Predictive Analysis: Toys that Rock for the Holidays

November 28, 2011
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Holiday Gift Finder Predictive Analytics 300x205 photo (predictive analytics)

Author: Linda Rosencrance
Spotfire Blogging Team

Holiday Gift Finder Predictive Analytics 300x205 photo (predictive analytics)

Author: Linda Rosencrance
Spotfire Blogging Team

Ah, Cyber Monday. The day 51% of American workers plan to hit the Internet to shop for holiday gifts—some will even spend two or more hours shopping for great deals online.

I’ll probably do a little cybershopping today, hoping to snag some hot toys for the children of a friend of mine. I remember when my son was little some of the the must-have toys were Teddy Ruxpin and the original Cabbage Patch Kids (OK, maybe they were more for me than him, but you get the idea). I’d stand in line for hours so he could wake up Christmas morning and find that year’s hot toy under the tree.

That got me to wondering what the predictions were for this year’s sizzlin’ toys. So without further ado, let’s take a look.

Full disclosure: I love Elmo. C’mon who doesn’t? Sesame Street’s furry little red monster with a positive attitude captured my heart many, many years ago and he hasn’t let go.

So imagine my disappointment when I happened upon this social media monitoring study that determined that Sesame Street’s “Let’s Rock! Elmo” wasn’t going to be one of the smokin’ hot toys this year.

The study, conducted by Ann Michaels & Associates, used predictive analytics to determine how effective monitoring social media sites is in determining which toys are the “must haves” for consumers this season. 

The aim of the study was to evaluate the spread of online conversation after the official release of the Toys “R” Us Holiday Hot Toy List—the 15 must-have toys—for this holiday shopping season.

Using a social media monitoring program, the researchers tracked the online conversations regarding the 15 hot toys before and after the list was released. They tracked any social conversation occurring online, including message boards and forums, social media venues such as Twitter and Facebook, blogs, and other social sites.

The study revealed that online word of mouth can drive purchasing decisions within the toy industry. Using predictive analytics to analyze the data, the researchers determined that the most talked about toys on social media sites will most likely be the best selling toys of the 2011 holiday shopping season.

The researchers collected and analyzed over 6,000 pieces of data and created several analytical reports so they could more clearly understand the volume, frequency, location, and change in conversations over time.

The most prominent findings from this study include:

  • More people talked about the 15 hot toys after the list was released
  • Within three days after the list was released, the talk surrounding Air Swimmers spiked
  • Based on the data collected, as well as the shift in online conversation and specific conversation themes in the aggregated data, three of the 15 toys were predicted to be the top sellers this holiday season: Air Swimmers, followed by Skylanders, and then Moshi Monsters.

Although the results of the study aren’t scientific, they do illustrate the importance of analyzing social media monitoring in the retail industry in terms of marketing for brand exposure and awareness and assessing customer satisfaction.

In early 2012, Ann Michaels & Associates will conduct another study to evaluate the data following the holiday shopping season to determine whether their initial predictions were correct.

But I don’t care what the data says or will say—Elmo still rocks.

Next Step: Use the TIBCO Spotfire gift finder to find the perfect gift for everyone on your holiday shopping list.