Black Friday Buzz Increases By 400%

Black Friday Buzz Increases By 400%
By Todd Grossman

One of America’s most beloved and celebrated holidays is being taken by storm by shoppers nationwide. No, it’s not Thanksgiving but that shopping ritual known as Black Friday. The buzz around Black Friday and sales is increasing by the day, with more than a half million mentions in social media over the past week (Nov. 15-21) and almost 150,000 in just the past 24 hours. Compare that to the same week last year, when there were only 127,000 mentions of Black Friday across all social media platforms.

This week’s total is even outpacing last week’s mentions in social media almost two to one. In addition, related themes like Deals (102,000 mentions) and Shopping (53,600) are far outpacing mentions of Thanksgiving (31,400) and Holiday (27,500). Predictable hashtags like #ad, #sale and #blackfriday may be leading the pack, but among the top hashtags over the past week are #AmazonGiveaway with more than 22,000 posts, up more than 30 percent over last week’s focus of gift card giveaways by the retail giant.

But the real emerging star may be retailer REI, which will close its doors on Friday and is using the hashtag #OptOutside to encourage its fans to enjoy the outdoors. That hashtag has garnered more than 11,000 results over the past week, up 300 percent over last week, and posts touting readers to #OptOutside have been among the most engaging over the week. In fact, REI’s Instagram post on Monday afternoon garnered 15,900 likes and reached 1.4 million followers, while a Facebook post from “Barkley the French Bulldog” totaled 6,300 likes and reached 1.7 million Facebook fans.

The first “made for social media election” continues to impact every area of society and Black Friday is no different. In fact, #GrabYourWallet, a hashtag created to encourage shoppers to stop supporting businesses that work with Donald or Ivanka Trump, or carry their clothing and accessories lines is making a comeback since its original October creation, increasing 1,500 percent over the last week across all social media platforms.

While tried and true retailers like Amazon (7,900 mentions in one week), Walmart (5,500) and Best Buy (4,000) continue to lead the pack when it comes to brands mentioned, there are new trends developing around smaller entities and their Black Friday plans. Two trending hashtags are #handmade, up more than 250 percent over last week, and focused on artisans who create gifts and sell through Etsy and local gift shops; and the small business focused hashtag #shopsmall, up more than 230 percent this week.

One emerging theme this week is @YT_Clothing, the vintage/used clothing retailer as its Black Friday sale is getting much attention with mentions increasing this week by nearly 600 percent thanks in large part to Yours Truly Clothing’s creator: rapper Phora. His Twitter and instagram accounts have also emerged as trending themes related to Black Friday over the past week.

As retailers prepare to transform from Black Friday sales to Cyber Monday deals, Cyber Monday has begun trending this week, with a more than 160 percent increase in mentions over the past seven days. Retail deals are expected to be more and more prevalent in social media postings as we approach Black Friday. Besides REI, posts by Victoria’s Secret, FitBit, Patagonia, Carter’s and BH Cosmetics were among the most engaging of the week.

Todd Grossman is the CEO of Talkwalker, a social data intelligence company.