Last week had to be the best ever for comments from all of you. I had no idea how opinionated everyone is about Taylor Swift. Maybe I need to add a weekly feature about polarizing celebs – you seem to find that way more interesting than all of the serious research we do here.

But no celebrities this week. Here are some interesting – and mostly troubling – things we’re seeing right now:

Investor confidence has reached its lowest point in 2017. We were super-excited to launch our Investor Sentiment Index this week, in partnership with PNC Bank. After a solid year of data collection, we made the index public and will continue to publish it monthly (though our clients and partners can see the numbers in real-time). The highlight (or lowlight) of our initial public release shows a precipitous decline since June, with a full point drop in September. Fears over North Korea and a spate of natural disasters seems to be contributing factors. NOTE: This is a different instrument than our Economic Sentiment Index, which focuses on broader macro-consumer attitudes, but we’re very keen to begin exploring the relationship between the two.

Consumer attitudes toward car-buying are changing and they don’t bode well for the auto repair industry. Triggered by soft financial reports from the likes of O’Reilly Automotive, our team did a deep dive into our system and found a bunch of emerging trends. Overall, people don’t think it’s a great time to buy a new car. Those who do are more likely to lease (so, less repairs); they’re more likely to want SUVs, which handle more wear-and-tear than sedans (so, less repairs); “quality/reliability” have surpassed “value/price” in importance to consumers (so, less repairs); AND even when people DO need repairs, there’s been a significant rise in people taking their car to a dealer. All bad news for O’Reilly and others like them.

A graph showing that less people are taking their cars in for auto repairs.

It’s hard to be optimistic about small business retail of any kind right now, not just auto repair shops. My friends at Cheddar invited me on again, this time to talk about trends in small business, particularly brick-and-mortar retail. Suffice to say, the indicators aren’t great. Millennials are less and less likely to value shopping local – over 30% less likely than GenXers or Boomers. Convenience is key and same-day delivery is coming. People are less inclined to go out in public for a number of socio-political reasons. I can’t see those trends reversing anytime soon, if ever. It’s too bad.

Am I being Debbie Downer this morning or what? Maybe I’m just crabby from the red-eye I took this week. Or maybe (probably) I had one too many glasses of wine last night.

In any event, I feel like I need to find something positive to say, so…

If I could buy stock in the NBA right now, I would. Not only do our data show that people who follow the league at least “somewhat closely” has increased 42% since 2015, but the profile of these fans is incredibly valuable. We ran a quirky blog post this week about some random facts and correlations we discovered about today’s NBA fan. Manifest in those factoids, however, is a picture of a consumer who is very brand conscious, brand loyal, hyper-plugged-in to media and pop culture, oh, and young. Advertisers, take note, if you haven’t already.

Some Random (Sleepy) Stats of the Week

  • 20% of U.S. adults get LESS sleep on weekends; 60% get more
  • 53% of flyers can sleep on a plane; 47% can’t
  • 35% of people cannot sleep with the TV on
  • 28% of people talk in their sleep
  • 70% of people sleep on their side; 15% on their stomach, 12% on their back
  • 20% of people sleep with their socks on; 5% wear an eye mask
  • And this…

A graph showing that 42% of adults sleep with two pillows.

And now, I’m going back to bed.

 Hoping you’re well.