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 | Economic | Cultural (SPEC) Report, a weekly report available to clients covering the latest news and insights. Get in touch to learn more. 

1. Despite greater focus on mental health, more than 2-in-5 adults aged 55 and over believe mental health care is not beneficial.

The COVID-19 pandemic brought greater attention to mental health issues in the United States, but much of that focus was on younger adults. According to a study by the National Council on Aging, fewer than half of adults ages 50 and older with mental and/or substance use disorders receive treatment.

Older adults are less likely to experience the financial and logistical barriers that prevent many younger adults from getting mental health care. However, CivicScience data reveal Baby Boomers are more than twice as likely as Gen Z adults to say they don’t think mental health care treatments are helpful, suggesting that the idea of “mental health” still carries some stigma among older generations. Gen Z faces difficulties in finding suitable practitioners and securing appointments, while affordability is the biggest roadblock for Gen X and Millennials.  

Contributing to the logistical issues of mental health care, there is a growing shortage of psychiatrists, psychologists, and social workers needed to treat the tens of millions of Americans struggling with anxiety, depression, and other mental health issues. While CivicScience data show many are interested in learning about psychology, pursuing psychology as a career is not very encouraged today. Only 1-in-4 respondents would encourage a college-aged student to pursue psychology as a career in today’s economic climate.

2.  More than 1-in-3 Americans distrust aid organizations amid Maui wildfire aftermath.

The aftermath of the tragic Maui fires has led to an outpouring of donations. CivicScience data show nearly 1-in-4 consumers report they either already have or plan to donate money or supplies to victims of the fires – Gen Z adults and Baby Boomers are the most likely to plan on donating. 

Disaster-related donations can often reach into the billions – a Center for Disaster Philanthropy report revealed $121 Billion in disaster-related giving in 2020, for example. Given the high volume and dollar amounts associated with disaster donations, along with the growing frequency of natural disasters, trust in the organizations handling them is an important consideration.

While a slim majority of Americans (54%) trust nonprofit and humanitarian aid organizations to provide disaster relief in an ethical and efficient manner, more than 1-in-3 consumers do not trust these aid organizations to do so. Furthermore, consumers who are skeptical of disaster relief organizations are 15 percentage points more likely to say they do not plan on donating to help victims of the Maui wildfires. 

3. Driverless taxis score big regulatory win, yet most consumers aren’t sold.

The California Public Utilities Commission recently voted to allow driverless taxis from companies Cruise and Waymo to operate in San Francisco at all hours of the day. Though the CPUC’s decision represents a major regulatory milestone for the autonomous vehicle industry, concerns and skepticism remain as incidents involving the taxis, including an accident, have been reported so far.

Eighteen percent of respondents say they would be at least somewhat likely to use a driverless taxi service if they had access to one, compared with 64% who would be unlikely to use it – 50% feel it’s ‘extremely unlikely’ they would utilize such a service. Americans who live in urban areas are seven percentage points more likely than those who live in rural areas to say they would be interested in using a driverless taxi service. Early tech adopters are also significantly more likely to be open to the idea of autonomous taxis.

Interested in an in-depth look at the data featured on these topics, along with additional consumer insights from this report? Schedule a meeting to see how you can gain access to the full SPEC Report sent to clients every week.