Amid a landscape where consumers have plenty to discuss online—the Cubs winning the World Series, the host of “The Apprentice” being elected president, just to name a few—fewer people are posting about shopping online, and Cyber Monday in particular, according to an analysis that social media analytics vendor Crimson Hexagon conducted for Internet Retailer.
Social media conversations about Cyber Monday, or the Monday after Thanksgiving, are down roughly 75% from their 2012 peak, according to the analysis. The analysis examined Cyber Monday’s share of Twitter conversations, which reached 3,925 posts per billion in 2010 but has fallen every year since and landed at 997 this year (a slight increase from 989 a year ago).
That’s true even as retailers work to push the start of the holiday season to earlier in November. While those moves have led to a slew of $1 billion online sales days, they haven’t produced much effect on conversations online as the trends are largely consistent with previous years, says Ben Cockerell, Crimson Hexagon’s director of global marketing.
While the volume has been declining, the sentiment has remained fairly steady with about two times more posts that are positive in tone than negative. Examining the main positive trends, consumers noted that Cyber Monday offers a “good shopping experience,” especially compared with Black Friday, it’s “not stressful,” with “no crowds” and enables consumers to browse deals from the “comforts of home” (or office).
“Folks may be talking about Cyber Monday less than they used to, but when they do discuss it, it is positive,” Cockerell says. 57% of those consumers posting online about the retail sales event are women and 43% of those posting are 18-24 years old.
Crimson Hexagon’s platform uses a combination of enhanced natural language processing to assess sentiment and hand-coded tools to understand slang and the natural nuance of conversations. Its analysis for internet also examined streams of words, such as “stress,” “comfort” and “shopping.”
The analysis finds that roughly 40% of conversations involved shoppers comparing Black Friday to Cyber Monday with the “overwhelming majority” discussing their preference for Cyber Monday over the in-store shopping experience on Black Friday.
There was a marked difference in the negative posts focused on Black Friday and Cyber Monday. The Cyber Monday negative trends largely focused around consumers wanting to shop online but were too “broke” or “poor” to buy anything, while some posts centered on “crashing websites” and “slow internet speeds.” On Black Friday many negative posts focused around the shopping event seeming “gimmicky” or retailers offering “worthless deals.”
Unlike on Cyber Monday, negative posts are growing more common on Black Friday. In 2010, more than half of all posts were positive, with only 20% deemed negative (the remaining posts were deemed neutral).Now just over a third of posts are positive and nearly 40% are negative.
A significant share of those posts relate to the in-store shopping experience on the day after Thanksgiving. However, as Black Friday evolves into more of an e-commerce event—U.S. online sales on Black Friday this year were just shy of those on Cyber Monday—that may be changing.