Good morning! Or whenever. Our analytics tell me that some of you don’t even read this until as many as four or five days after I write it (Yes, I know you’re very busy and you get a million emails, so I appreciate that you can find time at all). It does make me think about the relevance of the timelier things we cover, however. With the pace of news and change today, a few days can be an eternity. I’ll try to maintain a balance between the timely and timeless.
I’m flying to San Francisco on Monday for a speaking gig and a few days of visiting clients and friends. If you’re in the vicinity and would like to meet up in person, I would be delighted.
In the meantime, here are a few things we’re seeing right now:
Consumer confidence fell, albeit slightly, over the past two weeks. What’s more notable is that this was the fourth consecutive down-and-to-the-right reading of our Economic Sentiment Index. Maybe nothing to worry about, given that the overall decline is marginal, but it would be nice to see things trend upward. The best news is that confidence in making major purchases seems to be rebounding, with the holiday shopping season just around the corner.
The nation of Netflix users is changing as fast as it’s growing. I came across a study we published in May of 2015, examining the profile of then-Netflix watchers and yet-to-be watchers. So, I reran the report this week to see how things have changed. Obviously, Netflix has grown considerably in the past 29 months. What I found most interesting was how much the profile of users has evolved. Gen X parents have eclipsed Millennial singles. Average income has increased, while price-sensitivity has decreased – both considerably. New Netflix users are social media junkies, relative to their pre-2015 forbearers. All of those things have a huge impact on the media landscape.
Speaking of 2015, we were closer then to foretelling the current socio-political maelstrom than we realized. My “Facebook Memories” reminded me this week of an article I wrote for the Huffington Post two years ago (that’s one year and three months P.T.), on the heels of that summer’s SCOTUS gay marriage ruling and Confederate flag dust-up in South Carolina. It’s surreal to read it now. In short, our data found that Liberals were much more likely to be outspoken about controversial issues on social media. This, in turn, had the effect of discouraging Conservatives from speaking up, for fear of being alienated. The article insinuated that there was a large, under-heard portion of the electorate that the broader populous and the media didn’t understand. I’m not sure how much that has really changed since.
On a lighter (pun intended) note, Weight Watchers has been one of the best turn-around stories of 2017. We started seeing signs of renewed consumer enthusiasm – tied primarily to new apps, a community program, and the brand’s alignment with Oprah – at the beginning of the year. Now subscribers are up over 20% and their new move into fresh meal kit delivery has the look of a winner. This is more bad news for already-hurting Blue Apron, by the way.
Amazon is an increasingly popular place to buy clothes – but not a popular place to buy fashion. We published a write-up this week examining the favorability toward numerous apparel retailers among fashion-forward consumers. Before this year, Amazon ranked 21st on our list. This year they rank 26th. Add this to a very small list of things Amazon isn’t disrupting – yet.
The rate of gun ownership in the U.S. has declined significantly since 2013. In case you were wondering…
And yet, 2016 and 2017 (year-to-date) are the two highest years for gun sales in American history. So, yes, a smaller and smaller number of people are buying more and more guns. Just thought I’d point that out.
Random Stat of the Week: For the first time since we began tracking it, the number of people who dislike Taylor Swift is larger than the number of people who like her. Even my two daughters disagree with each other on this one.
Hoping you’re well.