoY increase in the number of consumers who signed up for a subscription during this year’s BFCM event. For context, during the same period in 2020, there was only a 17% YoY increase in subscribers.

Our take is that consumer demand increased because the pandemic normalized subscriptions. During the pandemic, consumers turned to subscriptions out of necessity. As a result, they experienced subscriptions’ benefits — specifically cost savings and convenience — and elected to keep using them.

2. Data Signals a Trend Toward BFCM Becoming One Single Event

With merchants starting sales early and keeping them running longer, Black Friday and Cyber Monday have started to slowly turn into one long, four-day shopping event. Our data signals a further blurring, as there were steady subscription sales across all four days, instead of a spike on Black Friday and Cyber Monday.

On a percentage basis, Sunday saw the largest increase in subscription conversions across BFCM. Consumers who signed up for a subscription on Sunday increased 53% YoY compared to 2020.

Monday was the most popular shopping day for subscriptions by volume. Cyber Monday subscribers were up 49% YoY.

3. Beauty, Food, and Pet Verticals Win Big

Consumer interest in beauty, food, and pet subscriptions was high this BFCM.

Beauty was a hot vertical for subscription even before the COVID-19 pandemic, but the health crisis accelerated consumer demand. To cope with stress, consumers adopted or expanded wellness routines. All these months later, consumers have continued to rely on subscriptions. Our 2021 BFCM data shows that beauty and personal care subscriptions grew 47% YoY.

Food subscriptions were up 62% YoY this BFCM. Like many successful verticals, this increase can be partially attributed to consumers becoming familiar with subscriptions during the pandemic and sticking with them.

Last year, pet adoption rates soared and as a result, there was a dramatic uptick in pet-related subscriptions during 2020 BFCM. This year, pet-related subscriptions remain high, though not as high as last year’s number. The number of shoppers who purchased pet-related during subscriptions during 2021 BFCM jumped 48% YoY.

A Successful Start to the Holiday Shopping Season

Subscriptions were in demand this Black Friday, Cyber Monday. We expect the trend to continue through the holiday shopping season and into the new year, as consumers use subscriptions to help keep their resolutions.

Special thanks to our friends at OrderGroove for their insights on this topic.
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