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Black Friday vs Cyber Monday Social Sentiment

Black Friday has become a holiday for the shopping obsessed, or the savings obsessed, whichever you’d call it. But the Black Friday in-store frenzies are fighting hard against Cyber Monday online savings. Which will win out? And why does this intel matter to brands? Consumer sentiment sourced from the social web answers both!

Where It All Began

How did Black Friday get its name? “When shops in the US recorded their accounting details by hand, they noted profits in black and losses in red. It is thought that many shops were “in the red” throughout most of the year but they later “went into the black” the day after Thanksgiving, when shoppers bought a significant amount of discounted merchandise.”

Black Friday sales were promoted as early as the 1920s by Macy’s during its Thanksgiving Day parade. The advertisements naming the day started in the 1960s and “after the police officers linked Black Friday to the chaos in Philadelphia, the shopping craze became more widespread in the 1970s and 1980s, with shops attracting huge crowds.”

Cyber Monday Enters the Fray

In 2005, Cyber Monday entered the online fray. “According to the Shop.org/Bizrate Research 2005 eHoliday Mood Study, ‘77 percent of online retailers said that their sales increased substantially on the Monday after Thanksgiving, a trend that is driving serious online discounts and promotions on Cyber Monday this year (2005).’”

[And] “In 2017, Cyber Monday online sales grew to a record $6.59 billion, compared with $2.98 billion in 2015, and $2.65 billion in 2014.”

It’s interesting to note the demographics for each day, with Millennials leading the Black Friday mentions and Boomers leading in mentions of Cyber Monday. One would expect the reverse, as Millennials are considered more online savvy of the two. Ok, boomer? Maybe not:

demographics of black friday vs cyber monday

And to look at the overall comparisons, by volume of mentions, Black Friday is the clear winner all around:

volume of mentions of black friday vs cyber monday

Or is it . . . ?

Metrics Behind the Mentions

Looking solely at volume of mentions, Black Friday is a day that brands mustn’t miss! And it really is a day to pay attention to. But knowing which day to focus on (assuming a brand must choose) really depends on the products/services on offer. Cyber Monday attracts a distinct crowd, certainly – one that might be vocal posting about how much they hate Black Friday. And that could be contributing to that super high volume of mentions.

 people sharing black friday hate online 

But let’s explore the sentiment of each to see what’s really happening, and the audience intel we can find supporting each . . 

Black Friday Doorbusters

Black Friday doorbusters are exactly that. People go to battle it out for the big ticket items, like TVs and such. According the experts, “for items you’re likely to buy once a year or less, you’ll probably find better discounts on Black Friday. Anything you’d buy as a gift will likely see better discounts on Cyber Monday.

“Black Friday equals big-ticket items,” said Steve Koenig, Vice President of Research at the Consumer Technology Association. “With big deals on TVs, laptops, game consoles, and more during Black Friday week, many [people’s] purchases end up being for themselves or their own households.”

“TVs and appliances, you tend to get really great deals on Black Friday,” said Vivek Pandya, Digital Insights Manager at Adobe. “Cyber Monday, you see more of a focus on … other types of electronics that are newer niche, experimental technologies.” 

Is it enough of a deal that it’s worth a fistfight? Apparently not for many, as Amazon figures prominently in their online Black Friday discussions. But, so too, does Walmart – a place where many an altercation takes place year after year:

brands popular in black friday mentions

The most common term accompanying online mentions of the day are “absolutely insane” but viewed in a positive light, with more of a self-deprecating spin for many:

The most common term accompanying online mentions of the day are “absolutely insane” but viewed in a positive light, with more of a self-deprecating spin for many

Though Net Sentiment is low, coming in at 14% on a scale that goes up to 100:

Net Sentiment is low, coming in at 14% on a scale that goes up to 100

The poor sentiment makes sense. What other unofficial holiday has a website dedicated to tracking its death count?

Black Friday death count image

Beyond the UK and USA, Black Friday happens in other countries including Brazil, India, France, Norway, Romania and Germany.

Though, try as they might to make Black Friday a global phenomenon, retailers may find they’re hurting rather than helping that bottom line in some parts of the world – like Australia. Cultural insensitivity does not endear one to potential consumers:

geographical demographics of black friday, with focus on Australia

And what about Cyber Monday? Well, there’s lots of love there, with a smidge of frustration around materialism tossed in there for good measure! Let’s check it out:

Cyber Monday Steals

From a sentiment standpoint, Cyber Monday runs green, vs Black Friday being in the red. It’s black from an accounting standpoint, but blood red otherwise. Cyber Monday vibes on a whole different level – and the sentiment around it shows.

Cyber Monday vibes on a whole different level – and the sentiment around it shows

Net Sentiment checks in at 88%:

Net sentiment checks in at 88% for Cyber Monday

And Cyber Monday offers great deals for gadgets, everyday items and sales galore – apparently even more than one finds on Black Friday. In part, because anything and everything can be found online on Cyber Monday, particularly on Amazon, which wins either day – and all season.

Cyber Monday offers great deals for gadgets, everyday items and sales galore

And really, so does Cyber Monday. With a side-by-side comparison, we see the behaviors associated with Black Friday do not bode well for the doorbusters in the long-run, particularly not if they continue on as-is. “Not shop” is predominantly mentioned there, with many “waiting for” something – could it be Monday? Very likely, as we see shoppers “cannot wait” there too!

Behavior comparison between the two major shopping days

Taken all together, either day is a boon for retailers – the whole weekend is, of course. But understanding whether your specific audience falls into the Friday frenzy in-store crowd vs the easy breezy folks shopping online Cyber Monday will make all the difference in the world for some retailers.

And a specific category/brand search powered by next generation AI-powered social analytics should definitely be on your wishlist this season.

attract, retain and convert new customers

Reach out and we’ll help you make the most of the rest of this lucrative season. There’s still time to demonstrate amazing audience understanding and win over new customers! And be sure to check out our Holiday Gifts: Gen Z and Millennial Picks Report too!

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