It’s tough to be in the soothsaying business when everything is unprecedented.
You need at least two data points to find patterns. Today is uncharted.
Take sports. Ratings are in the toilet. A lazy or biased take would be to blame it all on protest fatigue. For sure, the timeline syncs.
It wouldn’t explain why nobody watched The Preakness, though. Unless there were horses kneeling for the anthem I didn’t hear about.
We’ve never condensed sports on top of each other like this. The NBA Finals have never gone head-to-head with the NFL. And baseball playoffs. And the U.S. Open. There are only so many fans out there and it’s not like you can binge the season later.
Maybe empty stadiums and arenas are diminishing the experience. Maybe everyone is too preoccupied with the election and sports seem trite.
All of those circumstances should correct themselves.
The doomsday theory is that people were off the sports drug for so long, they shook the addiction. Maybe we didn’t need it as much as we thought. Hopefully that’s wrong.
It’s probably a mix. I just can’t tell you the proportions. Or whether it will ever be the same again. Nobody can.
Or think about business norms. I suspect we’ll go back to offices. Too many of us starve for the interaction, the escape from home. Zoom can’t approximate that.
What about business travel, though? I miss it. But we are saving SO MUCH freaking money. And I can’t see a single negative impact from it. Sales and retention are thriving.
Will we ever go back to being road warriors? Probably. Because once our competitors start traveling to schmooze clients, we’ll have to keep up with the Joneses.
Unless the clients kill the norm.
Do I really need to get on a plane to drop $1,000 on a seafood tower and bottles of PlumpJack just to secure a contract? Don’t get me wrong, I love it. But wouldn’t you rather have dinner with your family?
Or maybe you like it. Maybe you starve for the interaction, the escape from home. Maybe you have 10 insufferable bosses and it’s nice for a vendor to treat you like a VIP for a few hours.
We’ll see, I guess. This has never happened before.
I’m sure you have your thoughts and theories. Email them to me.
Better yet, let’s wait until our next dinner. It’s on me.
Here’s what we’re seeing:
Get ready for a crazy Prime Day(s) next week. I know we wrote about this last week but it’s a big enough deal to double click on it. Not only do we expect Amazon to crush it, per usual, but categories like electronics and home décor should dominate, as they have in years past. But with so many professionals – particularly parents – working from home, we could see big gains for the toys this year. The people most likely to buy in the beauty category are also the most likely to be super-stressed out. I’m not going to stereotype, but let’s just say beauty shoppers carry way too much of the family burden. Because those of us who aren’t beauty shoppers suck.
Republicans are way more concerned about COVID all of a sudden. We didn’t ask why. So, your guess is as good as mine. But you only get one guess. And if you get it wrong, you have to walk naked through the streets. And send me a case of beer. No pressure.
It took about a minute for Barstool Sports to create the third most prominent sports betting app. The crazy thing about that is that Barstool Sportsbook is only available in one state – here in Pennsylvania. The high awareness for the app is a testament to Barstool’s rabid fan base and bodes well for the company if and when they go live elsewhere. In the meantime, DraftKings and FanDuel sit atop the rankings. For now.
Online grocery delivery officially blew it. We talked about this before, in the early days of the pandemic, when online grocery delivery services stumbled because they couldn’t support an explosion of demand. Still, there seemed to be hope they could scale up quickly while the pandemic raged on. It appears, however, with the fever pitch of COVID behind us and people regaining confidence shopping in stores (with masks), online grocery delivery is again relegated to a small niche trend. When we add usage and intent, fewer people are in the category than we’ve seen since March. What a huge missed opportunity.
Telemedicine, conversely, continues to grow but there are warning signs. The percentage of Americans who saw a healthcare practitioner virtually ticked up another percentage point in September. Thirty-seven percent of U.S. adults have given telehealth a shot, up dramatically from just 11% way back in February. That’s amazing. What isn’t amazing is that satisfaction among telehealth patients is in decline and, thusly, so is intent. If the medical community wants virtual visits to be the new paradigm, they’d better improve the experience.
The majority of parents say the return to school has gone better than they expected, but it’s complicated. Forty-five percent of U.S. parents say their kids are doing online-only school this fall, 28% are in person only, and the rest are hybrid. While most people say the experience hasn’t been as bad as they feared, things have been much less positive for online-only households. It’s really visible when we look at stress levels among those parents of online-only kids. Hang in there, mom and dad.
As always, we published more studies than I can do justice in this email:
- Secondhand clothing marketplaces have taken a hit during COVID because who really needs clothes?;
- People are gradually getting more comfortable with flying;
- The Robinhood app is bringing a new generation – and income category – into the trading realm;
- Americans are a little more cautious about all kinds of in-person consumer activities lately;
- Lower-income households are more concerned about the impact of tariffs, especially if a second round of stimulus falls through.
Here are the most popular questions from this week:
- Do you typically keep fresh-cut flowers in your home?
- Best Italian-style cured deli meat?
- Have you ever tried any type of intermittent fasting as part of a weight-loss program / diet?
- How do you feel about napping?
- How often do you check trending search terms on social media / the Internet for major updates about current events?
Answer Key: Hardly ever; Capocollo; Yep, it’s awesome; What’s that?; Constantly, thanks Twitter.
Hoping you’re well.