17% of people brush their teeth in the shower. They’re much more likely to be single. Which makes you wonder whether they’d be single if they didn’t brush their teeth in the shower.

39% of people leave the faucet running while brushing their teeth. It varies dramatically by political party, because of course it does.

Women are more likely than men to sleep on the left side of the bed, while men are more likely to sleep in the middle – which once and for all settles the debate over who pushes who off the edge of the bed.

Meanwhile, 70% of Americans sleep on their side. Only 16% sleep on their back, but back-sleepers are over 33% more likely to play a musical instrument. Why? I have no clue.

Actually, I do, but I’m not telling.

Sometime in the next couple weeks, CivicScience will ask our 250,000th unique question. Think about that. We’ve asked people nearly a quarter million different questions, answered over 2 billion times. All of them connected.

We have a slogan here: Everything affects everything, and everything is constantly changing, so we study everything constantly. It doesn’t roll off your tongue, but it’s ambitious.

It’s also impossible. We could never truly ask everything – thousands of new questions come up every day. Like, “Have you ever accidentally used a cat filter on a Zoom call?” We never dreamed to ask that before. And yet here we are.

You’d be astonished to know how many of you – corporate titans, celebrities, scientists, and normal people alike – answer the questions at the end of this email every week. If I don’t share my answers, I can set my watch to a few people yelling at me about it.

Why are they so popular? Why do you answer them? And why do you care so much if I do?

It’s because those questions are relatable. They unify us.

We all brush our teeth (at least I hope). We all sleep. We all eat. We all love.

Those things make us human. They’re not trivial.

They’re the building blocks of our personalities, our wants, our fears – all of which blend into a distinct cocktail with thousands of intertwined ingredients. To understand people, you have to understand the mixology. You have to study all of it.

It’s why the companies that use our platform are smarter than the ones that don’t. And that’s why you – my friend – are smarter than anyone else who doesn’t read this email.

Unless you brush your teeth in the shower. That’s just weird.

Here’s what we’re seeing:

Home improvement is one category where the 2020 COVID bump shows no signs of slowing. The more you were locked in your house, the more you noticed all the shit that needs to be fixed. Then you improved your backyard scene, since it’s way safer to be outside. Eventually, you put an addition on your home for a more permanent office solution. All of that contributed to a booming home improvement market last year – with Home Depot and Lowe’s as chief beneficiaries. But unlike other categories, like electronics, where we might see a regression to the norm (or worse), home improvement isn’t slowing down. New home sales will be a major driver. Increased disposable income among “the haves” will help justify the household investment. You’ll see.

The emergence of new COVID variants is tempering optimism about a near-term end to the pandemic. Eighty percent of Americans are concerned about new strains of the coronavirus that have begun popping up in the U.S. As a result, more than half of those people now believe we’ll be in the throes of social distancing for at least 6 months or more. People who lost their jobs because of the pandemic are the most concerned, for obvious reasons. But the second-least optimistic group are remote workers – suggesting that a return to normal office life might be further away than we hoped.

Quarantine is good for romantic partnerships on the dimensions that matter. A majority of couples are much more satisfied with their relationships than they were before COVID. A clear contributor is the amount of quality time partners have made for each other. What’s less intuitive is that these positive vibes are happening even as date nights are non-existent and people are having less sex – which suggests those things aren’t as important in the grand scheme. Incidentally, this study was highlighted in a front-page WSJ article last week, where I was quoted saying people might be having less sex because they don’t feel sexy being in sweatpants all day, every day. To be clear, I personally find sweatpants plenty sexy.

Cryptocurrency is still a niche phenomenon, but people are paying more attention. Cryptocurrency is one of those things I can’t get my head around, like sound-mixing, or baking – but it’s definitely a thing. The number of Americans who have invested in crypto has grown from 6% to 9% in the past 18 months. Intent to invest has grown from 3% to 7%. While those are still small numbers, they have the growth trajectory of a trend with lots of potential. Now payment apps like PayPal are getting into the crypto game, which could raise its profile even further. Still, as we saw in this larger study of crypto, payments, and retail banking, 91% of consumers trust traditional banks over all things digital.

Getting alcohol delivered to your house while staying in your sweatpants all day is particularly sexy. Uber announced an acquisition of Drizly, which aside from being a terrible name, is a company that does home delivery of booze. The service could have a lot of promise for Uber, with about 18% of drinking-age U.S. adults showing intent to try it. Half that many people have used other alcohol-delivery services, so the potential seems legit. Count me in.

The “tiny house” trend is not so tiny. As a certified claustrophobe, the mere idea of a tiny house makes me want to drink. I’m not alone, as the majority of Americans show no interest in ever living in one. But 22% say they would at least try it. Twenty-four percent of people have stayed in one or plan to. It’s way more popular among minimalist Gen Zers. I could totally see my kids doing this.

We published more awesomeness this week too:

  • Meditation and meditation apps have been on the rise during the pandemic, especially while people don’t feel safe going to yoga;
  • Far fewer people will be doing something for Valentine’s Day this year, which won’t bode well for V-Day-related retail;
  • While Americans are slowly showing more comfort with air travel, Southwest Airlines appears to be benefiting the most.

No Saturday would be complete without these silly but super-valuable questions: 

Answer Key: All cleaning is stress cleaning; the Masters; Pittsburgh guy, love him; Suck at it; Rabbit.


Hoping you’re well.