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Cyber 5 Sales Recap: Which categories and brands crushed it during Black Friday and Cyber Monday

December 20, 2018
Sandy Skrovan
Written By
Sandy Skrovan

The five-day shopping event starting on Thanksgiving and ending on Cyber Monday has affectionately been dubbed “Cyber 5” weekend. It’s a time of year when we, as consumers, channel our primal hunter instincts and battle each other (often physically) to find the biggest and best deals. Using our proprietary sales & share estimation technology, Profitero decided to investigate the hype behind this Cyber 5 phenomenon. We analyzed unit sales across 5 key categories on Amazon before and during the Cyber 5 weekend, comparing these peak selling days against average daily sales during the Nov. 9 – 26, 2018 time frame.

Here’s what we learned:

(Note: All numbers in the charts below show unit sales on an index. A sales index of 100 is the average daily unit sales on Amazon for the period studied: Nov. 9 – 26, 2018; an index of 200 is equal to double the daily average sales.)

1. Cyber Monday trumps Black Friday

Black Friday may be the big selling event in brick and mortar, but on Amazon, it’s clear that Cyber Monday rules the roost. Unit sales were up 2.6x on Cyber Monday compared with average daily sales during the period studied. This bested Black Friday’s 1.8x sales increase. Sales — though higher than average — normalized a bit on Saturday and Sunday of the Cyber 5 weekend.


Brands should consider this from two angles. On one hand, investing in promotions on Cyber Monday may be best because traffic and shopper demand spikes highest on this day, so you can capture more of that natural interest in Amazon. On the other hand, it may be smart to focus deals on the down days between Black Friday and Cyber Monday, when there’s less competition for keywords and attention. At Profitero, many of our clients focused their strategy on quiet days before Thanksgiving when competition among brands was lowest.

2. Toys and TVs were hot categories

Of the categories studied, the hotly contested Toys & Games category recorded the highest sales spike on Cyber Monday: +3.4x the category average (index of 343). But toys had a strong showing on Black Friday too, with unit sales up +2.3x. These results shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise given Toys R Us’ shutdown earlier this year. A vacuum was left in the toy category with everyone, including Amazon, wanting to win those shoppers looking for their Toys R Us replacement.

(Hint: Use drop-down or scroll bar on the top of the following 2 charts to view Black Friday vs. Cyber Monday results)


On Black Friday, the typically high-gifting Electronics category outperformed other categories in terms of unit sales increases (except for the aforementioned Toys & Games). Within Electronics, TVs were a hot commodity with unit sales topping 3x the norm (an index of 309) on Black Friday. Other sub-categories, including speakers and headphones, sold well during the Cyber 5 weekend as well.


3. Sales rose tenfold for some brands during Cyber 5

Drilling down to the brand level, there’s evidence of some brands leveraging the holiday shopping event more than what’s considered ‘average’ for their respective categories.

For example, in small appliances, a brand like Instant Pot recorded a sales index of 747 on Cyber Monday, which translates to a 7.5x unit sales increase versus the brands’ average daily sales for the studied time period. Compare this to the small appliance category average of 292 for the same day. It’s evident that Instant Pot put all its Amazon promotional efforts into Cyber Monday and not Black Friday this year, since the brand’s Black Friday index came up short at 30 versus the category average of 195.

(Hint: Use drop-down or scroll bar on the top of the chart to view results for different categories and brands)


Toshiba Fire TV case study: Earning an Amazon Best Seller badge

Seasonal sales events, like the Black Friday/Cyber Monday weekend (or Prime Day), present a good opportunity for brands to drive traffic and conversion, and earn some Amazon badges — like Best Seller and Amazon’s Choice — along the way.

Let’s look at a specific product example where we saw this happen: Toshiba’s 32-inch HD Smart LED TV – Fire TV Edition.

Toshiba’s Fire TV (for short) was one of the highest selling products in the TV category this season. With a regular retail price of $180.00, Toshiba aggressively promoted the item at a $50-off discount for $129.99 on Black Friday. Its efforts appear to have paid off:

  • Unit sales spiked, with Toshiba selling 4.2x more Fire TVs on Black Friday compared with average unit sales during the full 18-day analysis period.
  • Toshiba Fire TV’s page ranking for the keyword “smart TV” skyrocketed — moving from 18th place in the two-week run-up to Black Friday up to 3rd place throughout the Black Friday/Cyber Monday weekend.
  • The item effectively earned its Amazon Best Seller badge on Black Friday and, importantly, retained it for the remainder of the weekend and beyond, providing a halo effect during the all-important holiday sales season.


There are some important lessons to be learned here: Give some serious consideration — time, effort and dollars — when planning your Amazon promotions. Be sure to hit the “right” seasons and sales events critical to your categories. The benefits can be far-reaching and enduring.


To see how you performed during the Cyber 5 weekend, contact us about accessing data specific to your brand or product. We could have some data on-hand and ready to share, or can set you up to trial Profitero’s Amazon Analytics FREE for 30 days.


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