There’s been lots of talk lately about whether tweets can predict social and market trends. Recent data have demonstrated links between what’s posted on Twitter and the stock market, flu rates, even election results. So, what can Twitter tell us about shopping and holiday spending?
Early reports about this year’s Black Friday and Cyber Monday are looking good. Sales are up from last year – ShopperTrak says brick-and-mortar retail sales on Black Friday were $10.69 billion, comScore data indicate Black Friday online sales of $648 million and Cyber Monday sales of $1.03 billion. On the other hand, there have been recent discussions about the hype of Cyber Monday and how it’s just that – hype. These discussions focus on the fact that Cyber Monday is not the biggest online shopping day of the year at all, and its status as a shopping “holiday” is overstated.
So, we thought Twitter could help us understand more about the state of holiday shopping in 2010. In the days leading up to Black Friday and Cyber Monday, we used our new TweetReach Tracker to monitor and measure tweets about both days. We kept the Trackers pretty simple. For the Black Friday Tracker (BF), we gathered all public tweets that included the terms “Black Friday” or #blackfriday, and for the Cyber Monday Tracker (CM), we monitored the terms “Cyber Monday” and #cybermonday.
So, just how active were these Trackers? Well, they were the most active Trackers we’ve ever run (and that includes tweets about all kinds of celebrities, elections, news events, even TSA). In just four days, more people mentioned Black Friday than during the entire Brazilian presidential election in October. And how many people were talking about and how many saw tweets about these two shopping holidays? What does that tell us about Black Friday and Cyber Monday overall? Read on for answers. (FYI, in the following graphics, Black Friday is represented in blue, Cyber Monday in green.)
First, let’s look at how many people tweeted and who those people were.
And then we sorted the top 10 contributors by the number of retweets they received. Celebrities, humorists and media outlets drove the most retweets (that Justin Bieber sure seems popular). The @amazonmp3 account tweeted about sales frequently in the days leading up to BF and CM, and each tweet received a solid amount of retweets. No other retailers got even close to the number of retweets Amazon did. We’ve seen this for a long time though; people like to get bargains, but they don’t necessarily spend much time reposting those bargains. Also, the number of news accounts represented in the CM chart could lend support to those recent arguments that Cyber Monday is mostly just media-driven hype.
How did they tweet?
Next, on to the tweets themselves. All those contributors posted hundreds of thousands of tweets. Take this graph of tweets per day for both BF and CM.