Editor’s note: Alister Houghton is content manager at Relative Insight, London. 

Surveys, statistics and vast amounts of research are painting a bleak picture for the upcoming holiday season. Research by KPMG shows that 85% of consumers are somewhat, moderately or extremely concerned about inflation ahead of the holidays. Emodo Institute’s annual holiday shopper survey shows that financial concerns have surged 153%, predicted to lead to an environment in which many shoppers will shop less this year.

While these eyebrow-raising numbers are significant, gaining a more holistic and granular understanding of the why behind consumer concerns can surface some surprising insights. Text analytics is one way to understand how consumers plan to cope with the cost-of-living crisis over the holidays. 

Relative Insight analyzed 25,000 tweets relating to the cost of the holidays from both October 2021 and October 2022 to find out more. Using comparative text analytics to surface the differences between each set of tweets, this year-on-year comparison begins to build an understanding of consumers’ specific concerns and changing behaviors. 

Beyond what they are planning to buy – or not – this season, the analysis also surfaced varying sentiment around two key industries: travel and gaming.

After being hit hard by the pandemic, travel firms may be hoping that the subsidence in COVID-19 cases would encourage more people to travel to see vulnerable family members this winter. While the virus might not hold them back, prices might.

Consumers were 2.4 times more likely to talk about flights and also more likely to use the phrases “Xmas travel” and “flying home.” The increase in flight prices is making consumers question whether traveling to see family is unaffordable and will be something they avoid this year.

“Flying home for Christmas is expensive as hell this year 😓”

“Booked my flights w...