Thanksgiving weekend marks the official kickoff of the busy holiday selling season for many small businesses and retailers around the world. It’s the most critical and most profitable time of year for many of our customers, so it’s incredibly important to us at Mailchimp, too. Especially this year.
Through much of 2020, small businesses, restaurants, and non-profits shifted their marketing strategies because of the pandemic. And Thanksgiving weekend was no different. From longer promotions and increased e-comm activity to using more channels in addition to email, here’s some of the interesting ways our customers used Mailchimp to reach their goals from Thanksgiving Day through Giving Tuesday.
Mailchimp customers are sending more effective campaigns.
Over Thanksgiving weekend (Thanksgiving through Giving Tuesday), Mailchimp customers sent nearly 9 billion emails and generated over 19 million orders through Mailchimp. Email send volume from Mailchimp customers stayed consistent year over year, yet customers generated 36% more orders this year. This shows our customers are sending more effective emails and generating more orders per email this year compared to last.
Customers around the globe also got in on the Thanksgiving weekend shopping frenzy. The top cities for orders generated throughout the weekend were London, Los Angeles, New York City, and Toronto.
Retailers started holiday promotions early.
During the month of November, there was a 7% increase in email send volume compared to 2019, which aligns with trends we saw from retailers that shifted some deals away from Black Friday and Cyber Monday to earlier in the month. In fact, during November, our customers offered 10 million promotions— 39% more than the same period last year.
One of our customers, East Fork, a pottery company based in Asheville, North Carolina, knew that this year’s holiday shopping season would look different. Instead of running a series of holiday promotions, they focused on a long-term plan for the year and adjusted their sales strategy to prepare for changes brought on by the pandemic.
They’ve used email newsletters to reach customers—with promising results. During Q4 of 2020, East Fork’s average open rate increased by 3.9%, and their click rate jumped over 7%. Their sales are up nearly 6% quarter to date this year compared to 2019, with an average order value increase from $106.97 in 2019 to $119.94 in 2020.¹
“In 2020 we shifted our marketing budget to accommodate fluctuating inventory levels and selling structure, and we’ve come to rely heavily on our [email] newsletter to keep our customers up to speed, but also to tell meaningful, beautiful, substantial stories about the humans at East Fork and what we eat, drink, feel, believe, dream about, and worry about. Mailchimp has everything we need for us to make newsletters that people look forward to reading,” said Connie Matisse, co-founder and CMO at East Fork.
Multi-channel marketing and feature use increased.
In addition to email, Mailchimp customers also experimented with other channels and tools throughout November. Using Mailchimp, our customers:
- Published nearly 20,000 surveys and received 700,000 responses,
- Generated over 1 million Creative Assistant designs,
- And published 52% more landing pages than last November.
This tells us that not only did retailers begin their holiday campaigns earlier this year, but that they used a variety of channels to reach their customers and grow their audiences.
Many industries increased their digital marketing activity.
We saw some interesting shifts in marketing and e-commerce activity among industries this year compared to last. Mailchimp customers in the beauty and personal care, health and fitness, and food service industries increased their e-comm activity significantly, while computers and electronics, arts, and sports companies saw decreases in sales. This makes sense as more consumers are opting to stay home, prioritizing health and self-care, and trying more meal and food delivery services.
Many companies in the restaurant, non-profit, and education and training industries—all industries that have been hit hard by COVID-19 and forced to pivot—increased their email marketing activity from Thanksgiving through Giving Tuesday this year compared to the same period last year. Also:
- Non-profits sent 65% more emails (155 million alone on Giving Tuesday!),
- Education and training companies sent 39% more emails,
- Arts and artists sent 15% more emails,
- And restaurants and venues sent 37% more emails.
We also shared earlier this year that email marketing around the first half of 2020 for restaurants and venues was up 22% and up 20% for education and training compared to the same time in 2019, and the trend has persisted as these industries are continuing to adapt and innovate in order to keep serving their customers and meet them where they are.
Zai Divecha, a paper sculpture artist and Mailchimp customer based in San Francisco, prioritized digital marketing this holiday season and saw a 159% jump in sales**. In 2019, Divecha put very little emphasis on holiday marketing, but due to significant shifts in her revenue from corporate commissions to consumers this year, she prioritized connecting with the right audience at the right time.
“Most years, the majority of my revenue comes from corporate installations, so the holidays haven’t historically been a big deal for me,” said Divecha. “But due to COVID, I’ve had fewer corporate installs than usual this year, and I’ve noticed a rise in residential sales. This year, I decided how many new works of art I could reasonably create and ship by Christmas, and announced when I’d release them through my Mailchimp newsletter. The sale was a success, and I enjoyed the process.”
As expected, email activity in the travel and tourism industry decreased by 28% YoY, and entertainment and events decreased by 11%. We hope to help small businesses in these industries get back on track in the new year.
We expect to see even more marketing activity on our platform through the end of the year as retailers work to stay connected with their customers and consumers continue to do more of their holiday shopping online.
December 11, 2020
¹Results from using Mailchimp varies.
²Results not typical.