U.S. Elections Could Shape These Industries Differently Than Others

  • by , Op-Ed Contributor, March 24, 2015

Candidates’ views aren’t the only things taking shape in the run-up to another long election season. Different issues are being discussed throughout the country — both private and public — across personal and industrial lines, and as the sides clarify their terms they become more and more clearly political.

So how will 2016 shape different American industries? 


Retail is currently the largest of any other industry on Facebook in the U.S. Retail brands combined have more than 218 million Facebook fans, and the leaders of the biggest retail companies rely on these Fans for business. Since 2010’s U.S. Supreme Court decision in the Citizens United case, corporations themselves can fund ads to influence an election right until the end of the fight. Expect the retail industry and its most leading figures to play a significant role in the 2016 showdown. 

Right now, the main discussion seems to come down to more than just the host of traditional business-owner issues, like tax cuts, health care, and the minimum wage. Retailers are also splitting over traditionally social issues like civil rights and immigration, and, in the quick service restaurant industry, America’s second-largest industry on social media with more than 211 million fans, GMOs and federal nutrition regulations as well.

Fast-moving Consumer Goods Food

Some FMCG Food brands are getting notably involved in popular causes in their marketing. America’s largest FMCG food brand is Oreo, which has more than 12 million fans in the U.S., and has famously come out in support of marriage equality. Skittles and Ben & Jerry’s are also among the top brands in this industry in the USA, and use their political voices while marketing. On Facebook, they also use those voices well — FMCG food brands are, generally, ahead of the trends compared to the other largest American industries on social. Their content is more likely to be a video, which is the smartest bet for getting great reach today, and is more shareable (10% of all their engagements are shared, far above average) than all of the other top industries — aside from e-commerce, which sees between 12% and 14% of its engaged content get shared. 


E-commerce is the fourth-largest American industry on Facebook, with more than 126 million fans. Politically speaking, its biggest domestic issue was likely just solved — for now. When the FCC approved what is known as net neutrality, it ensured that potential customers around the world would continue to be able to access e-commerce services uninterrupted. E-commerce’s stake in the 2016 elections will likely revolve around each candidate’s commitment to maintaining net neutrality. 

While these industries aren’t the nation’s fastest growing or the highest earning, they may indeed be some of the most influential in the upcoming election. Their activity on social media belies their dependence on public support — so the most important consideration of all really may be the continued support of their fan bases — and however they think those fans will vote, they might feel the need to fall in line. Come 2016, we’ll see.

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