We thought it would be an interesting exercise here at equimedia to have a closer look at online Christmas conversation in the weeks running up to the 25th of December.
If you want to know what’s the hottest toy in town (so you can clean up on eBay), the most popular time to beat the festive shoppers, or find out if people are more likely to use ‘Xmas’ or ‘Christmas’ in their tweets, stay tuned to our regular blog updates in the upcoming weeks.
After making it through to 2015, we can finally wrap up our small series of blogs by taking a look over the final few weeks of Christmas conversation.
December unsurprisingly contained the highest volume of monthly Christmas conversation with significant volume throughout the month. On average, conversation volume in December was around 10 times higher than that recorded in October and 2 times higher than that captured in November. So while the holiday season continues to be gradually stretched, the majority of activity still appears to be based around the more traditional December slot.
A last dash for alcohol and sprouts saw ‘Food and Drink’ conversation rise considerably in the last few days prior to Christmas, recording the highest weekly share for this topic across our survey period, accounting for 6% of the festive conversation.
Also in the final week, Christmas Eve delivered the highest single day of volume during our period of monitoring, delivering 25% more conversation than the second highest monitored day.
Surprisingly ‘TV and Entertainment’ topics continued to hold a relatively small share throughout the week of around 7%, potentially pointing to a rather underwhelming 2014 festive show line up.
The final week before Christmas found people in a mainly jovial mood with a high amount of positive sentiment around TV, presents and general festivities.
‘Boxing Day’ also generated a high amount of conversation as people looked ahead to planning their extended Christmas breaks.
Conversation did however see a rise in more negative commentary with ‘Wrapping’
proving to be a point of frustration for many. A snap survey of results highlight that only 37% of complainers are male, indicating that the scrunch and cover in sellotape technique is by far the least stressful way to tackle the time consuming job of present concealment.
Taking a step back and looking at our data this month, ‘Party and Event’ conversation showed a month on month increase in December, however, the most heartwarming jump was for ‘Goodwill, Friends and Family’ topics which saw a major increase in conversation share during the weeks running up to Christmas day.
Comparing trends on a monthly basis, overall while volume has steadily increased as Christmas approached, share for individual topics has remained at similar levels since our monitoring began in October. Taking a look across each topic we can see that…
(Ranked in order of volume share)
And finally on Christmas day…
‘Gifts and Present’ subjects continued to dominate featuring in 40% of monitored conversations, followed by ‘Good Will, Friends and Family’ (28%), which /wp-content/uploads/fills me with a warm cheery glow, and finally in third place ‘TV and Entertainment’ (10%); looks like people did end up watching a bit if telly in the end after all!
It looks like it’s time to get out your ladders and take on the cobwebs as people begins to venture into the loft to retrieve their decorations ready for another Christmas of celebration and festivities.
‘Decorations and the home’ is the second most talked about topic this week, accounting for around 26% of all monitored conversation.
So, what are the most talked about decoration topics of the last week? Prepared to be dazzled by our key observations as we dive into the dusty cardboard box of insight and bang our heads on the rafters of social chatter to see what we can find!
Of all ‘decoration and home’ conversation we have seen this week...
13% of conversation involved people already putting their decorations up, outweighing the 11% featuring observations about people putting decorations up too early!
51% of conversation in this category is ‘tree’ related.
10% of conversation featured ornamental discussion. Food, chocolate and candy decorations lead the way in popularity, closely followed by handcrafted, designer and animal-themed decorations.
Indoor lighting is mentioned twice as much as outdoor lighting. Unfortunately, no references were found to anyone purchasing a giant inflatable illuminated Santa to go in the garden.
Interesting stuff and I am sure you will agree.
Sneaking in at the end of the week, Black Friday certainly made an impact on Christmas conversation. Around 10% of all festive mentions on the 28th of November were related to this new(ish) UK phenomenon. Considering retailers have really pushed this onto the public in 2014, next year may be even more interesting as consumers begin to imprint this sales day within their shopping psyche.
Interestingly these deals have been regularly on offer over the last few years via discount codes and coupons for the hardened shopper; however the full on push by retailers this year has really seeded demand amongst the general public.
Christmas cheer remains high with positive sentiment included in 20% of all Christmas mentions this week.
‘Gifts’ and ‘tree’ topics have been the main cheer givers as people get excited about shopping and decorating the house for the festive season.
