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Big retailers are encouraging shoppers to start their holiday shopping sooner rather than later this year. While it seems like retailers prep for the holidays earlier and earlier every year, this time it’s not just a marketing ploy. Everyone from the CDC to manufacturers is pushing the “shop early” message to thwart the effects COVID-19 will likely have on the yuletide season. 

BrandGraph 500, which ranks the nation’s top brands by social content volume, shows Walmart, Target, and Amazon all had sharp increases in social content. 

The chart below shows the top 10 brands with the highest content count in September 2021. Target climbed 73 spots, Walmart went up 63 spots, and Amazon moved up 23 spots – and holiday shopping is likely why these brands are climbing the chart.

Retailers want consumers to shop now

As you might suspect, COVID-19 is behind the motivation to get shoppers to take action. Consumers who shop in crowded stores, especially on Black Friday or Christmas Eve, are at a higher risk of COVID exposure. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention just added ‘shopping in a crowded store’ to its list of high-risk activities.  

The pandemic has also damaged the world’s supply chain. In many stores, inventory is low and delivery times are sluggish. 

These factors create a COVID holiday storm, and if consumers don’t want to feel its wrath, shopping early is the answer. 

Walmart releases deals and hiring news 

Retailers usually wait to release their coveted holiday deals until the end of October, but not this year. In September, Walmart released a complete digital guide of kid-approved holiday gifts with in-store availability and shipping times listed on every item. 

In addition to the retailer’s toy list, the company is also actively recruiting 150,000 employees to help with the holiday rush this year. This is on top of an estimated 20,000 employees the company needs to manage its curbside and delivery services that became wildly popular during the pandemic. 

The announcement had everyone from news outlets to stock investors buzzing.

Posts like this one from @Forbes not only sparked social conversation but have Walmart’s share of voice at an all-time high for the year.

Graph showing Walmart's Share of Voice

Amazon releases deals early

Meanwhile, Amazon released Black-Friday-like deals as well. Hot items like Apple Airpods and Le Creuset baking dishes are all on sale now, about a month earlier than usual.  

And the Twittersphere started talking about it. For instance, @vougemagazine put together a list of beauty products that are part of Amazon’s holiday deals.

And wellness influencer @iamwellandgood curated her own list of gifts from Amazon’s holiday deals and shared it with her 100k+ Twitter followers.

Interestingly, BrandGraph provides detailed information about the people who share this kind of content, including the average age of Amazon’s top content creators. Research shows about 40% of creators are between the ages of 25-34 and another 20% are between the ages of 35-44.

Graph of age of Content Creators talking about Amazon

Target announces pay hikes for holiday hours

While Target is keeping its holiday bargains under wraps, the retailer made headlines by announcing a holiday pay increase. Employees who work in stores, at service centers, or help manage the supply chain will receive a $2 an hour pay bump on certain days when things are hectic – like the weekends leading up to Christmas. 

The brand hopes the pay increase aids in employee retention and maybe even encourages current staff to pick up overtime hours amid a labor shortage. 

Content creators like @AlbertFong shared the story with his Twitter followers:

Like Walmart, Target’s share of voice increased in September amid its holiday prep news. BrandGraph shows Target’s share of voice climbing above average in September and is expected to hit 40% by October.

BrandGraph chart about Target Share of Voice

BrandGraph 500 - Top 50 Brands by Content Volume - September 2021

  1. Instagram
  2. YouTube
  3. TikTok
  4. Disney
  5. Amazon 
  6. Target
  7. Facebook
  8. Walmart
  9. Twitter
  10. Google
  11. Apple 
  12. Amazon Fashion
  13. Poshmark
  14. iPhone
  15. Disneyland
  16. Cricut
  17. Netflix
  18. Starbucks
  19. Pinterest
  20. Etsy 
  21. Spotify
  22. Walt Disney World
  23. Nike
  24. Drake
  25. Dollar Tree
  26. Costco Wholesale
  27. Star Wars
  28. Minecraft
  29. WhatsApp
  30. Whole Foods 
  31. Oreo 
  32. Sephora
  33. Patreon
  34. Bitcoin
  35. WW
  36. Airbnb
  37. Twitch
  38. Morphe Cosmetics
  39. IKEA
  40. Reddit
  41. Samsung
  42. Pottery Barn
  43. Benefit Cosmetics
  44. Mickey Mouse
  45. ASOS
  46. Mercedes-Benz
  47. Fortnite
  48. Discord
  49. Xbox
  50. PayPal

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