Social Media Sentiment on Back to School Shopping

Twitter Reveals Opportunity for Retailers To Target Better Late Than Never Shoppers

One-third of social media users who tweet about back to school shopping in August – both in 2011 and in 2012 – describe themselves as “procrastinators” who “really need” to get their school shopping done.  Back to school time is one of the busiest seasons for clothing, office supply, computer and electronics, and home goods retailers, and it is a rite of passage for many kids and parents as they kick off another school year. Yet, social media sentiment reveals a significant proportion of potential and likely customers see themselves as late to the party.

Using Crimson Hexagon’s ForSight™ social media analysis tool, we analyzed a total of over 450,000 relevant opinions on Twitter about back to school shopping during late August of this year and last year. In 2011, 30% of social media users who tweeted about back to school shopping expressed that they need to hurry to finish their shopping lists on time. In 2012, 40% of the back to school conversation expressed similar sentiments. Some stated with surprise and urgency that they “haven’t even been shopping yet,” and others called themselves school shopping “slackers.”Self-described late shoppers occupied about one-third of the conversation in both years. But, we discovered a decrease in references to the expense of school shopping from year to year, from 17% of the conversation in 2011 to 9% in 2012. This may signal that parents and young adults feel more secure about their finances and their ability to shop for school clothes and supplies in 2012 than they did in 2011.

Crimson Hexagon’s analysis of social media sentiment suggests that retailers should direct advertising and sales campaigns toward self-proclaimed back to school shopping “procrastinators,” especially toward the end of the summer. Back to school shopping “slackers” can be converted into customers and late-summer sales revenue by companies that successfully communicate that it is “not too late” to find the best styles, electronics, and office supplies to take to school this fall.

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