Many mass-merchant retailer websites saw a huge lift in visits on Sept. 4, or Force Friday, the release date of merchandise related to the latest movie in the Star Wars series: "The Force Awakens."
Compared to the previous Friday, Aug. 20, items pertaining to the search "Star Wars The Force Awakens" on mass-merchant retail sites were 52 times higher on Sept. 4 , according to data collected by HookLogic. Items related to the searches "Hans Solo" and "Chewbacca" were five times higher. In addition, the search for "Star Wars toys" was three times higher.
Midnight and morning were the most popular times for consumers to browse and shop online during Force Friday. The peak for "Star Wars" on most e-commerce sites was at midnight EST, and the second highest peak was at 10 a.m. EST.
"We believe the peak was almost entirely due to retailer promotion and media coverage. It was clear during the days leading up the Force Friday that sales were starting at 12 a.m. sharp, and shoppers were certainly ready once that moment hit. Similar to midnight on Black Friday, there is FOMO (fear of missing out) on sales and items that have a likelihood of selling out," said Elizabeth Jackson, chief marketing officer and exec-VP of corporate strategy at HookLogic.
The top three non-branded terms that consumers searched included the phrases "Star Wars the Force Awakens," "Star Wars Toys" and "Chewbacca." Other terms in the top 10 include "Star Wars figures," "Star Wars costume" and "Star Wars exclusive."
And how did sales turn out on Force Friday? "In terms of online sales for the toy and games category overall, there were increases around plus 65 percent compared to the Friday prior," Jackson said. "We saw the largest increases (around plus 180 percent) in the action figures subcategory."
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