Voice of the Industry

Young convenience-driven consumers: the prime mover for Black Friday and Cyber Monday growth in 2021

Thursday 4 November 2021 09:41 CET | Editor: Andra Constantinovici | Voice of the industry

AfterPay’s Johan Rönnerman talks Peak Season 2021, touching upon the latest information provided through AfterPay Insights, the company’s data intelligence platform

As of October 2021, between 80-90% of Dutch, German, Norwegian and British consumers are aware of any of the top peak season sales like Halloween, Singles’ Day, Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Consumers’ awareness has not changed significantly since 2020. But more consumers intend to shop during Peak Season sales this year than last year: 45% in 2021, compared to 37% in 2020 – an increase of +8%. Significant, especially when placed in the light of the ‘pandemic’ year 2020 and its amplified impact on ecommerce. 

AfterPay Insights, our data intelligence platform, decided to dive deeper into the above findings. What is behind consumers’ increased purchase intentions this year? Which consumers drive Peak Season growth? What are their demands during Peak Season – and beyond? 

Black Friday is most successful in converting aware consumers to paying customers in 2021

Of all Peak Season sales, consumers are most aware of Black Friday, with consumer awareness ranging from 63% in the Netherlands to 79% in Norway. And Black Friday is also most successful in converting consumers’ awareness into a concrete purchase intention: conversion rates for Black Friday vary between 40% and 56%, while the average conversion rate for other sales events like Cyber Monday, Halloween and Singles’ Day hovers between 12% and 40%. 


Black Friday is – traditionally – known as the event during which consumers can shop the best products and offers. At the same time, this sets high consumer expectations of merchants’ product and services offering for Peak ’21.  

'For merchants, it is essential to tap into consumers’ high expectations by providing information on Peak Season offers early on, enabling merchants to lock in and secure consumers’ purchase intentions.'

Although our results show that conversion rates for the smaller sales events are much lower, we see that shoppers’ loyalty (i.e. the intention to repurchase in 2021) to those events is on-par or higher than loyalty to Black Friday. In the Netherlands, for example, loyalty to Black Friday is 72%, while loyalty to St. Nicholas and Singles’ Day is 70%. And in Germany, the share of consumers who intend to repurchase during Singles’ Day (72%) is even higher than consumers’ loyalty to Black Friday (70%). In the United Kingdom, Halloween Shoppers stand out as particularly loyal (80% compared to 70% for Black Friday). 

Interestingly, Cyber Monday has the least loyal shoppers, showing that consumers’ behaviour is mostly opportunistic and is not a solid base for building long-lasting customer relationships. As a result of this, in combination with the higher awareness for Black Friday, Black Friday’s shopper base is expected to be 3,5 times bigger than that of Cyber Monday. But for both events, most consumers intend to buy Media/Electronics and Fashion – although Media/Electronics is expected to experience the biggest uplift in shopper share compared to consumers’ normal behaviour. 

Young convenience-driven newcomers to push growth

AfterPay Insights’ surveys show that newcomers (consumers who did not shop at Peak in 2020, but who do intend to shop at Peak in 2021) drive Peak Season growth this year. Overall, we see that 15-20% of newcomers will shop during at least one Peak Season sale, with Black Friday being the sale that – besides attracting most consumers overall – also attracts the most newcomers. In Germany for example, we see that 12% of Black Friday Shoppers are newcomers, compared to only 5% amongst Cyber Monday Shoppers – other sales events like Halloween and Singles’ Day show even lower newcomer figures. 

These ‘newcomers’ are evolved online shoppers: they already shop and spend more online than other consumers. We see that their online shopping behaviour this Peak Season, compared to last, is mostly driven by convenience and price-awareness aspects as newcomers are young and have children at home. 

'As convenience and price-awareness aspects are key drivers for newcomers to shop online this Peak, it comes as no surprise that – when it comes to webshop selection – they have higher demands regarding lowest price as well as flexibility, particularly when it comes to delivery, returns and payments.'

Our survey data also shows that newcomers are price sensitive and have significantly higher demands for webshops with a wide range of products and that offer flexibility in delivery/returns/payments – which ties into their higher overall demand for convenience - and webshops that they perceive to be secure. 

Consumers’ worries about health are currently unlikely to impact ecommerce behaviour

Consumers’ worries about their health remain stable at a level of 30-35% and are currently unlikely to change consumers’ shopping behaviour. But as the current (pandemic) status quo changes, consumers’ worries, work-life patterns and buying patterns will follow suit and impact their Peak Season shopping: as a pandemic situation in society worsens and consumers become more worried, the more likely they (are forced to) shift more purchases from offline to online channels.

However, our data over the past eighteen months shows that if consumers’ worries are to increase, the impact on Light and Medium Online Shoppers’ behaviour would probably be most noticeable as these consumers are more likely to easily shift back and between online and offline channels. By contrast, Heavy Shoppers are already sold on the convenience of online shopping – they show robust online shopping behaviour that is not easily affected by external factors like worries about health. Whichever way consumers’ attitudes and shopping behaviour develop, Peak 2021 promises to be yet another record-breaking season in the high-paced world of global ecommerce.

About Johan Rönnerman

Since 2018, Johan spearheads AfterPay’s journey from local Dutch payment hero to an international challenger. He holds over 20 years of international experience working in the intersection between commercial, tech, and innovation. Starting his career within Virtual Reality and robotics while spending the last two decades within digital and ecommerce for retail, insurance, and banking.

About AfterPay

AfterPay, a business unit within Arvato Financial Solutions, enables merchants to offer their consumers a convenient and safe way of paying – AfterPay enables consumers to pay at the pace of life. Their Buy Now Pay Later (BNPL) product, available in Central and Northern Europe, comes with five different payment options: the 14-Day Invoice, Campaign Invoice, Consolidated Invoice, Fixed Instalments, and AfterPay FLEX.

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Keywords: Afterpay, ecommerce, BNPL, online shopping, Black Friday, customer experience
Categories: Payments & Commerce
Countries: Europe
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