Black Friday showed a late surge, with the majority of commentary positive, as eagle eyed bargain hunters tried to cross off their Christmas shopping lists early at reduced prices.
We have, however, seen a small increase in negative commentary this week as ‘spending’ and ‘prices’ begin to feature more prominently in conversation.
We can perhaps conclude via our historical social data that public opinion will begin to become more polarized in the run up to the 25th of December when people begin to voice more emotional attitudes as the Christmas day deadline looms! Will the UK public continue to remain predominantly cheery this year? Only time will tell.
Christmas seems to have officially launched this week as the big brands have now started their Christmas push in earnest across media and in-store promotions. This has seen ‘TV and Entertainment’ topic share double since last week and we are predicting this conversation to feature prominently over the next few weeks while the impact of new creative is at its most effective.
Sainsbury’s and John Lewis appear to be the early leaders; however, we still await the first dazzling lights of the Coca-Cola truck to be seen on the horizon. We will be revisiting this topic shortly so watch this space.
In the meantime, we thought it would be interesting to see just how traditional people are in the character pressured twittersphere. For this we took a look over a sizable sample of Twitter conversations across the last few weeks to see if ‘Christmas’ or ‘Xmas’ was the more popular term for those writing a crimbo themed tweet. Would a saving of 5 characters make all the difference…….apparently not!
After excluding retweets from our data set, overall we found that ‘Christmas’ is around 4.2 times more likely to feature in related festive conversation than ‘Xmas’.
Drilling down a little further, ’Christmas’ is 4.3 times more likely to be featured in general text and 3.9 times more likely to be featured in #hashtags.
Interesting to know if you want to engage with your holiday audience, Christmas is the clear winner.
Positive Christmas sentiment remains high this week as people begin to get into the full Christmas spirit. ‘Gift Ideas’ and ‘Gift Buying’ feature heavily as people’s minds turn to purchasing ideas.
This week saw the majority of big brand Christmas advertisements begin to /wp-content/uploads/fill our screens across the major timeslots, however this seems to be a bit too much for some grumblers who are sticking to their guns and refuse to even consider thinking about festive fun until December.
All in all however the positive Christmas vibes win out this week by some considerable margin.
Bad news for the unorganised majority as data from this week’s review points towards early Christmas shoppers beginning to come out in force with conversation driven predominantly by ‘Gift and Giving’ topics.
This is only likely to get worse as no sooner as the last firework has blazed across the sky, savvy retailers have already began to push ahead with their Christmas campaigns.
Even as I sat down to think about writing this blog, the office was being /wp-content/uploads/filled with oohhs and ahhs as the new John Lewis ad launches onto YouTube.
A quick look into next week’s data already shows TV topic share shooting ahead so now is perhaps the best time to have a think about the must-have gifts for this year’s tree, as we all try and avoid our own ‘Buzz Lightyear’ moment. Empty shelves and last minute shopping do not a merry mix make!
First the bad news, using Hamley’s 2014 top 10 Christmas toy predictions list, the average price for a must-have gift is £69!
The more practical parents out there will no doubt be rushing to acquire the ‘Doh Vinci 3D Deluxe Styler’ at a very reasonable £25, however our red hot equi prediction for the 2014 sell-out is more likely to be the ‘Ice Skating Anna and Elsa’ from Frozen. A reasonable price point and some small but identifiable social buzz may point to this as the must have gift this year. As yet, however, no one has been complaining of empty shelves so get buying now to avoid disappointment (or having to spend £115 on a ‘Transformer Chomp and Stomp Robot’ instead).
All is not lost if your wallet is slightly more difficult to open. Crafting topics have been a regular occurrence within our data. The unique and personal may be the hot trend for gift giving this year so the creative amongst us may have a more suitable option to explore to better fit in with the current economic climate.
In general, positive Christmas sentiment has increased considerably this week as gifts and giving /wp-content/uploads/fill people’s online conversations. It seems the early shopper is indeed a happy shopper.
The more Grinch like among us are however are still appalled by the influx of Christmas displays appearing too early, and we also have our first confirmed sighting via Twitter of a fully erected Christmas tree in someone’s living room!
A major Christmas reminder to all was delivered at the start of the week as a Paris art installation made national news.
An inflatable art piece is perhaps not something we would expect to appear in our Christmas blog but this one was a bit different!
