Christmas optimism ‘rising as festive period approaches’

Scots are becoming increasingly optimistic about Christmas as the days count down to December 25, research suggests.

Christmas optimism ‘rising as festive period approaches’ Getty Images

Scots are becoming increasingly optimistic about Christmas as the days count down to December 25, according to research.

Weber Shandwick tracked social media data from late September to the end of November with a digital listening tool used to gauge the language, tone, context and even emojis used in posts.

In the week commencing September 28, 28% of social media posts in Scotland were defined as having a negative sentiment towards Christmas – with this figure peaking at 29% in the week of October 19 when the five-tier restrictions were announced.

But by November 23, the number of negative posts had dropped to 22%.

Meanwhile, the positive figure started at 30%, dropped to 26% in the week of October 19 and returned to 30% for November 23.

The figure for neutral posts – where no sentiment could be detected – was 42% at September 28 and 48% by the end of November, having been just one point higher at the start of the month.

Natalie Buxton, Weber Shandwick managing director, said: “In an unprecedented year, it’s reassuring to learn that consumer confidence has been gradually increasing in the run-up to Christmas. We all hope this continues into 2021.

“Our research shows an increasing gap between those who can’t wait to get back to normal and others who remain cautious.

“Brands and businesses will need to speak to each audience appropriately and make sure everyone is catered for.”

In the week of November 23-29, the data suggests there was a greater volume of conversation with negativity ebbing away as Christmas grew nearer.

But the previous week, November 16-22, saw posts with negative reactions to various supermarket Christmas adverts as well as to many areas of the country being placed in level four restrictions.

Rebecca Halligan, a social listening expert at Weber Shandwick, said: “Whilst Christmas was a daunting prospect for most Scots earlier this year, we’ve seen in recent weeks that sentiment has started to become more positive.

“It’s encouraging to see that while there are still some serious concerns about this festive period because of the pandemic, the data shows that Scottish people are starting to feel the Christmas spirit.

“With Christmas trees going up early across the country, it’s clear that in this incredibly difficult year people are looking for something to look forward to, and a reason to be in good cheer.”