A little late, but I wanted to comment on social media and Black Friday. Personally I did not shop at all this year. Ever since I was young, my mom would drag my sister and I out at 4am on Black Friday to join the mad rush for deals. I have gone back and forth in my love/hate relationship with the day over the years, but this year I was solidly on the hate side. I hated the fact that stores opened on Thursday. Our society has become so commercialized I find it truly appalling that as a culture we cannot take one day off from shopping to spend time with family and reflect on what we are thankful for. Honestly, if this is the new trend, which I am sure it is, I will be boycotting Black Friday shopping from here on out. But enough time on my soap box….
This year Twitter was a prominent feature in the Black Friday discussion in both a positive manner and negative, viral-content-inducing ways. For starters, this year, 696,649 #BlackFriday Tweets were posted during the 24 hour period alone. Over the course Nov 27-30, over 1.2 million Tweets were posted, with the hashtag racking up over 2 billion potential impressions during the day of the sale. That is impressive to say the least, but were the mentions good or bad?
According to statistics compiled from Crimson Hexagon’s sentiment analysis
, people actually enjoyed Black Friday more this year compared to last. Their study of Twitter found nearly half (45 percent) of all tweets that mentioned Black Friday leading up to the big day were positive in nature, compared to just 38 percent from 2012. Negative sentiment also fell from 39 percent in 2012 to 36 percent in 2013 (with nearly half of these tweets complaining about having to work). 25 percent of the positive Black Friday tweets expressed excitement about the mad shopping day, and 19 percent were focused on specific deals. Only 5 percent of all users tweeting about the day said they were going to boycott it.
These numbers were great for organizations that managed to leverage the #BlackFriday hashtag. Surprisingly, NASA recorded the most retweeted tweets by playing off the Black Friday theme to educate followers about Black Holes. Someone was on his/her game when they thought of that!
When it comes to most frequent tweeters with the #BlackFriday hashtag, Victoria’s Secret took the cake with 504 and Walmart second place with 378. That is an insane amount of tweets for one day! Unfortunately, Walmart did not enjoy a day of Twitter success when the hashtag #WalmartFights began accumulating tweets and websites displaying the tweets went viral.
Photos and videos of customers mobbing stores and fighting over items flooded Twitter as the day progressed and YouTube videos were uploaded. The content even jump started the creation of the website BlackFridayDeathCount.com
to track the mess.
As of now, it is estimated Thanksgiving and Black Friday combined sales brought in $12.3 billion, with overall weekend spending expected to reach $57.4 billion. That figure is down from $59.1 billion last year. So was opening earlier for Black Friday a success? No one can say for sure, but Bill Martin, founder of ShopperTrak
notes, “Probably the most interesting is the amount of energy the consumer put into Thursday shopping. The retailers did a good job getting them up from the dinner table and into stores.”
Now that the bar has been set for Thursday openings it will be interesting to see what approach retailers take with the usual extra shopping week before Christmas. What do you predict for next year?