Ralph Lauren was the big winner in the Winter Olympics with the greatest share of social media conversations surrounding the games at 38%, from Feb. 7 to Feb. 13 and peaking during the opening ceremony, according to a Digimind report emailed to Retail Dive.
That tops the share held by Amazon (32%), Target (26%) and Walmart (4%), with Ralph Lauren receiving 413 mentions, compared to 349, 281 and 43 respectively.
Amazon had the most negative sentiment overall, with 39% of mentions expressing negative sentiment, which was 14% higher than any other retailer. By contrast, Ralph Lauren and Walmart both had overwhelmingly positive sentiment, with 75% of mentions ranking positively.
The first week of the Olympics conversation was dominated by Ralph Lauren on social media, most likely because the retailer designed Team USA's uniforms for the PyeongChang games.
That also explains the spike in mentions, which occurred during the opening ceremony and accounted for over 200 of the brand's mentions, after which point the conversation tapered off a bit. Amazon also experienced a noticeable spike during the opening ceremony, whereas Target and Walmart had lower, more consistent social traffic throughout.
Overall, the Olympics aren't particularly lucrative for retailers outside of the apparel category — even companies like GM and P&G are cutting their TV ad spend during the event. But the games do provide some brands the opportunity to partner with part-time celebrities like Lindsey Vonn and Chloe Kim, and capitalize on the temporary interest there.
Nevertheless, being a part of the conversation on social media can be important. After all, social media is more important to Gen Z than discounts are, and 80% of purchases by the younger generation are influenced by those platforms. Consumers also increasingly expect to have two-way conversations with brands on social media, and 60% of the youngest generation think it's important for brands to value their opinions, among other things.
As far as social media usage around the Olympics goes, most mentions are coming from Twitter (46%), Instagram (32%) and Facebook (19%), with 3% coming from other online sources, according to Digimind. That's good news as far as spend goes, considering that Instagram influences 75% of user purchase decisions and is increasingly being used by retailers for influencer marketing campaigns.
Still, retail's relationship to the Olympics is a fickle one, as viewership for the two-week events continues to drop, causing marketers to question whether it's worth it or not to shell out the cash for primetime ad slots and celebrity partnerships.