How Covid-19 has impacted content about the holiday season
The pandemic has altered the way we will celebrate this holiday season, as people prepare for smaller gatherings and a completely different approach to Black Friday sales.
In this piece, built using NewsWhip, we look back at some of the most engaged coverage of Thanksgiving and Black Friday through the lens of the pandemic, and looks forward to the conversations we are beginning to have about Christmas around the world this year.
Covid-19 & Thanksgiving
There has been a huge amount of content produced about the intersection of Covid-19 and Thanksgiving. In the past week alone there have been several narratives that have circulated leading up to the American holiday traditionally marked by large gatherings. More than 20,000 articles have been published relating to Covid and themes of Thanksgiving or gratitude in the past seven days. What are the viewpoints and recommendations that are resonating the most? We looked back at the data since September 1st to find out.
The timeline above from NewsWhip Spike shows how interest has increased in both the media and the public spheres with regards to Covid-19 and Thanksgiving. Through September there was a baseline of a few hundred articles per day about the holidays and the pandemic, but in the past week that has surged to well over 1,000 pieces per day. The public interest in the topic has mirrored the media interest, with engagements per day rising to well over 600k/day in the last few days.
For clarity, when we talk about engagement on a URL here, we mean Facebook likes, shares, and comments on that article, as well as Twitter influencer shares and Pinterest pins. Let’s look at some of the articles that drove that engagement.
The most engaged articles about the topic all tended to align with warnings from health experts about the risks of travelling for the holidays, which have dominated the conversation this year. The coverage was very political, with a number of references to Joe Biden advocating to limit Thanksgiving gatherings to no more than ten people. Some of the top articles, though, were simply explainers, either highlighting new rules in certain states or exploring how gatherings can cause outbreaks locally and nationally.
The pandemic and Black Friday
Covid has also had an impact on how retailers have approached Black Friday this year, though this topic has seen less engagement overall than the articles about the risks of gathering for the holidays. The stories below feature some of the top brands in the US that were talked about in the context of Black Friday.
The most engaged story came from Kotaku, and featured a report about Gamestop challenging their employees to a TikTok dance contest to get more hours.
Walmart and Target also featured prominently, with their renewed pandemic-driven approach to Black Friday featuring in a number of different articles. An initiative from IKEA to reduce waste by buying back used furniture, via its ‘Buy Back Friday’ event, spun the idea of the holiday into an environmentally-friendly action that resulted in one of the top pieces of content in terms of engagement.
There’s a rich vein of data to explore here, and we dig into it deeper in our latest report, as well as taking a look at what is happening on Reddit around similar topics and looking ahead to the impact on Christmas.