Our neighbors to the north are lovely. 

We just returned from our annual family vacation – this time, a road trip through Canada. It was the girls’ choice, planned around a centerpiece of the Canadian Grand Prix, a culmination of their Netflix-borne F1 obsession. 

Unfortunately, Maddie was a late scratch, having scored the role of Ado Annie in a summer-stock run of Oklahoma! in Michigan. Our niece, Ava, was a more than suitable fill-in. 

Ever the logistical mastermind, Tara planned the trip perfectly, with five near-equidistant legs spanning 7 days. We started with an overnight stop in Rochester. From there, we drove to Montreal to check into our Airbnb before a day trip to Quebec City. Then, back to Montreal for the race, followed by two days in Toronto. We listened to a lot of podcasts.

As an aside, nobody can convince me hotels hold a candle to Airbnb when it comes to family travel. The space, the full kitchen, the cool neighborhoods, and no risk of being in a room with your kids when people next door are having loud, boisterous sex (which has happened to us on multiple occasions) are key. Airbnb, all day.    

I have to say Quebec City was my favorite, having previously been neither there nor Montreal. It’s every bit of old Europe, preserved in amber. Toronto is a grossly underrated multicultural city, with a top-tier food scene. Our primary stop there was the Hockey Hall of Fame, again Tara’s choice, traced to her days as a high school hockey cheerleader in Minnesota.

The Grand Prix did not disappoint. If you’ve never been to an F1 race (it was the girls’ first, not mine), there’s nothing like it. The international, high-octane festival vibe is off the charts. 

Fortunately, it was a thrilling race (unless you’re a Ferrari fan), even if evil Red Bull cheated, but I digress. McLaren (my team and Noelle’s) and Mercedes (Tara’s) made the podium. We were able to walk the track and paddock afterwards, where Noelle and Ava snapped some up-close pictures of their driver crushes. The whole thing was a 10 out of 10.    

We did all the Canada things. We ate poutine and Montreal-style bagels. We scaled the CN Tower. I embarrassed Noelle relentlessly by trying out my rusty French at every turn. We’re unabashed, cliché-loving tourists when we travel. Life’s too short.

To all our Canadian readers, thanks for the warm hospitality and lifelong memories.

We’ll be back again someday.

Here’s what we’re seeing:

Sports fans are clamoring for more live sports on their favorite streaming platforms. In our 3 Things to Know this week, we found that nearly half of sports fans would be more likely to watch games on TV if they could do it via Netflix or another similar service (versus cable/satellite). It jumps to 57% among Gen Z. We also examined the purchase categories where consumers most commonly use Buy Now, Pay Later – it might surprise you. Finally, we learned that Gen Xers and men are the most confident they’ll see a female U.S. president in their lifetime…which says less about those groups’ optimism and more about the relative cynicism of women and younger generations. (P.S. – you should contact us [hl] to see the BNPL data among your customers…it’s a big deal). 

While we’re lamenting the dismay of women in this country, only a third of them expect to be better off financially than their mom and dad. A plurality of U.S. women believe they will retire with less wealth than their parents (while the data from men is a mirror image). The numbers are particularly bleak among Gen X women. The good news is young women are far better positioned than young men for long-term economic prosperity, for lots of reasons, such as their higher rate of college enrollment. Across the board, people with the lowest optimism about their future were the most likely to say they were set back financially by the pandemic.  

Amazon is a behemoth in the beauty category. I mean, they’re kind of a behemoth in most categories, but the numbers in the cosmetics and skincare category are staggering. A full two-thirds of beauty buyers purchase at least some of their products on Amazon, while 54% buy through an official brand storefront (as opposed to a third-party seller) on the platform. These storefronts are particularly popular among prestige shoppers, where all the financial wherewithal currently resides. It all begins with search – Amazon is by far the most popular place people start beauty shopping, outranking Google or any social media platform. (See more from our monthly Pulse of the U.S. Beauty Buyer here [hl].

People are cutting back on professional landscaping jobs this year. Forty-four percent of Americans say they’re planning at least one major lawn or gardening project this summer, while the clear majority (56%) are most likely to do it themselves. Meanwhile, people who generally hire contractors or local amateurs for their landscaping and gardening work are far less likely to embark on any major projects in the months ahead. Economic headwinds are the clear reason, as 28% of homeowners expect to spend less this year on outdoor furnishing, landscaping, or gardening (versus 19% who plan to spend more). Sign of the times…

Hopefully, the dads out there won’t be doing any DIY landscaping projects this weekend – unless their spouse and kids are helping, I guess. The percentage of Americans who plan to spend at least some money on Father’s Day gifts this year is up slightly over 2023 (although total expenditures are likely to decline). It’s not really necessary, though, because roughly half (49%) of dads simply want to spend the day with their family. Among those who plan to buy Father’s Day gifts, a meal or food-related items are the most popular. Actually, “Other” is the top-ranking choice, which could include things like a case of Titleist Pro V1 golf balls, if anyone’s asking.

More awesomeness from the InsightStore™:

The most popular questions this week:

Do you usually dress up or dress down when going out in public?

Do you use a pseudonym online?

Do you have a personal fitness goal you’d like to achieve this year?

Do you like pineapple on pizza?

How often do you go to the beach?

Answer Key: Dress down; Definitely not; Yes and I’m almost there; Depends how drunk I am; Every chance I get (which isn’t often enough).

Happy Father’s Day to all my brothers from other mothers.

Hoping you’re well.


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