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A Million Dollars in a Day, Twice: Black Friday and Cyber Monday Field Report

On Black Friday this year, Gumroad creators made over one million dollars in a day. Three days later, on Cyber Monday, we did it again. Overall, in the fortnight leading up to Black Friday and Cyber Monday, Gumroad creators made about twice as much as the same period last year. This figure, which we in the industry call Gross Merchandise Volume (GMV), gives us a sense of the size of the creator economy on Gumroad and is one of our most important metrics because it means that creators are making money! This post breaks down the data on end-of-November sales in 2020 and compares this year to three previous years. Spoiler alert: it was a huge week for creators.

Black Friday is a great opportunity for creators to run discounts and benefit from worldwide excitement to find the best deals of the year.

The Excitement Grew Bigger: Year-over-Year GMV

Year-over-year, Black Friday was 80.05% bigger than it was in 2019, and Cyber Monday was 93.54% bigger. Here is how that stacks up to previous growth:

Year-over-year GMV growth on Black Friday

  • 2018 over 2017: 74.95%
  • 2019 over 2018: 19.43%
  • 2020 over 2019: 80.05%

Year-over-year GMV growth on Cyber Monday

  • 2018 over 2017: 56.33%
  • 2019 over 2018: 7.73%
  • 2020 over 2019: 93.54%

However, Gumroad's daily GMV overall went up an average of 104.29% from the Tuesday before Thanksgiving week through the end of Cyber Monday. So, why did Black Friday and Cyber Monday grow less than the average day during this two-week period?

The Excitement Spread Wider: Day-over-Day GMV

Time flows strangely in 2020. Even major retailers were holding so-called "Black Friday" sales over a week or more, mostly online, to avoid incentivizing crowds for in-person shopping. We can look at day-over-day change from one day to the same day of the previous week (to account for any fluctuation of purchases in a weekly cadence) to explain Black Friday and Cyber Monday's lagging growth.

Day-over-day GMV on Black Friday versus Friday the previous week:

  • 2017 DoD: 61.99%
  • 2018 DoD: 225.83%
  • 2019 DoD: 212.37%
  • 2020 DoD: 132.25%

In 2018 and 2019, Black Friday more than tripled the GMV of the previous Friday, but this year it was more like double the previous week's Friday. Where did those sales go?

Anecdotally, lots of creators, including several who work for Gumroad, started Black Friday sales a week or so before Black Friday and run them through Cyber Monday. This spread out the spike over several days, contributing to the higher general daily GMV over the fortnight as a whole but lower increases on Black Friday specifically.

Overall, Gumroad processed over $7.8 million for creators in two weeks this year, as opposed to under $4 million last year. Whether those sales came over the course of a day or a week, the simple takeaway is that the end of November is one of the best times of the year for creators to earn a living doing what they love.

Black Friday may be over for the year, but that doesn't mean you want to stop finding customers. Sign up for free for our #SaleEveryDay challenge to get daily tips for increasing your sales.

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