Going into the highly anticipated shopping period from Thanksgiving to Cyber Monday, inflation set a gray backdrop.
With inflation up 7.7% in October and retailers handling inventory dilemmas, some brands may have been worried about how consumers were going to spend.
Data following the holiday event shows shoppers spent $9.12 billion online during Black Friday, with some even opting to use buy now, pay later to finalize purchases. Consumers spent a record $11.3 billion on Cyber Monday, where shoppers forked over $12.8 million every minute during the peak hour of 8 p.m. to 9 p.m. Pacific Standard Time.
E-commerce giant Amazon touted its performance during the shopping period last week, saying it was its biggest yet, selling “hundreds of millions of products.”
“This was a record-breaking holiday shopping weekend for Amazon. Customers shopped millions of deals this weekend and we have many more amazing deals to come,” Doug Herrington, CEO of Worldwide Amazon Stores, said in a statement at the time.
But how did direct-to-consumer brands fare?
After experiencing a tough year, DTC brands likely hoped to see some relief during the holiday shopping extravaganza. Several digitally native brands, once deemed unicorns, saw their valuations plummet over the past year or so, turning to layoffs to ease the impact a return to stores — plus inflation — has had on their businesses.
Nonetheless, a handful of DTC companies reported promising results from the Thanksgiving to Cyber Monday weekend, indicating consumers aren’t ready to strictly shop with the big players yet.
DTC furniture and home decor company Wayfair has had a particularly rough year. In its Q3 earnings report this November, the retailer reported it lost around 1 million active users from Q2. Net revenue fell 9% year over year to $2.8 billion and operating loss increased to $372 million from $70 million in 2021.
During the latest holiday shopping period, however, Wayfair reported “strong results,” according to a press release from last week. The retailer said that between Thanksgiving and Cyber Monday, sales increased by a “low single digit” compared to the same period last year in the U.S. The home sector saw shoppers eyeing premium comfort items and hosting essentials.
Black Friday was Wayfair’s biggest sales day, noting that shoppers bought a piece of bedding every five seconds on the day. Sales of extendable dining tables along with bar cart sales showed consumers are eager to host again, the retailer said.
Repeat customers made up 73% of holiday orders during the entire shopping weekend and “hundreds of thousands” of new customers made orders.
“In fact, leading up to Cyber Five, our November year-over-year revenue trends strengthened relative to the down 10 percent quarter-to-date update we shared on our recent conference call, with the Cyber Five period itself comping flat for the company,” Niraj Shah, CEO, co-founder and co-chairman of Wayfair, said in a statement.
Parachute, another home-oriented DTC retailer, reported some success as well during the period. The brand, which first launched with bedding textiles, expanded into living room furniture in October.
The company sold one robe every minute during its eight-day holiday sale, according to data shared with Retail Dive. Down duvet insert sales at the brand were up 30% this year, and over 30% of in-store shoppers during the period were new customers to Parachute.
On the non-home front, suiting brand Indochino saw a 36% increase in Black Friday to Cyber Monday sales compared to 2021, according to data shared with Retail Dive. The brand entered the womenswear market in August to expand its customer base. Its 86 stores across North America saw a 16% year-over-year bump for in-store appointments.
E-commerce software provider Shopify also reported that the independent brands it works with saw an increase in customers this year.
Shopify said over 52 million customers globally made purchases from brands it works with during the shopping weekend, which is up 12% year over year. Additionally, some of the top trending products from Shopify clients included the Our Place Always Pan and Gymshark Training Leggings, with apparel and accessories being the top category, per a press release.
“This year, Black Friday Cyber Monday showed us once again that consumers are voting with their wallets to support the independent brands they love,” Harley Finkelstein, president of Shopify, said in a statement. “We saw record level shopping happening across all channels this weekend, proving businesses that meet their customers where they are, whether that’s online or in-person, will earn their loyalty in return.”