‘Tree’ by US artist Paul McCarthy was set-up at the Place Vendome in Paris as part of the FIAC international art festival. However some residents appeared to take a dislike to the work, insisting it resembled something other than a ‘Christmas Tree’ and voiced their anger via the medium of ‘pen knife’ deflating the 80ft sculpture into a wrinkled mess.
Alongside the general jollity around this story there has also been another sizeable jump in festive mentions this week as more people begin to gear up for Christmas.
The more organised are already finalising their travel arrangements, hoping to avoid the inevitable price hikes likely in December.
Party bookings are also in full swing, so if you haven’t already sorted out your office Crimbo arrangements time may be running out to get a decent venue!
Crafting also continues to be a popular subject as many are appearing to look for something a little different this year. It will be interesting to keep an eye on this area as we may well find retailers picking up on this trend in store, looking to expand their craft ranges or possibly presenting local crafting areas in store.
Alongside the ‘Paris tree’, Christmas Cheer this week has also been driven by ‘Gift Guides’. Retailers are beginning to produce and mail out their Christmas literature which on the whole seems to be driving a significant amount of interest and getting people to start to think about their gift ideas.
‘Christmas Jeer’ remains low at around 1% of the Christmas conversation. The most popular gripe this week however is around retail pre-ordering requirements for in demand items. Looks like retailers are keen not to disappoint their regular customers (and lock in their custom) for the more desirable items this year.
Christmas chatter is starting to grow with festive buzz up 24% since last week!
Alongside gift ideas, people’s thoughts are already turning to decorating the home with weekly share of conversation jumping from 19% to 29% this week.
Choice of decorations can be a divisive household issue, no more so than the tricky question of what will adorn the top of the tree.
I myself sit firmly in the ‘Star’ camp. I like the sparkle and I feel it adds a more outdoorsy theme which compliments the tree.
Every year my vote is considered…..and then annually disregarded as a rather disturbing Victorian style faded lace angel is taken out of a dusty box and placed upon the tree; its 1,000 mile stare burning through me like a laser beam as its considerable weight slowly bends the top branch menacingly forwards.
While ‘tree toppers’ are of utmost importance, this week’s data suggests this debate is yet to be had within the UK household. Instead, homemade and home crafting are driving decoration themes. This may point to people opting for the personal touch this Christmas, no doubt fueled by sites such as Pinterest and the explosion of pop-up crafters across social networks. Perhaps December would be a better time to re-visit the ‘tree topping’ debate!
‘Christmas Cheer’ this week has been driven by ‘Gift Sets’ and ‘Gift Ideas’ as the ultra-organised amongst us start pre-planning their Christmas lists. It will be interesting to see when monetary themes begin to appear more prominently as people move from ideas to purchase over the next few weeks.
‘Christmas Jeer’ has fallen this week to around 1% of the Christmas conversation. The most popular gripe however continues to be the appearance of early decorations and themes in public locations.
October kicked off with a flurry of conversational activity, no doubt spurred on by the start of a new month making Christmas seem that little bit closer.
‘Giving and Gifts‘ is currently the most popular theme identified, featuring in 46% of all crimbo related conversation. ‘Planning and Events’ also makes a significant contribution as people begin to organise their office and personal parties.
We also have great news for anyone planning to go food shopping this weekend as only 4% of our social data features the topic of ‘Food & Drink’. We are therefore predicting a low risk of anyone being crushed trying to obtain sprouts this weekend.
Overall, current conversational volumes are small but measurable however we are expecting to see significant growth in chatter as we role onwards through October and into November.
‘Christmas Cheer’ this week has been driven by the appearance of festive in-store displays. Our data suggests elves appear to have been unleashed as soon as the calendar spun over to October as many large retail stores have now unveiled their Christmas themes.
We have however seen a small but measurable amount of ‘Christmas Jeer’ this week with a few Grinches pointing out that we haven’t had Halloween or Bonfire night yet. Some feel these events are becoming quickly overshadowed and are losing their own personal magic.
Overall it appears the majority of the public however has now become desensitised to ‘Christmas Creep’ however it will be interesting to monitor this area of conversation as we near the end of October.
Personally I would feel utterly shocked if I couldn’t walk down a seasonal supermarket aisle and buy both a plastic pumpkin lantern and a chocolate Santa at the same time! In fact ‘Halloweenmus’ is fast becoming my favorite time of year.