New York Times READ

Who’s Hot, Who’s Not: Consumer Buzz Trends as Holiday 2021 Fast Approaches

Published by Engagement Labs August 27, 2021

Consumer conversation trends reveal who has the most WOM traction and who needs to take quick corrective action

Who’s Hot, Who’s Not: Consumer Buzz Trends as Holiday 2021 Fast Approaches

For much of the country late August means back to school, and end of summer vacations.

For marketers it means the final push to prepare for holiday 2021. As Adweek recently noted, “The holidays aren’t yet top of mind for most consumers, but brands and retailers know that planning for these make-or-break moments starts now.”

Adweek’s article asked the question, “How Can Brands and Retailers Prepare for the 2021 Holiday Season?”

One missing element in their mix is to understand whether your brand is riding a wave of buzz that will put your brand on everyone’s holiday list – and if so, to build on that momentum. Or, if your buzz is lagging, then no time like the present to take steps to remediate that problem. In either case, leave nothing to chance and don’t delay.

Here then are some of the brands who’s WOM is on the rise, and those that are lagging.


Children’s Products

Let’s start with children’s products and retailers, since after all, the holidays are for the kids, right?

For products, Lego is riding the hot hand right now, with 4m+ more offline WOM impressions per week over the past 12 weeks versus the prior 12. OshKosh (+3.6m), Graco (+1.8m), Baby Einstein (+1.4m), Hot Wheels (+1.2m) are all up substantially as well.  In terms of children’s retailers, the greatest momentum rests with Gap Kids (+2.4m) and Baby Gap (+2m), Children’s Place (+1.8m), and Honest Company (+920k).

Meanwhile, Fisher-Price has its work cut out for it, with the largest drop in WOM within the category, with -1.78m fewer WOM conversation over the past 12 weeks versus the prior 12. It is joined by NERF (-1.3m), Barbie (-1.3m), American Girl (-740k) and Sesame Street (sorry Big Bird – but your WOM is down by -630k WOM impressions per week).

Top 10 Winners and Losers' Children's Products Category


People are talking more about many forms of retail. Department stores lead the way (+11.9 m weekly WOM impressions for the category). The biggest drop is among the home centers (-34.8m), which is more likely a result of a drop from their extremely elevated standing during Covid as Americans rushed to invest in home repairs and upgrades to accommodate their new lifestyles.

% Change in Retail Category Offline Volume

More specifically, the top 5 retail brands with WOM momentum heading into the holiday season are Gap (+7.4m), Macy’s (+6.4m), Amazon (+6m), Sam’s Club (+5.7m), and Nike (+5.7m). Meanwhile, Target (-13.3m) and Walmart (-6.5m) are seeing huge declines in WOM, as are Best Buy (-3.7m) and Victoria’s Secret (-3.6m).

Biggest Gains and Sharpest Declines For Retail/Apparel Category

Video Games

All forms of entertainment have soared during Covid, and at the holiday season video games are certain to be popular. But which titles?

NBA 2k (+1.7m) has the most WOM growth, followed by World of Warcraft (+1.5m) and Assassin’s Creed (+1.4m), Roblox (+1.2m) and Resident Evil (+1.2m).

Word of mouth has declined sharply for Age of Empires 4 (-3.2m) and League of Legends (-3m), followed by Call of Duty (-1.9m), Diablo (-1.9m) and Batman: Arkham (-1.8m).

Video Games Gaining and Losing the Most Offline Conversation Volume

It’s Time to Act to Assure a Strong Holiday 2021 Outcome

Now is the time for brands that have WOM momentum to keep building buzz, and for those that are lagging to work overtime to get things turned around.

As a marketer looking to maximize your Holiday 2021 results, there is no better group of consumers than those who are already talking about your brand and category – connect with them and let them share their stories. Engagement Labs has the data and insights to help you drive advocacy that will amplify your messages and accelerate sales, Engagement Labs. Further, with our digital activation partner Dstillery, you can reach powerful, new-to-market audience segments that will enable your media buying to be more efficient and effective in time to have an impact on this holiday season.

Engagement Labs and Dstillery Partner to Help Brands Tap into Word-of-Mouth Audiences at Scale

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