December 3, 2021

Essence of Email Weekly - Cyber Week sales dip

Consumers spent less during Black Friday and Cyber Monday this year than they did in 2020. Since the holiday shopping started earlier this year, consumers bought less by Thanksgiving.

Zoom in: People spent $10.7 billion on Cyber Monday, which is 1.4% less than last year. At the same time, spending during Cyber Week (from Thanksgiving through November 29) was $33.9 billion, down 1.4%, according to Adobe Analytics. All in all, consumers spent $100 million less on Cyber Monday than they did a year ago. Black Friday spending also came in lower: 1.3% less ($8.9 billion) than in 2020.

Adobe says this marks the first time online spending actually dipped during the Black Friday period ever since they started tracking results back in 2012.

"With early deals in October, consumers were not waiting around for discounts on big shopping days like Cyber Monday and Black Friday. This was further fueled by growing awareness of supply chain challenges and product availability," said Taylor Schreiner, director of Adobe Digital Insights.

But holiday season shopping as a whole is on track to break online shopping records and outshine 2020 by 10%. Overall spending in November still exceeds 2020 totals, up 11.9% ($109.8 billion).

The takeaway: The results could have been expected. The new pace of the holiday shopping season has changed from the pre-pandemic wait-wait-rush to a slow-and-steady approach. What's more, brick-and-mortar stores saw an increase in revenue this year, which has affected online sales too. Whether or not this trend continues in the following years, remains to be seen.


A surge in phishing kits

Source: Giphy
This holiday season saw an increase in phishing kits that imitate major brands such as Amazon.

What's a phishing kit? It's a set of materials and tools that allows scammers with little technical ability to create a convincing phish. Someone in need of a large-scale attack can also use it to deploy a phishing campaign at short notice. The victims may get an email and download an attachment that seems to be from a brand they trust and end up being served malware.

The top brand for fraudulent web pages this year is Amazon, with a 55% increase in kits targeting the brand in October and November. In addition, the security firm Egress saw 6,643 active typosquatting domains being set up to target holiday shoppers (typosquatting happens when consumers enter URLs incorrectly, for instance,

And cybercriminals know how to quickly make use of such mistakes. 200 new phishing kits imitating Amazon emails have been found on dark and clear web forums in the week before Black Friday. Some were sold for as little as $40.

Researchers also observed a dark web forum that showed a user applying a Black Friday discount to a custom inbox validation tool. It is believed that the tool is used by cybercriminals to anonymously access email inboxes and validate the credentials they've stolen via phishing.

The lowdown: Phishing as a service (PhaaS) has lowered the barriers to entry for cybercriminals. It's making it easy to impersonate famous brands and trick users. What users can do to protect themselves against this is to take extreme caution when it comes to unexpected offers and discounts. In case they receive an email they think looks suspicious, they should not open it nor click or download any attachments.


Twitter bans posting people's photos without their consent

Source: Giphy
Twitter will from now allow people to request takedowns of photos and videos they're in. The news came on Tuesday morning as the extension of the existing ban on private information to cover media. Interestingly, it includes exceptions for posts that are "shared in the public interest or add value to public discourse."

The rule potentially covers all "media of private individuals without the permission of the person(s) depicted," but Twitter's blog post provides scenarios where Twitter wouldn't remove that media. It's not applicable to people who are public figures (politicians, celebrities, and other well-known people).

"We recognize that there are instances where account holders may share images or videos of private individuals in an effort to help someone involved in a crisis situation, such as in the aftermath of a violent event, or as part of a newsworthy event due to public interest value, and this might outweigh the safety risks to a person," it is said in the post. Twitter might also leave media online if it's being covered by traditional news outlets. And it will consider "if a particular image and the accompanying tweet text adds value to the public discourse, is being shared in public interest, or is relevant to the community."

The goal is to remove media that is fueling online harassment campaigns. In practice, though, the implementation will likely depend on moderators judging the nuance of a particular situation.

In other news: Jack Dorsey stepped down as CEO of Twitter. However, there's no indication that this policy change is related to his departure.


Spreading holiday cheer

Source: ReallyGoodEmails
Time to get Christmasy! Advent calendars are a great way to spread holiday excitement and spice up your brand promos. And what's a better way to cozy up and relax before the holidays than a glass of wine in your pajamas while the fire's crackling?

GoodPairDays' email promoting an advent calendar will inspire you and show you how it's done!

Although the design is not particularly Christmasy, there are subtle elements pointing towards it. Still, the main focus is on the body copy and, surprisingly, on the product packaging itself!

With its pastel colors, wonderful packaging, and a perfect example of how even email copy and packaging copy can work together, this is an example of a well-rounded and perfectly promoted offer. Brands, take notes!

Source: ReallyGoodEmails

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