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Online Trends

Published January 15th 2019

Is Veganuary Bigger than Dry January? Social Media Data Gets to the Truth

Online conversation around veganism is growing, but can Veganuary take over the more established New Year's resolution of Dry January? The Brandwatch React team investigates.

At the beginning of the year lots of us make resolutions. Less of us stick to them, but many of us choose ones with an associated hashtag.

This is where we come in.

Following a whole lot of buzz around veganism recently, we were interested to see how going vegan this January (“Veganuary”) compared to one of the most established of January rituals – Dry January.

History of Dry January

Alcohol Change (AC) UK claim that Dry January started in 2012, although I’d guess that lots of people have cut down on booze after New Year previous to that.

That said, the numbers of people signing up with AC for Dry January has risen massively over the years – from 4,000 people in 2012 to 100,000 people in 2018.

They say that 4,000,000 people took part in 2018 overall.

History of Veganuary

Veganuary, which is a registered charity, started in 2014, and has grown to 220,000 sign ups this year. It’s a relatively recent thing to take up as a January ritual, especially when you compare it to the long-running pattern of cutting down on alcohol after a boozy festive season.

We’ve covered a lot of topics around veganism, most recently looking at the launch of Greggs’ vegan sausage role in the UK. We know it’s growing. But is it outgrowing Dry January?

It’s a close race!

Weaving and wavering

We took a look at mentions of Dry January and Veganuary across social media by day so far this month. We removed retweets to make sure we’re looking at individual input on the two resolutions.

At some points of the month, like 1 January, Dry January is definitely the most prominent of the two resolutions.

I get that. There’s nothing like a hungover first day of the year to get you to give up drinking for a month.

But shortly after, Veganuary reaches a large peak and is able to stay on top of Dry January for the next few days.

At different points of the month so far, it seems people have become more or less interested in each of the resolutions, and both conversations seem to be trending downward.

Looks like people are starting to give up on their well-intentioned pledges!

Is Veganuary bigger than Dry January this year?

We’ve seen how interest in the two are going up and down this month, but which has the most conversation?

Again, we removed retweets to see which was generating the most individual conversation.

The results?

Veganuary is 👑

Different emotions

Diving a little deeper into the two conversations, I noticed that emotions surrounding them were very different.

Here’s what the emojis look like:

Emojis around Veganuary relate to food (as expected) as well as very positive facial expressions.

Compare that to Dry January – the facial expression emojis are way more negative.

Both Veganuary and Dry January have the potential to have positive effects on our health, but Dry January appears to be discussed a lot more negatively. That’s not just emojis, either. Looking at positive- and negative-categorized mentions, Dry January has nearly double the number of negative mentions.

Perhaps the key to encouraging people to make lifestyle changes is to create positive messages as opposed to ones that generate fear or negativity.

If Veganuary can continue this positive momentum, perhaps they’ll be even more successful next year.

Got a question about our data? Email react@brandwatch.com for more information.

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