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Twitter followers ‘linked to supermarket sales’

Written by Chris Lemmon
02/02/2016

Research conducted by Starcount, a predictive insight company, has suggested that there is a correlation between the success of supermarkets over the Christmas period and an increase in two categories of Twitter followers.

According to the analysis of data gathered from seven major supermarkets – Aldi, Asda, Marks & Spencer, Morrisons, Sainsbury’s, Tesco and Waitrose – gaining new followers who are passionate about food and supermarkets can be linked to their sales performances over the festive season.

The data collected by Starcount found that a supermarket’s overall number of Twitter followers did not necessarily relate to their Christmas sales figures. Patterns emerged, however, when the analysis was more focused on relevant clusters of followers.

Dividing the supermarkets’ 2015 Twitter audiences into two segments, those with a passion for food and those with a passion for supermarkets, Starcount’s data revealed an increase in followers within these specialised segments resulted in better Christmas sales. Aldi, for example, enjoyed an 80 per cent increase in combined ‘foodie’ and ‘supermarket’ followers, which paired with a 13 per cent increase in sales over the same period.

Conversely, Waitrose experienced a lower uptake of foodie followers at 39 per cent, coinciding with a 1.4 per cent decrease in sales across its established stores. Marks & Spencer’s food business rose by 0.4 per cent, which Starcount associated with a 67 per cent rise in foodie followers, while a slump in sales of general merchandise correlated to a comparatively low uptake (25 per cent) in the supermarket follower category.

Clive Humby, chief data scientist at Starcount, argued: “Twitter can offer unprecedented insight into target audiences, and yet many businesses are not using it to its full advantage. Through our research, we can for the first time see a direct correlation between sales figures and Twitter followers, by drilling down into the complex nature of people’s passions.”



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