As vaccines rolled out and Covid-19 restrictions were lifted, consumers slowly started leaving behind the “homebody economy” in the first half of 2021. Consumers’ pent up desire to spend was prominent in Q2, aligning with major shopping events like Amazon Prime Day and Memorial Day. As the year continues, eMarketer predicts consumer eCommerce spending will reach around $933B, rising 17.9% YoY and making up roughly 15% of total retail sales1.
- Home & Home Improvement was the top performing category in H1 in terms of sales, with Services and Travel & Vacations following behind. Personal Finance saw growth as well and increased its number of Frontpage deals in H1 YoY.
- Ad spend grew YoY with significant increases in budgets allocated towards the Superbowl, Prime Day, and Memorial Day.
- Sponsored content bookings increased YoY suggesting a focus on driving brand awareness and consumer loyalty as shoppers continue trying new brands and products.
Slickdeals' Category Performance Overview in H1
The top sales-driving category in H1 on Slickdeals was Home & Home Improvement. In 2020, the Covid-19 pandemic influenced a spike in home renovation projects, increasing consumer spending by 7% in the second half of 2020 and the early months of 20212. On Slickdeals, we saw sales grow steadily from February to June, with a trailing decline post-Prime Day.
One of the most noteworthy jumps in sales YoY was for Services (81%), nearly doubling its numbers from H1 2020. Last year, streaming video on demand (SVOD) users increased by nearly 21% and are expected to surpass 1 billion in 20213.
Clothing & Accessories sales were on the decline YoY (23%) in H1 but saw a slight bump in July, presumably due to the start of Back-to-School shopping. In a recent survey with OnePoll, Slickdeals found that many shoppers are planning to allocate a large portion of their back-to-school budgets towards apparel4.
A not-so-surprising increase in sales within the Travel & Vacations category occurred in H1 as vaccines rolled out and consumers began searching for travel deals. The number of travel deals that made up the Slickdeals frontpage jumped 30% YoY with traffic (clicks) increasing by nearly 47%. eMarketer predicts digital travel sales to reach over $132B in 2021 and grow an additional 30% in 20225.
With a 129% increase in Frontpage deals in H1 YoY, the Personal Finance category on Slickdeals has seen a lot of growth so far in 2021. As consumers began ramping up their spending in early 2021, the search for credit cards that provided enticing cashback offers and relevant rewards began to rise. According to eMarketer, digital ad spend for financial services increased almost 17% YoY6.
H1 Ad Spend Trends on Slickdeals
Seasonal ad spend YoY increased across several major holiday events in H1. The most notable increase in ad spend, behind Prime Day, was for the Superbowl while the seasonal event with the biggest decrease in ad spend was Mother’s Day. Lower spending on Mother’s Day could be attributed to brands allocating a larger portion of their ad budget to Prime Day, which saw an earlier shopping date and a massive YoY increase in ad spend.
Brand marketing thrived on Slickdeals in H1
Consumer confidence and in-person spending took a hit in 2020 as a result of the pandemic. As shoppers started reevaluating their spending habits and cutting costs, brands turned towards content marketing to keep consumers engaged or win over those looking to try new brands or products.
We saw this trend continue in the first half of 2021 with more content booked YoY on Slickdeals. According to a 2021 BrandTotal survey, roughly 39% of CMOs stated that between 26% and 50% of their advertising budget supports brand awareness and consideration7. This extended focus on content marketing and strategy could be the result of the continued “loyalty crisis” many brands are experiencing. Per McKinsey & Co., as many as 30-40% of consumers are continuing to switch brands or retailers, seeking brands that align with their personal values and emphasize quality8.
Slickdeals’ Predictions for H2
- As mask mandates return and hospitalization rates rise due to Covid-19 variants, the Travel & Vacations category could see another dip in H2, even with holiday travel.
- Brand marketing will continue to play a large role in eCommerce strategy, especially on social shopping sites like Slickdeals where brand discovery is emphasized.
1 US Ecommerce Forecast 2021, eMarketer, July 8, 2021
2 How the 2021 home-improvement boom became another division between boomers and millennials, Business Insider, May 2020
3 The video streaming segment will pass 1 billion users in 2021, Señal News, July 2021
4 Back to School Budget Blues Consumer Survey, OnePoll, n=2000, July 2021
5 eMarketer, May 2021
6 eMarketer, June 2021
7 CMOs on Creativity, BrandTotal, May 4, 2021
8 US consumer sentiment and behaviors during the coronavirus crisis, McKinsey & Company, August 11, 2021