I suck at sleeping. 

Trust me, I’ve tried all the lifestyle adjustments and remedies, prescription or otherwise. I can’t quit my job.  

It’s not that I have trouble falling asleep. Two pages of reading and I’m out. 

It’s that I wake up around 3 am most nights and my brain starts spinning. My team can tell if I fought myself back to sleep by the timestamp of emails I send. Sometimes, I get up and write this thing.

Early last Tuesday, conceding any hope of winning the battle, I laid in bed scrolling Twitter. At 6:37 am, Bloomberg dropped the news that Adidas shit-canned Ye.

As an aside, we’ve been trying lately to show off the speed of CivicScience. Nobody’s faster, not even close.  

So, I went downstairs, brewed my first coffee, and launched a question about Adidas’ decision. At 7:10, I drove Noelle to school. By the time I got home, ~5,000 people answered. By 8:30 am, we published these results and watched them go viral.

It was cool. 

Except it wasn’t.

Lost in the quick-turn analysis – the forest for the trees – was that 21% of people disapproved of Adidas’ move. Think about that. Nearly 1 in 4 Americans thought it was wrong to rebuke someone for spewing horrific, antisemitic trash. 

How have we let anyone, let alone 21% of our fellow country folk, believe that’s okay? 

I was culpable in this societal failure, just last week.

You may recall my bit about being on Chris Cuomo’s show, the same night Kanye was a guest. I merely said, “it was something.” What a fail that was. 

I had wrestled with more pointed one-liners, particularly about Ye’s mental state – the man is clearly not well. But Mary, who sanity checks my email every week, rightfully pushed back – for fear I’d be seen as making light of mental health. I would never.

Still, I buried the lede. 

Just because someone who utters dangerous, abhorrent vitriol is clinically ill does not make the words any less dangerous or abhorrent. It’s merely easier – and privileged – for those of us not in the targeted group to cast it aside as “Meh, he’s just crazy.”  

Make no mistake. Not only were Ye’s words despicable and inexcusable, so are the 21% of people who defend him. Staying quiet about it is only marginally less irresponsible. Our outrage cannot go without saying.  

I needed to speak out more loudly, if only because you’ve all afforded me this platform.

So I’m making amends.  

Maybe I’ll sleep better.

Here’s what we’re seeing:

Economic sentiment inched upward in our most recent reading as consumers remain resilient heading into the holidays. Bucking the latest headlines, our Economic Sentiment Index showed a somewhat surprising uptick this week, driven by improved confidence in people’s personal finances. These improving attitudes echo recent bank reports of increased deposits. Attitudes toward the job market gained as well, even as news of hiring freezes and impending layoffs in big tech echoed through the market. While the bottom half of the income spectrum report living paycheck to paycheck, higher income households continue to outspend the difference. 

Looking further under the hood, we are seeing some important differences among consumer segments in their holiday shopping plans. We published a few highlights from our weekly holiday tracker and a few of them jumped off the page. First, there is a significant correlation between inflation concerns and the amount of holiday shopping people have already completed. People who say they’re better off financially since the beginning of the pandemic are almost 3X more likely than those who are worse off to say they expect to buy more gifts this year over last. As expected, people with the most shopping left to do are increasingly prioritizing deals and promotions. It all requires retailers to think about two groups: How do you bring more affluent consumers into your store and how do you deliver better deals to everyone else? (To subscribe to our vaunted Holiday Tracker for the remainder of the season, click here). 

Staying on theme, that more affluent crowd will be the most likely to traverse malls in the weeks and months ahead. If my kids are any indication (along with a bunch of data), Gen Z is leading a renaissance of brick-and-mortar shopping right now. Financial well-being is a major indicator as well, particularly among the mall-hopping crowd. Being able to see and touch products is the primary motivator for in-store holiday shopping, but the holiday experience – music, decorations, and displays – is close behind. Promotions aren’t a big draw among the mallrats, it appears. Turn up those Andy Williams tunes, folks. 

Inflation is causing major disruption at the grocery store. A whopping 77% of Americans say they have stopped themselves from purchasing one or more items at the grocery store due to excessive prices this month, up from 71% in April. Snacks, desserts, and prepared foods have seen the highest attrition – i.e. people who say they are cutting back – since the beginning of the year. Only produce, canned, and preserved items have held steady.

Hulu + Live TV and ESPN+ users are the most likely to sign up for Netflix’s ad-supported service. With the launch just days away, intent to switch to Netflix+Ads climbed one percentage point among current Netflix subscribers in our weekly tracking data. When we crossed our intent data among users of all other streaming platforms, we saw the highest rate of overlap among ESPN+ and Hulu + Live TV subscribers, which makes a lot of sense based on the profile of customers of those two platforms. In other news, people who currently mooch off someone else’s NFLX account are the least likely to sign up for the ad-supported offering, which could change dramatically when Hastings, Sarandos, & Associates crack down on password sharing.

We did another lightning-fast study the morning after Elon Musk officially took over Twitter. The findings are pretty much exactly what you’d expect.

Lots more from the prolific CivicScientists this week:

  • Venmo should be a popular payment option on Amazon among Gen Z when it’s available;
  • Our collective emotional well-being fell for the first time since May, but is rebounding among Black Americans;
  • People REALLY don’t think celebrities should promote cryptocurrency;
  • Nearly half of U.S. households with an ADHD medication user were unable to get a prescription filled this month;
  • Reese’s is still the top Halloween candy this year and many more Halloween insights.

The top questions this week: 

Answer Key: Love them; Zero; I can take them or leave them; I don’t think I can remember two of them; Stellar; Dive bar.

Hoping you’re well.


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