Consumer Insights Surrounding The Home Depot Before, During and After Hurricane Sandy

Crimson Hexagon’s Social Media Listening Platform Reveals What People Had to Say About the Retailer

The Home Depot

Consumer insights in social media were prevalent last week as Hurricane Sandy struck the Northeast, causing billions of dollars in damage. Devastating winds reached speeds of 110 miles per hour, while flooding forced many to evacuate their coastal homes.

Before and after the storm, which made landfall on October 29th at Atlantic City, New Jersey, consumers relied on retail hardware stores such as The Home Depot to prepare for the storm and cope with the damage. Unsurprisingly, these storm-struck consumers also took to Twitter to share their experiences with the hardware retail giant.

Crimson Hexagon wanted to take a look at this conversation to see how people were talking about The Home Depot in the days leading up to the storm, as well as in the aftermath. Using the ForSight social media listening platform, we examined over 7,000 opinions since October 15th about The Home Depot, and discovered an interestingly nuanced conversation.

The Home Depot - Hurricane Sandy Summary

Overall, 57% of the conversation about The Home Depot was positive.

Over the three days leading up to the storm, positive segments of the conversation expressing that desired items were in stock, that The Home Depot’s customer service was satisfactory, or expressing an intent or desire to visit the store all increased. This trend seemed to continue through the aftermath of the storm.

Unsurprisingly, ForSight found that immediately after the hurricane, there was a spike in the proportion of the conversation expressing an intent to go to The Home Depot and make a purchase. This portion reached a summit of 42 percent of the entire conversation by October 31st, when Sandy had dealt most of its damage already. But what did consumers think when they got to the store to purchase repair supplies?

The Home Depot - Hurricane Sandy Trend

After the hurricane, opinions expressing that items were sold out at the store also began to constitute a larger part of the overall conversation, which may not come as a surprise as victims of the storm flocked to hardware stores to purchase supplies. However, the ForSight platform reveals an interesting nuance to this data. Alongside the increase of “sold out” opinion — the red trend line — in the conversation was a growing percentage of opinions expressing positive consumer experiences at the store — the green trend lines.  This suggests that perhaps consumers did not blame The Home Depot, but the storm, for depleted inventories.

What do you think? Tweet us your thoughts @CrimsonHexagon or comment below. If you want to learn more about how social media can reveal consumer insights around expectations and motivations in the retail industry, download Crimson Hexagon’s newly published, in-depth retail study, which explores expectations of in-store vs. online shopping and consumer migration patterns.

If you want to learn more about how you can use Crimson Hexagon’s social media analytics software to gauge consumer insights, sign up to receive a live online demo.


Written by John Ponte

As Director of Marketing at Crimson Hexagon, John manages the company's global marketing lead generation activities. John resides in Rhode Island, is an avid tennis player, enjoys a wide variety of music and sports.

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