A year living social trends: September is the Life Reset
Another month, another trend. Here at OneFifty, we’re continuing to live social trends, with veganism, gin, outdoor cinema, and craft beer amongst ones we’ve experienced so far this year – purely for research purposes, of course.
As summer draws to a rather underwhelming conclusion this year, most people will consider September a fairly drab month where it’s too late to hope for a bit more sunshine, but too soon to start posting Christmas memes on Facebook. What did we all do last September? Well, social data would tell you that we actually did quite a lot, most of which correlates with our monthly trend: the ‘life reset’.
What is the life reset?
Earlier in the year, we looked at the ‘health reset’, where people pick up their abandoned new year’s resolutions in a second attempt to adapt their lifestyle for the better. The life reset is similar, but takes a number of different forms: renewing, restarting, upgrading, and starting something new.
September is the month where people renew subscriptions or memberships. There is a 256% difference in Twitter conversation around rail cards and Oyster cards between September and March. Similarly, September is also the second most popular month (after January) for people searching for gym memberships on Google.
Those who are interested in rail and underground transport are predominantly in the 25-34 age bracket, with very little difference in interest from men and women. This is also true of those interested in gyms.
Interestingly, these two demographics of people share one thing in common: their location. These young adults renewing their travel and gym subscriptions are primarily based in London or other major UK cities, indicating that there is a city ‘lifestyle’ adopted and curated in September. This could possibly correlate with new jobs starting around this time of year (Twitter conversation shows Aug – Sept is the second most popular time during the year to move house), bringing with it a migration of people to the cities.
Perhaps the most significant thing which is restarted in September is school. Since June, mentions of 'backtoschool' on Twitter have grown by 8,246%, reaching a peak of 20,700 mentions on 5th September alone, whilst on Instagram we estimate that 'backtoschool' has been used globally 4.6M times on Instagram this summer.
Somewhat surprisingly, 36.3% of Twitter posts during this period showed positive sentiment, whilst only 19.1% showed negative sentiment. In addition, the two month period leading up to the end of school this year only saw 857% increase in ‘end of school’ conversation; 330% less than the increase in ‘back to school’ conversation.
This indicates that people (students, schools and, unsurprisingly, parents) in general look forward to going back to school more than they do the summer holidays.
This is the month when people choose to upgrade their phones, a decision no doubt made with Apple and Samsung’s encouragement. Since 2007, Apple have released a new iPhone every year, and since 2011 launches have regularly taken place in September. On average, iPhones are now searched for on Google 1.7x more in September than they are in March (with Samsung phones searched for 1.2x more).
Tech bloggers seem to have a big sway over audiences and their choice to upgrade – last September, 80% of blog sentiment* around the new iPhone release was positive.
Interestingly, and perhaps as a result, phone contracts are also searched for more on Google in September than in any other month (1.22x more in 2016), with mentions of new phones/phone contracts with network providers increasing by 185% this month: another type of subscription which can be used alongside travel and gym subscriptions to argue that September is the month of renewal.
With the release of the iPhone 8 scheduled to take place on 12th September, it will be interesting to see how conversation inflates this month as a result.
Starting something new
As the weather worsens (if that’s possible) and the days get shorter, people spend more time indoors – and in front of the TV. That’s why September is also a popular month for a new wave of TV programmes to hit our screens.
Last year, conversation around Poldark and its lovable (?) main character soared to 8,300 Twitter mentions on its first night, and was driven every week by the airing of each new episode with an average of 4,575 mentions each Sunday. There were also 2.6x more Google searches for the series in September.
How will we live the trend?
Four members of the team have decided to take up the September life reset challenge, each one either renewing, restarting, upgrading, or beginning something, all in the service of social data research.
We’ll let you know how we get on!
*of positive and negative mentions only