Cyber Monday promotions at digitally native vertical brands are at an all-time high. The number of DNVBs in the 2021 Digital Commerce 360 Top 1000 offering online sales on Cyber Monday was almost the same as the number of Top 100 online retailers in the Top 1000, as 81.3% of Top 1000 DNVBs offered some kind of deal or discount, compared to 82.0% of Top 100 and 84.0% of the Top 50, according to research by Digital Commerce 360. Last year, 71.4% of Top 1000 DNVBs offered a sale on Cyber Monday compared with 88.0% of Top 50 retailers.
Historically, digital natives have touted products as year-round deals because they claim to cut out the middleman between brand and consumer. However, as retailers age and growth slows, many merchants often turn to discounting to attract new customers and continue growing sales.
While more DNVBs than ever were offering discounts, the number of the discounts continued to be lower. Of the 60 DNVBs touting a percentage-based discount on their homepages, the median discount was just 30% compared to a median of 50% offered by the 78 Top 100 retailers. DNVBs also waited longer to start their sales—just 60.0% offered a holiday promotion the day before Thanksgiving, while 69.0% of the Top 100 already offered a Thanksgiving weekend-themed promotion on the Monday before Thanksgiving.
One of the more drastic changes this year is shoe brand Allbirds (No. 365). In 2020, Allbirds did not offer a promotion on Cyber Monday and instead raised prices by $1, which it said it donated to “Mother Nature” (but did not specify how that donation would work exactly). This year, Allbirds offered more traditional discounts amounting to about a third off regular prices, although it is advertised as a lower dollar figure rather than a percentage-based discount. While sustainability still features heavily on the homepage, the retailer is not charging more to help the environment. Allbirds did not respond to a request for comment before press time.
Other DNVBs avoided discount prices, but still gave deal-hungry shoppers something to salivate over. Pet brand Bark Inc. (No. 207) offered a gift box with double the items for the first month for new subscribers starting a multi-month subscription.
Similarly, online jeweler Brilliant Earth LLC (No. 294) offered a free gift with a purchase from its store, but didn’t discount merchandise. It also offered a “Win your ring” promotion that offered a chance at receiving rings ordered on Cyber Monday for free.
Meanwhile, some DNVBs offered many more traditional sales. Beauty retailer BH Cosmetics Inc. (No. 943) offered up to 80% off with splashy images taking up the majority of its homepage.
However, other DNVBs reduced discounts by the time Cyber Monday rolled around. The Pink Lily Boutique offered up to 80% off on its homepage for Black Friday before Thanksgiving, but only touted 35% discounts on Cyber Monday. Social media posts from this Saturday and Sunday mentioned 30% discounts over the Cyber Five weekend. Men’s shirt brand Untuckit offered deals up to 50% off on Wednesday, but just 30% off orders more than $200 and 25% off all other orders on Cyber Monday. Overall, seven DNVB retailers reduced homepage discounts on Cyber Monday compared to the Wednesday before Thanksgiving.