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. Start here to learn more. 

1. Americans hold mixed feelings on the impacts of artificial intelligence.

The year 2023 was a big one for artificial intelligence, and Americans continue to have mixed feelings about advances in AI technology. On the one hand, 8-in-10 U.S. adults say they are at least ‘somewhat’ concerned about AI replacing jobs of American workers. On the other hand, respondents have grown slightly more likely over the past several months to believe that AI will have a net positive impact on their quality of life over the next 10 years. White Americans are much more likely to be pessimistic about the impact of AI technology, while Hispanic/Latino Americans are more likely to expect positive benefits.

Take Our Poll: Have you personally been using AI / artificial intelligence as part of your job over the past six months?

2. Video streaming, retail delivery, and music top the list of most common subscriptions held by Americans.

Subscription services have become an integral aspect of American lifestyles, encompassing a variety of sectors. New CivicScience data show that the leading subscription service categories include video streaming (e.g., Netflix), retail/grocery delivery (e.g., Walmart+), music (e.g., Spotify), cloud storage (e.g., iCloud), and gaming (e.g., Xbox Game Pass, Nintendo Online).

Nearly all types of subscription services are most popular with Gen Z and Millennial adults – especially music, gaming, and food delivery (e.g., DashPass, Uber One). But they’re far from the only ones using subscriptions. In fact, several types are also quite popular among Baby Boomers, including cloud storage, software/cybersecurity (e.g., MS Office, Norton LifeLock), home security (e.g., Ring, Nest), and pet care (e.g., Chewy).

In new polling following the 2023 holiday season, CivicScience data has unwrapped a notable trend in gift-giving: homemade and “upcycled” items. Forty percent of Americans report giving or receiving homemade and upcycled items as gifts during the 2023 holiday season.

Some of the interest in upcycled presents is likely due to economic concerns; respondents who are concerned about inflation were five percentage points more likely to report giving homemade/upcycled gifts for the holidays. Environmental concern is an even greater predictor of homemade gift-giving – consumers who are concerned about climate change and the environment were nearly six times as likely to report giving homemade/upcycled items as holiday gifts.

Thirty-five percent enjoy receiving homemade gifts, while 46% respond with ‘sometimes / it depends’ and 18% dislike homemade gifts entirely. Lower- and middle-income households are more likely to appreciate these gifts, while higher-income households (> $150,000) are nearly twice as likely to dislike them in any situation.

Join the Discussion: Do you prefer homemade gifts or store-bought?

Want to see more of the in-depth consumer insights found in this report not covered here? Clients receive the SPEC Report in full, plus access to real-time insights driven by our database of over 500K questions. Contact us now to see it in action.