Who is shopping and what this gifting season – 6 facts

During the recent Thanksgiving Week (November 20-26), research firms Digitas and Brandwatch listened to well over 2.6m conversations revolving around holiday shopping on the popular social channels. Of those, over 550,000 social shopping interactions took place on the occasion of Thanksgiving Day itself. A quick look at some of the most interesting trends surrounding 2012’s American holiday extravaganza, especially in the context of gifting, courtesy the latest research:

1. It seems that mobiles and tablets enjoyed the top spots on people’s wish-lists, with one third of all buzz containing discussion of tech gadgets, such as the iPhone 5 and the Samsung Galaxy sIII.

2. Culture/Entertainment – what the researchers classify as books, movies and theater etc – is also a major talking point, with 22 percent share of voice, closely followed by clothing at 20 percent. Surprisingly, car enthusiasts were the largest demographic chatting up the holiday shopping conversations, slightly ahead of tech lovers and parents.
3. It may be the season to be thankful, but it appears 58 percent of shoppers were actually out to buy things for themselves, leaving just 42 percent of social conversation excited to shop for others. The majority of holiday shopping chatter comes from car enthusiasts (36 percent), followed by tech lovers (33 percent), and then parents (20 percent).

4. Perhaps it’s not much of a surprise, but California is far and away the state where most shoppers are chatting about holiday shopping online. 29 percent of all Black Friday-related chatter originated in the Silicon Valley state, compared to just 8 percent from Texas and 6 percent from New York.

5. As for shopping destinations of choice, Walmart comes out on top in the store rankings, with just under a quarter (24 percent ) of the share of voice for shopping destinations, edging out Target, Best Buy and Macy’s who had 21 percent , 14 percent and 12 percent respectively.

6. In anticipation of what’s expected to be a robust December shopping season—U.S. holiday sales are predicted to increase 3.5-4 percent over last year to $920-925 billion. Confirming the trend of the holiday as a big day for digital shopping, Jordan Bitterman, the SVP (Social-Mobile-Content Lead) of Digitas, said, “Social has had a profound impact on the consumer shopping experience. While consumers use these channels to source product recommendations, share excitement, and vent frustrations, retailers can use the information to analyze consumer sentiment and predict market trends. If harnessed properly, brands can then use that data to accelerate their efforts this holiday season.”

This research is the first in a new series from Digitas and Brandwatch focused on providing social analyses and real-time snapshots of a variety of consumer trends and preferences. The research has been done on the heels of another one by Digitas prior to the holiday, which focused on the Thanksgiving transformation into ‘Mobile Thursday’, suggesting a marked rise in shopping via tablets and smartphones on that day.

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