Black Friday and Cyber Monday 2012 Stats for the Small Online Merchant

Small Gift All the stats and data for this past Black Friday and Cyber Monday have either been for physical retailers or very large online e-tailers. Not much is focused on the small merchant that is selling on the internet.

I thought it would be interesting to see how the little guys and gals did in comparison to the giants…

What this data represents

Our data is a random sampling of small merchants selling online. How do we define small merchants? For the stats to count, the store must have at least 10 orders over a rolling 5 day average. This means they average at least 2 orders per day or more.

We do this to weed out inactive stores, stores in test mode, and those that don’t regularly see daily activity. All the while making sure not to exclude actual small merchants whose volume may only be 60-100 orders per month.

We look at a random sampling of around 100 stores, and we also look at sales for the same set of stores year over year for two points of comparison.

Data includes number of orders and total revenue.

How the Big Etailers Did

According to comScore, here is how the big players did on Thanksgiving, Black Friday, and Cyber Monday:

Thanksgiving – Sales were up 32% from 2011 for large online stores.

Black Friday – Sales were up 28% from 2011

Cyber Monday – Sales were up 17% from 2011

Trend – Higher number of transactions overall, lower average ticket values.

The issue with these type of stats is we’re not sure how they were derived, or what they actually include in terms of types of stores, but it’s a good measure nonetheless.

Do the “little” stores track with this?

Here are the stats for small online merchants…


  • For same stores in 2011/2012, revenue up 7%, number of orders up 45%

Black Friday:

  • 17% increase in revenue per store from 2011 to 2012
  • Orders per store up 27% from 2011
  • For same stores in 2011 and 2012, revenue up 13%, number of orders up 11%, Average order value up 3%

Cyber Monday:

  • 8% increase in revenue per store
  • Orders per store up 13%
  • For same stores in 2011/2012, revenue up 21%, number of orders up 11%, Average order value up 8%

What about relative volume?

Mondays tend to be our clients’ busiest days. Compared to a typical Monday:

  • Thanksgiving revenue volume was 35% lower than a typical Monday.
  • Black Friday volume was 45% higher than a typical Monday.
  • Cyber Monday volume was 100% higher than a typical Monday.

Here are two graphs showing trends from 2009 to 2012 for small online stores:

orders per store for small merchants 2009 to 2012

Orders Per Store 2009-2012 (click to enlarge)


Revenue per store for small merchants 2009 to 2012

Revenue per store 2009-2012 (click to enlarge)

What can we conclude?

Overall, small online merchants saw an increase in both number of sales and revenue this year compared to 2011. That is a good thing! It tracks with the overall trend reported by comScore.

For Thanksgiving, although overall volume was not very high, the number of orders placed was almost 50% more. However, revenue was only up a little as compared to the 32% big retailers saw. This may be due to more people hitting up the big names for steep discounts prior to Black Friday, and the heavy advertising I saw for Amazon, Walmart etc.. for Thanksgiving shopping.

For Black Friday, again, small merchants were up, but just not as high as the larger online stores. Could be due to aggressive advertising and discounts…

Cyber Monday is similar, with our overall random stores revenue up a little less than the big stores, but for our sample of the same stores from 2011 to 2012, they beat the big etailers by 4 percent!

Small merchants track with the trend of more orders overall, but in a surprising and good way, small merchants saw slight higher average order values, as opposed to the smaller order values seen by the big merchants.

Hopefully this data is helpful to gauge how the small online stores performed on these three big shopping days this season. I’ll follow-up in January with trends and graphs for how the entire shopping season panned out.


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