Wal-Mart, Sears Most 'Liked' Retailers

Walmart TV
Source: courtesy of Wal-Mart Stores Inc.
If getting a “like” on Facebook’s social media platform could be translated directly into dollars, the management at Wal-Mart Stores Inc. (NYSE: WMT) and Sears Holdings Corp. (NASDAQ: SHLD) might be a little happier about this news. Among the big-box stores, Wal-Mart is the runaway leader in likes, comments and shares (links) with more than 40 million in the November/December 2014 holiday shopping season. Sears leads the department store category with more than 12 million social media links.

The totals were compiled by analytics firm Searchmetrics and included data from the websites of three big-box retailers (Wal-Mart, Target and Costco) and nine department stores (Sears, Kohl’s, Macy’s, Nordstrom, J.C. Penney, Saks, Belk and Dillard’s).

The interesting thing about this research is that, combined with other research from Forrester, it indicates that Facebook Inc. (NASDAQ: FB) is having a significant impact on the search market. When Forrester asked U.S. consumers how they found online information or a recently visited website, the largest share said they used search engines. But the gap between search engines and Facebook has closed.

Organic search got 36% of the queries, according to Forrester, compared with 25% who said they used Facebook. Among big spenders (more than $1,000 in online purchases in the past three months), nearly half rely most on search engines. However, the Searchmetrics research showed, some 23% of people who researched holiday gifts used Facebook links, including friends’ recommendations, company pages, advertising and promotions.

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Among the big-box stores, Target Corp. (NYSE: TGT) received 16.5 million Facebook links during the holidays and Costco Wholesale Corp. (NASDAQ: COST) received 5.3 million.

As for the department stores, trailing Sears at number two was Kohl’s Corp. (NYSE: KSS) with 5.2 million, Macy’s Inc. (NYSE: M) finished third with 2.3 million, and Nordstrom Inc. (NYSE: JWN) finished with 1.6 million. No other department store received more than 400,000 Facebook links.