The lines between Black Friday and Cyber Monday are blurring more than ever. An estimated $6.22 billion in digital sales occurred this Black Friday, nearing the $6.59 billion figure for Cyber Monday. The toy space was one category where retailers sought to capitalize on consumer fervor with both physical and digital movement.

Prior to Black Friday, the top investors on toy keywords were Amazon, Walmart, Target, and eBay. Gartner L2’s Digital IQ Index: Big Box noticed this trend early, observing that as Toys “R” Us shut its doors, those retailers were making attempts to fill the void in paid search for toys. This time, those efforts paid off with a high volume of visibility. Walmart achieved the highest amount of paid visibility on toy keywords (63% paid visibility) but Amazon’s organic visibility garnered the e-tailer the highest visibility on toy keywords overall (79% total visibility). Unsurprisingly, Amazon’s organic visibility on Google (not even including the many searches starting on amazon.com) helped the firm sell 18 million toys on Black Friday.

Meanwhile, traditional retailers relied on in-store assets for the holiday season, dedicating an increased amount of space and inventory towards toys. Target added approximately a quarter-million square feet of space for toys across 500 stores, Best Buy added toy inventory across 1,000 locations, and Kohl’s partnered with Lego and Fao Schwartz to sell exclusive toys in-store. Even Kroger looked to maximize on the toy spend by adding Geoffrey’s Toy Box to 600 locations.

However, leveraging physical assets was not quite enough to catapult retailers into owning the toy space. Even as Black Friday sales increased, in-store foot traffic shrank, dropping by 1.7%. Walmart responded to the growth in digital holiday spending by mirroring its competitors’ in-depth strategy and increasing in-store inventory of toys by 30% and digital inventory by 40%.

Walmart

As customers turn to online shopping, the key may be combining physical and digital assets to expose customers to new products. Leading up to Black Friday, Walmart held a National Play Day in around 1,500 of its stores to give kids the chance to play with top toys for 2018. The retailer also rolled out an interactive Toy Lab on site that showcased different products and allowed users to either “Look” or “Play” with the toys and then eventually “save” toys to a toy box and share that list.

These strategic investments paid off for the retailer on Black Friday: 75% of the most popular toys were bought on Walmart.com. As Walmart continues to invest in digital assets, kids won’t be the only ones celebrating new toys this holiday season.  

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