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Online Trends

Published November 24th 2017

Black Friday 2017 Data: In Uncertain Times, How Do Consumers Feel About Spending?

The React team was keen to find out how consumers felt about spending their cash during an uncertain time. Check out our social data on the US and UK.

From supermarket clashes to website crashes, the Brandwatch React team has all the Black Friday 2017 data.

This year we thought we’d take a very specific look at the Black Friday conversation.

In times of uncertainty, how are consumers feeling about parting with their hard earned cash? And how do they feel about the deals? Since it’s still early in the US (our analysis runs up to 7am ET) we’ll mainly focus on UK data.

Black Friday 2017 data: Top line stats

Since we’re gathering data very early, here’s data on some of the hype:

  • We tracked 383,000 Black Friday tweets on Thursday 23 November (excluding RTs)
  • Looking at gender-categorized authors, tweets were distributed equally (50/50) between men and women.
  • The majority (66%) of those tweets came from the US.
  • The United Kingdom was second, with 13% of the tweets.

Despite the huge mention volumes, on the streets it was a tame start in the UK.

It’s clear that Black Friday has become more of an online affair.

What are the feels?

We’re not sure if you’ve noticed, but we’re big fans of emojis. So, we thought, what better way to track feelings towards Black Friday than with emojis?

Before you answer, here’s a chart:

Black friday 2017 data shows that consumers are more likely to use negative emojis in their tweets than organizational accounts (like retail chains). The biggest emoji used in consumer conversation is the sad/crying face while in the organizational accounts it's smiling faces.

It doesn’t look like consumers are feeling too pleased about Black Friday – there are a lot of sad faces going on. Whether it’s because pay day hasn’t come yet, they’re working and missing out, or they’ve spent too much money, lots of people are complaining. To be fair, though, the smiles aren’t far behind with plenty of shoppers ready for a day deal-hunting.

Predictably, organisational verified accounts that include big retailers are tweeting smiles all round. Given the economic uncertainty in the UK and reports suggesting that the country faces an austere Christmas, we suspect that the online optimism is not replicated in board rooms.

Please note that some of the emojis in the chart represent wider groups (e.g the smiley face represents a who group of smiley, happy faces. Meanwhile, the grimacing emoji represents the grimacing emoji alone). For context, the US numbers look very similar indeed.

Delving deeper

What do these emojis mean in the context of Black Friday? Here’s a whistle-stop tour of some of the best illustrative tweets:


If you don’t want to spend money, ignore your emails today.


So much to choose from…


Getting into debt is hilarious when you think about it.


Time for a day out!


First world problems.


Maybe these deals aren’t so good after all…


The lines!


Budgeting has gone out the window.

Just the surface

Of course, this is a very simple analysis and with Brandwatch Analytics there’s plenty more you could do with this data that goes far beyond emoji analysis. You could break it down by state or city, find out if men and women feel differently, work out if reactions are different to last year, or see how brands from different industries compare with each other on Black Friday hype.

Want to give it a go? Try it for yourself!


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