CivicScience continually tracks current and anticipated consumer trends. Here are three key insights marketers should know this week. All insights are derived from the CivicScience Social | Political | Economics | Cultural (SPEC) Report, a weekly report available to clients covering the latest news and insights. Get in touch to learn more.

1. One in four consumers have bracketed a purchase before, Gen Z leads the way.

As online shopping becomes more commonplace, that means there’s less of an opportunity for consumers to try out different size and color variations of clothing in-person before buying. Thus “bracketing” – buying multiple sizes/colors of the same item to find the best version and returning the rest – is emerging as an impactful retail trend, with a quarter of consumers reporting to have tried it at least once.

Age is a strong indicator, as the trend is far more common among younger adults. A majority of Gen Z adults say they’ve “bracketed” a purchase at least once or twice, while one quarter has done it ‘several times.’ 

Bracketing has not gone unnoticed by major retailers, however. Last year the National Retail Foundation reported more than $200 billion in returned online merchandise, and a growing number of businesses have started charging for returns and even punishing frequent returners.

2. A plurality of Americans see progress toward LGBTQ+ acceptance, but transgender acceptance trails.

As June rolls in and Pride Month commences, LGBTQ+ recognition and celebrations are in full swing. Recent CivicScience data among U.S. adults suggest a significant perception shift: nearly half believe society has become more accepting of lesbian women (48%) and gay men (47%) over the past 10 years (excluding ‘I’m not sure’). However, the same cannot be said for transgender individuals, as less than one-third feel that society has become more accepting of trans individuals compared to a decade ago.

Millennials aged 25-44 are 8 percentage points more likely than younger adults and 11 percentage points more likely than older adults to believe that society is more accepting of the trans community today than it was ten years ago.

3. Less than one-third of Americans expect a salary increase in the next 6 months.

A considerable number of Americans lack optimism regarding the possibility of a salary boost in the months ahead. Just 31% hold the expectation of a higher income within the next six months, marking the lowest percentage since last June. In contrast, 54% anticipate no changes, reaching a level that hasn’t been observed in over a year.

Want an in-depth look at the data featured on these topics, along with additional consumer insights from this report? Book a meeting to see how you can get access to the full SPEC report every week.