Right before Thanksgiving, Networked Insights took a look at online conversations around Black Friday and Cyber Monday and found that while retailers were stepping up their efforts to increase deals and speed up buying urgency, consumers were not responding with as much enthusiasm as anticipated.
With the two biggest shopping days of the year behind us, how did retailers fare? While total branded Black Friday and Cyber Monday conversations were down 24% versus last year, some companies did much better than others.
The brands that “won” Black Friday and Cyber Monday and experienced significant positive conversations included GameStop, REI and Amazon. GameStop was boosted by their partnership with Funko (maker of popular licensed and branded toys), whose tweets about a Black Friday Mystery box were retweeted 4.1K times. GameStop saw a 748% increase in positive conversations compared to last year.
Consumers preferred shopping online with Amazon in order to avoid the madness at stores on Black Friday. Not only were consumers able to avoid the crowds and sleep in by shopping on Amazon on BF, they also loved the Amazon smile program, which allowed you to pick which charity Amazon donated a percentage of proceeds to when you shopped on the site.
Remaining closed on Thanksgiving resonated with consumers, who went out of their way to share their thoughts online. As with last year, REI drove a lot of social conversation by pushing their #OptOutside campaign – the outdoor retailer remained closed on Thanksgiving and encouraged employees and customers to head outside to enjoy the day with family. They encouraged social media users to share their active plans.
Brands Who Struggled
The brands that experienced significant negative conversation included Best Buy, Walmart, and Sephora. Best Buy and Walmart had the most negative conversations for the second year in a row, and both companies saw double-digit increases in negative comments compared to last year.
Negative emotions stem from worrying over spending, crowds, and product availability. Much like last year, consumers also did not react kindly to Walmart and others opening on Thanksgiving day.
Of course, the drop in online conversations on Black Friday and Cyber Monday, and negative backlash towards expanding store hours may not have had much affect on sales. According to the National Retail Federation, more than 154 million consumers shopped in stores and online this year, which was about 3 million more than last year, though customers spent about $10 less per person.
The news for online retailers was pretty great. According to Adobe, Cyber Monday 2016 was the biggest day in the history of U.S. e-commerce, with $3.45B in sales online.