Cyber Monday: Premium Brands Scale Back

Absent from Cyber Monday and Black Friday promotions were premium direct-to-consumer brands. We checked the websites of 27 premium brands (and brands styling themselves as premium) on Black Friday and Cyber Monday and found only 7 of them offered promotions befitting the event (20% off or more). Below is Warby Parker’s landing page today.

Spend a lot, get a small free product. In general, fashion brands like Warby Parker, lululemon, birddogs, YETI Coolers, and Stitchfix offered little and less in terms of discounts. Instead some opted for a small product giveaway. For example, birddogs gave a free eyepatch with shorts purchase, YETI Coolers a free icepack with cooler purchase and Tecovas (hand made cowboy boots) a free bottle opener. Tim Murphy, CEO of Branch Basics (non-toxic cleaning products), elucidated the strategy shift to a small product giveaway, “they want to participate, they want to show up in your inbox, but they don’t want to cheapen the brand with a discount.” The giveaways cost the brands almost nothing, but consumers perceive the value of the giveaway at full retail price.

Walmart weighs in on Bonobos. An entertaining insight from our checks: One of the seven brands that was aggressively promoting was Bonobos. They’re a premium clothing brand, high price point, targeting young male professionals, but were offering 30% off site-wide. This level of discounting was out of place when we compare it to similar companies. Separately, looking back to 2015, Bonobos on Cyber Monday had a progressive discount that was not as aggressive as they’re running this year.  Our guess, Bonobos is now owned by Walmart (purchased in June of 2017 for $310m), and Walmart is taking a more promotional approach. Good news for young male professionals looking for “red merlot chinos”.

Below are landing pages today for sample of 6 e-commerce brands that are not discounting.

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