Ever wondered how much the 2016 presidential candidates earn from the books they sell while they're soaking up huge amounts of media attention during elections?
I know I often wonder whether media coverage equates to whether voters on the ground are willing to put down their money to buy something (i.e. like a book or t shirt) produced/endorsed by one of the candidates.
Following up on our previous article that looked at how to know what competitors' sales are (in real time), find out what marketing and advertising they use, I thought it would be fun to see whether Hillary Clinton's new book sells more than Bernie Sanders', or whether more people splash out to buy one of Donald Trump's t-shirts than do Democrat party supporters.
We tracked the Amazon sales of books written by each one of the presidential candidates (all released within a few months of each other in 2015, and all of roughly the same price - although Clinton's title is a few dollars more) using RankTracer Enterprise, as well as their best selling election t-shirts.
The results, as it turns out, are certainly not what I expected, but I wonder if you'll be surprised...
Ok, so before you see a direct comparison between the sales here, it's important to note that Donald Trump's book is an entrepreneurial title and not a socio-political pseudo biography type book. In other words, it's not a true comparison because different genres experience differing average sales volumes and levels of demand.
Hillary Clinton's 'Hard Choices'
Hard Choices Came out in April, 2015 and has an average of 3 out of 5 stars from over 2000 reviewers. From the overview above you can see that it is averaging about 7 sales a day at an average sales rank of just under 11 000.
Looking at the sales rank graph below, you can see a ranking dip around April 15 - 16, taking the sales rank down (remember a sales rank of 1 is the best) to about 6000, before slipping back to the norm.
Bernie Sanders' 'Outsider in the White House'
Outsider in the White House came out in September, 2015 and comes in a few dollars cheaper than Clinton's title at just over $10. It's racked up an impressive 4.5 stars out of 5, but from only 93 reviewers (far fewer than Hillary Clinton's title).
Looking at the sales graph, Sanders' book also experienced a nice spike in sales around the 15th - 16th of April that has persisted much better than Clinton's corresponding sales boost.
Donald Trump's 'The Art of the Deal'
Trump: The Art of the Deal was published in October, 2015 (at least, this version of it) and could legitimately be called a best-seller. It's hard to keep a book ranking in the top few hundred for a few weeks, let alone a year, and it has 4.5 stars out of 5 by a shade over 1000 reviewers.
Sales have been holding consistently high, but will likely surge in the coming months during primaries and other media campaigns - I'll post an update when we can say something like "an appearance on X or Y tv show lead to a huge spike in sales".
It's quite easy to graph all of the above books together in order to get a better sense of their sales performance in comparison to each other:
As you can see from this, Trump's entrepreneur book is hugging tightly to the top ranks (The yellow line sticking closely to the x-axis of the graph) while Clinton and Sanders cycle up and down the rankings in the low to medium thousands (sales rank).
The sales estimates show that Sanders is currently outselling Clinton by a reasonable margin, but both are being significantly outsold by Trump's title.
As with the books, the t shirt sales comparison is not precisely fair because there is a huge range of political products and merchandise made by a wide range of companies who are all competing for sales. Some are selling shirts and sticker combo packages, others are selling hoodies, and other are selling some truly bizarre stuff.
The point is that these three t-shirts represents the closest comparison of sales for like-products I could find. But, for a more complete picture of which candidate people are splashing out money for, you'd have to track a decent subsection of the entire presidential candidate niche.
It may be that far more women are buying women's tees (the ones tracked here are mens), or it may be that hoodies are where the money is, maybe it's stickers and pogs. Still, it's interesting to see who's winning in the men's t-shirt sector.
Donald Trump for President: Make America Great Again has racked up an impressive 5 out of 5 star reviews from nearly 120 people, and is selling at a brisk pace. Of course, it's reasonable to assume that the reviews themselves are a bit partisan given the political leanings of the people who purchase it - but that statement works equally well across all party lines.
The graph below shows sales have dropped off a little bit, but I've set alerts on RankTracer Enterpise to notify me of any spikes in sales.
2016 Bernie for President has racked up 4.5 stars out of 5 from its supporters, and is selling at a modest rate (bearing in mind that not everyone is buying black men's t-shirts).
While the sales graph shows that Sanders' sales dropped off for a bit, they have picked up again, and will likely start to spike if he can cause an upset during the Democrat nominations.
Hillary for President has generated an average of 4 out of 5 stars from its 35 customer reviewers, which, while lower than the others, is still pretty good.
What's interesting about the graph below is that it shows Clinton's sales as consistent, but unfortunately, consistently low. While I don't know the demographics of Clinton's supporters, she is the only female candidate running so perhaps she would perform better in a sales comparison of women's tees? What do you think?
As with the books, it's nice to graph the sales ranks of all three related items together to get a better sense of their comparative sales performance:
The data coming out of Amazon shows that Trump is outselling his Democrat rivals by a huge margin.
With Bernie Sanders coming a distance second and Hillary Clinton trailing in third place.
All the data thus far has come directly from Amazon, with the graphs and analysis provided by RankTracer Enterprise. Perhaps you don't think that an online shopping site is an accurate barometer for the interest people show in a candidate and want a slightly broader set of figures - to either confirm or confound your suspicions about who is actually generating the largest, loyal voter base leading up to the elections.
Here's a Google Trends comparison graph showing the organic search interest in each of the main presidential candidates in the United States over the past 12 months:
This is quite literally a comparison in the numbers of people searching for the candidates names on Google. Obviously, this is a much larger data set than the ones coming out of Amazon - although I personally find the sales data far more interesting.
So what do you think about what these sales figures tell us about each candidate and their support base? Nothing? Or it is a sign of demographics, wealth, or even an indication of how fanatical or apathetic supporters behind each candidate are?
What other sales comparison would you be interested in seeing? If there is one thing I've learned from doing this research is that...
No good political campaign would be complete without a range of products and merchandise to generate revenue.
Heck, even if you lose, you'll still make a few million bucks in book sales, right? Share your thoughts and suggestions in the comments.