Did you post status updates while you bargain-hunted? Black Friday chatter was at an all-time high, with Facebook having the most mentions over the Thanksgiving 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.

It didn’t.

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

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