affiliate survival guide to black friday and cyber monday

Two marvelous upcoming shopping events are heading our way in a little more than a month’s time. They are, Black Friday and Cyber Monday. These events were traditionally distinct in terms of the shoppers they attract. Black Friday appealed to physical shoppers, while Cyber Monday attracted the online crowd. However, in recent years, both events have seen a definite change. As consumers started their holiday shopping earlier, brands and retailers have followed suit. 

As retailers start to offer pre Black Friday sales as early as even late October, this has affected those who only capitalise on Cyber Monday Sales. Particularly for online only and direct to consumer brands, who also have pre Cyber Monday sales. These businesses in turn effectively offer Black Friday sales to highlight different deals or simply change the naming convention.  


  • What to expect in 2021
  • Trending Niches
  • Beauty and Skincare
    • Trending Skincare Ingredients/ Products
  • Conclusion

What to expect in 2021

In our holiday season article, Cyber Monday 2020 took a record of $10.8 billion in sales, an increase of 15.1 percent YoY. This makes Cyber Monday 2020 the largest online shopping day in U.S. history ahead of Black Friday 2020. Where consumers spent $9 billion online, a 21.6% rise compared to 2019. A huge element for the increase in consumer expenditure stems from the pandemic. Consumers deterred by physical on site shopping, take to online stores and social media for inspiration. 

Predicted to continue in 2021, this trend faced additional obstacles in the form of supply chain issues. But, consumers are aware and they are bringing forward their holiday shopping to offset these limitations. This shift in behaviour comes with its own pros and cons. On one hand, consumers are likely to have more flexible working hours. Thus giving rise to an opportunity to get ahead with holiday shopping. However, the ease of e-commerce has resulted in rising consumer expectations that can be led down with the delays in supply chains. 

Trending Niches

Regardless, while stocks are still plenty, take a look at the trending niches of the two sale events.

Electronics (PC)

This electronics niche will definitely be a hot favourite amongst consumers. Chromebooks in particular have been consistently in hot demand due to its portability and toned down performance. While Chromebooks used to feature lower tier specs, there are now Chromebooks that have similar hardware for more demanding tasks. For instance the use of Intel Core processors, 8/16GB of RAM with larger storage to boot. This makes them the perfect gift for the overall everyday consumers, even for the non tech savvy.  

Solid State Drives (SSD) are also in demand for consumers building up their own custom PC or upgrading their current set ups. For a similar reason, graphics card are on a level of their own. With the current chip shortage and price hikes, new and older graphics card like the RTX3090 & RTX3080 are continuously out of stock. Another factor of demand for SSD’s is due to its compatibility with Sony’s PS5 and PS4. While SSD’s have a prevailing usage as an external storage for the PS4 game library, internal support for PS5 has recently been allowed. Inevitably increasing the demand from both PC and gaming console users alike. 

Gaming Consoles

While the Xbox Series X and PS5 are still considerably new and out of stock, the PS4 will undoubtedly be one of the top performing consoles along with its games. While game developers are making games for the flagship PS5, many are doing so in tandem with the PS4. Just take a look at the upcoming Gran Turismo 7 or Call of Duty: Vanguard.

The upcoming release of the newest Nintendo Switch OLED on 8 October will also be on the radar of many consumers. As usual, don’t shirk off the older Nintendo Switch or Switch Lite just yet, for the 2022 lineup looks promising. 

Meanwhile, the upcoming releases of the Pokemon franchise, Pokemon Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl set for 19 November are bound to set fans scrambling for either the games or the console. As seen from Nintendo’s Year End Fiscal Report, the previous installment in the Pokemon franchise drew over 21 million sales. Expect the upcoming installment with the console to achieve similar success.

Phones & Wearables

Both major smartphone players Samsung and Apple have released their latest flagship models recently. The Galaxy Z series in September and the iPhone13 in August will not likely be a contender for the upcoming sales. However, older models from the likes of the Galaxy S21 and the Iphone 12 are likely placements. Moreover, as both brands have their own line of wearables, expect demand over them as well. Apparent from the equally known Galaxy Buds and Air Pods series of wireless bluetooth earbuds. More so when paired with their respective smart watches. 


Contrary to initial impressions, curved monitors are now commonplace in a remote working world. They are able to accommodate the average remote worker who needs a second pair of screens. Additionally applicable for gaming setups aiming for an immersive experience where speed and high refresh rates are essential. While these range on a price spectrum much like comparing 4K monitors to 1440p ones. But much to consumers’ chagrin, you won’t see much discounts on 4K monitors and those on the higher spectrum. 


