Move Over, Black Friday: Cyber Monday Wins the Week
If you braved the crowds on Black Friday, you were far from alone: an estimated 100 million people were expected to go shopping over the 4-day Thanksgiving weekend. Despite the reports that people spent less this year, analysts are saying that more people were out the door and in the malls.
I did a little social listening this year to see what brands or themes might come up on this year’s Black Friday. One thing that did surprise me: WalMart’s biggest selling item was a towel. The biggest retailer in the world sold 2.8 million towels, leaving this blogger to assume that people this year are (1) expecting a lot of family and friends, (2) suddenly feeling the need to be cleaner, or (2) have all read “Hitchiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.”
The most interesting thing I found, though, was that a Boolean search that contained only the term “Black Friday” mirrors what actually happened: Cyber Monday stole the show. I measured through the end of Cyber Monday, and this is the word cloud: Now, even I – someone who spent 8 years in e-commerce and remembers the advent of Cyber Monday – was surprised to see Black Friday so roundly upstaged in its own word cloud. I actually went back into Buzz and only did monitoring through Sunday 12/1, to see if this word cloud would change.
Another big surprise: Facebook chatter outweighed Twitter chatter.Twitter had the most Black Friday chatter on Friday itself, but Facebook had more sustained chatter about it for the Thanksgiving week.
Now, I do a lot more social listening than most people do, and having access to an advanced social listening tool means that I play with it a lot. This is the first time that I’ve seen more current event chatter on Facebook than Twitter, and while it’s true that day-of Black Friday talk was mostly Twitter-based, the sustained Facebook chatter is significant. Facebook is a personal network; Twitter is an interest-based network. The fact that people are sharing their thoughts about a retail holiday on their personal network for a sustained amount of time means that this retail holiday – and its upstart Cyber Monday cousin – has made its way into the lifestyle of the American consumer, and this is good news for retailers. More good news for retailers: sentiment around Black Friday skewed positive. Two other graphs I found interesting were the demographic breakdowns, most notably gender and location:
Despite the fact that putting “shopping” into a Google image search returns a gozillion pictures of women, men were neck-in-neck on Black Friday chatter. Brazil is leading the charge in the Viernes Negro / Lunes Cyber tradition, with 50% more internet traffic than usual.
Yes, you read that right: Brazil accounted for 9% of Black Friday chatter. I was surprised, too, until I realized that Brazil has a rather large collection of Wal-Marts. A quick Google search confirmed that this retail holiday is sweeping Latin America, which led to Brazil’s retail numbers (and internet traffic) being 50% above last year.
So, there you have it: Black Friday (and Cyber Monday) 2013, as summed up by the millions of conversations analyzed with advanced social listening software. If I had to summarize in haiku, it would read like this:
Cyber Monday wins
Latin America joins
Facebook beats Twitter