For the first time this holiday season newly acquired customers edged out retained customers, delivering the highest share of revenue to mid-market ecommerce companies. On both Thanksgiving and Black Friday, repeat buyers led the charge bringing in 59% and 55% of revenue, respectively, but on Cyber Monday the split dipped to 49% of revenue driven by repeat buyers.

We believe this revenue tug-of-war is created by a mix of both consumer psychology and Cyber Monday-specific acquisition strategies. From a psychology standpoint, consumers shop on Black Friday from brands that they know and love in order to secure inventory for hot-listed gifts and personal favorites now on sale. But on Cyber Monday, consumers shop specifically for discounts and savings on items from brands that may be outside of their month-over-month buying patterns. Discounts can be that powerful. (Note: they can also wreak havoc on long-term value, as many brands report increased opt-out rates and buyer attrition following Cyber Monday.)

Acquisition strategies take shape well before November even begins as most ecommerce companies begin promotion for Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals well in advance in order to ensure they have an influx of users to drive holiday revenue. But the volume of advertising and messages across all channels peaks from Black Friday through Cyber Monday as evidenced by the overwhelming percentage of first time buyers that were acquired within seven days of Cyber Monday:

On Black Friday, the percentage of new users acquired in the last seven days stood at 50%, which is a significant difference from the Cyber Monday split. We expect this ratio to normalize, with retained customers continuing to deliver higher shares of revenue following Cyber Monday as deep discounts subside and inventory becomes more and more scarce.

Read more 2014 Holiday Data Alerts:

This post was written by and based on data analysis from Marielle Hanke (Sr. Manager of Analytics) and Steve Wood (Optimization Analyst).