TV’s are something that will be on the wishlist for most consumers, particularly the top of the line 4K of OLED models. While they aren’t mutually exclusive, it’ll be helpful to know the difference. Just like monitors, tv’s are inherently versatile and can support various home set ups be it gaming or casual. It will be important to know how each model differs to cater to your appropriate audience. For affiliates with a gaming audience, be mindful that PS5 and Xbox Series X can output a maximum of 4K120 through HDMI 2.1.

Beauty and Skincare

Is beauty all in the mind of the beholder? Well yes, that’s true but don’t discount the power of seasons and trends in influencing purchase decisions. While most are purchasing early these holiday season or at the very least have thought of. It’s important to consider that consumers might be purchasing for well beyond autumn into winter. Early Christmas gifting is one major reason affiliates should look ahead when it comes to beauty products. With that said, check out the trends you should pay attention to this holiday season. For more beauty and skincare trends check out our article.  

Beauty Trends

Much like how we chase the everyday fashion trends to create our own identity, beauty trends work in the same way.  


A major driver of the beauty trend is the shift towards skinimalism. Consumers are getting tired and weary of unrealistic beauty campaigns that are incessantly enhanced by filters and edits. Resulting in a growing number that are embracing their skin’s natural outlook by adopting a ‘Less is More’ approach. In a nutshell, only essential steps are needed in this minimalist routine, followed by the next trend.

Personalised Skincare

It is every consumer’s dream to have a product tailored to their needs, in this case skin. Each individual consumer has their own skin types which is why skincare is not necessarily a one size fits all mentality. Especially during extended periods of working from home. The increase in exposure to blue screens and crippling anxiety of an uncertain future results in declining skin health. 

Trending Skincare Ingredients/ Products

To combat the changing seasons as well as the varying individual skin conditions, take a look at some of the active ingredients/products you should consider. 

Vitamin C

Helps to brighten and stimulate collagen production for moisture retaining plump skin. Especially useful during a harsher exposure of UV rays in the colder Autumn and Winter. Vitamin C helps to maintain the even skin tone and texture while enhancing the natural glow.

Retinol (Vitamin A derivative)

Retinol boosts the production of elastin and collagen, creating an anti aging effect. Moreover, retinol triples as an ‘exfoliator’ that improves the skin’s texture and tone, as well as treat acne and related scarring. But it’s also important to consider the different levels of retinoids as per personalised skincare. The spectrum of retinoids starts with the weakest Retinyl palmitate followed by the next strongest and most tolerable retinol. Tretinoin and tazarotene are the strongest of the retinoids that are more effective but can also be damaging for sensitive skin. 

Cream Cleanser

The typical foam cleanser does a great job in cleaning away makeup and impurities. But it also removes essential oils from the skin in the process. Foam cleansers on the other hand adds moisture, boosting hydration as you wash. However, do steer away/pick from these ingredients for a greater moisturising effect. 

Steer Away
Sulfates: Can cause skin irritation.
Silicones: Can trap debris and congest your pores.
Mineral oil: Coats your skin in an occlusive barrier, which will prevent other products from penetrating and can exacerbate acne.

Hydrators: Look for skin-friendly emollients and humectants such as squalane, glycerin, coconut oil, fatty alcohols and shea butter.
Low in PUFAs: Polyunsaturated fatty acid profile (PUFA) are highly volatile. Ideally, pick cleansers that don’t have PUFA-based oils in the first five ingredients.
Low in fragrance: A weaker irritant,it’s still best to limit it wherever possible.


The one essential product everyone needs in the colder months is moisturiser. An ideal moisturiser should help to strengthen the skin while absorbing and sealing in moisture. Match your audience’s skin type with the moisturiser properties below

Sensitive Skin: Go with simple formulas with soothing ingredients like colloidal oatmeal that creates a protective film over sensitive skin.

Oily Skin: Choose a fast-absorbing, lightweight product that doesn’t leave a greasy feeling. Again, hyaluronic acid based oil free cream works well. 

Normal/ Combination Skin: Look for products that are noncomedogenic (known to not cause pore blockages) and have moisture absorbing/ retaining properties.


The start of the holiday season is an opportunity for affiliates to quickly leverage on pre sale campaigns. While we have only gone through some specific niches for the upcoming Black Friday and Cyber Monday events, these niches would still be relevant for the entire holiday season. 

Additionally, a consumer trend report by Sitecore has revealed 61% of consumers want to be offered personalised suggestions this holiday season. While 71% of those age 25-34 have more savings set aside for the holidays this year. Take this as you will affiliates, but I would start looking at personalization now. 

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