Social Media Analysis Reveals That More Than Deals, the Black Friday Experience Motivates Shoppers

The Frenzied Black Friday Atmosphere Also Keeps Them Home

Many Americans kick off their holiday shopping on Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving. Shoppers contend with large crowds and stand in long lines – sometimes even “camping out” for many hours to shop on Black Friday.

Black Friday

While many people think the sales are the big draw of Black Friday, Crimson Hexagon discovered, using our social media analysis tool ForSight™, that the shopping experience and the tradition of shopping on Black Friday significantly motivate consumers to turn out after Thanksgiving.  However, the shopping atmosphere that motivates some shoppers repels others.

Notably, opinions expressed on Twitter are evenly divided between positive and negative, both at 38% of the conversation.

Social Media Analysis on Black Friday

In an analysis of over 900,000 posts on Twitter, we found that the shopping experience is a significant draw on Black Friday. Of positive conversation (38%) about Black Friday shopping, 10% indicated that shoppers are looking forward to deals and sales, while 28% expressed anticipation and excitement for Black Friday. Many people tweet simply, “Can’t wait for #BlackFriday.”

Some in this vein specified why they are excited for Black Friday. Many express that they are excited to go shopping with a buddy or with a mom, dad, husband, or wife.  Some shoppers share their Black Friday strategies on Twitter: heading to this store first, then that one.

It seems that many people look forward to the hectic atmosphere and annual tradition of Black Friday; the Black Friday experience may even get them into the store with friends and family.

At the same time, the frenzied atmosphere of Black Friday shopping keeps some people at home. Of negative sentiment about Black Friday, 11% of the conversation criticizes the mayhem and incivility you find in stores on Black Friday.

This year, several major retailers, including Wal-Mart, Target, and Toys ‘R Us, will begin their holiday sales on Thanksgiving in the evening. Some of the conversation criticizes extending store hours into the holidays, which takes employees away from their families (2%). A segment of people say they will stay home to protest, or stay home because they just aren’t Black Friday shoppers (5%). Yet, even together, these themes are not as large as the criticism of the “mayhem” of Black Friday.

These findings suggest that a pleasant in-store shopping experience matters to people, and can significantly affect retailers’ success during the holiday shopping season. The retailer who could calm the “mayhem” of Black Friday but retain the excitement of one of the biggest shopping days of the year stands to gain consumers.

Advertising agencies and firms might note that the experience is a significant motivation for shoppers and craft campaigns around family shopping trips, friends meeting up on Black Friday, and the traditions and excitement of holiday shopping.

What do you think? Tweet us your thoughts @CrimsonHexagon or comment below.

If you want to learn more about how you can use Crimson Hexagon’s social media analysis software to reveal in-depth analysis of consumer online conversation, sign up to receive a live online demo.


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The Crimson Hexagon team often collaborates to write about trending topics using our ForSight platform to conduct in-depth analysis of social conversations.

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