If your Facebook algorithm is blue, you’ve been inundated with news about Nordstom stock spiking after it dropped Ivanka Trump’s fashion line. If it’s red, you’re privy to a whole other story: #BoycottNordstrom and #BuyIvanka are blowing up the Internet.
Blaming “poor sales,” Nordstrom announced it was pulling Ivanka Trump merchandise from its stores on Feb. 3, shortly after President Trump signed an executive order to halt immigration from seven Muslim-majority countries. Nordstrom said it had given Ivanka Trump notice in January, and denied caving in to pressure after topping the #GrabYourWallet hot list, a grassroots movement to boycott companies that sell Trump products.
Still, the president took it personally, tweeting Wednesday, “My daughter Ivanka has been treated so unfairly by @Nordstrom. She is a great person — always pushing me to do the right thing! Terrible!” White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer followed up with, “This is a direct attack on his policies and her name.”
The result of the president’s tongue-lashing was a 7 percent increase in Nordstrom stock. According to CNN Money, the department store’s stock price had reached $46 by Thursday, from $42.65 before the tweet.
But boycotts work both ways. The hashtag #BoycottNordstom and #BuyIvanka are flooding social media, even after presidential adviser Kellyanne Conway apologized for urging viewers to support Ivanka Trump’s line during a Fox News interview. “Go buy Ivanka’s stuff is what I would tell you,” Conway said on Thursday. “It’s a wonderful line. I own some of it. I fully — I’m going to just, I’m going to give a free commercial here: Go buy it today, everybody. You can find it online.”
Many on Twitter ridiculed Nordstrom for being petty, with one woman regretting her recent shopping spree. “Bad move, Nordstrom! You just lost a customer that spent over $11K at your stores just in 2016.” Others vowed to fill their closets with Trump-branded clothing. On Instagram, anti-Trump protests were chalked up to publicity stunts.
— OverTaxed in NY (@end_media_bias) February 8, 2017
— Johanna (@C0nservativeGal) February 9, 2017
— basschica (@basschica) February 9, 2017
Grassroots boycotts have been around for decades, and research shows they generally don’t harm a company’s bottom line, only its public image — “in part because the activists are not typical consumers of their target companies’ goods,” writes Brayden King at Fortune. “For example, animal rights activists who belong to People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals would not frequent the fast-food restaurants they often urge consumers to avoid. In addition, consumers tend to be fickle and unwilling to part from their favorite products and services to support a boycott, even when they are ideologically aligned with its goals.”
Some companies aren’t even waiting to be boycotted — they’re jumping into the fray, andclarifying their political positions. Reebok just released a “Nevertheless She Persisted” T-shirt — a battle cry sparked by Sen. Elizabeth Warren, who on Tuesday was silenced by the Senate after attempting to read a letter by civil rights activist Coretta Scott King, while opposing the confirmation of Sen. Jeff Sessions as attorney general. And the CEO of menswear company Under Armour has praised President Trump as a “highly passionate” and “pro-business president.”
Whatever your political views and fashion preferences, boycotts seem to be here to stay. Eighty-one percent of consumers say they’ll make personal sacrifices to stick to their morals, according to recent research. There’s never been a better time to expand your style horizons!