If you thought the 2020 presidential election was the most important one of your lifetime, I have some news for you. 2020 needs to hold 2024’s beer. 

The stasis in Washington over the last few months, combined with the election results on Tuesday, confirmed what most people already suspected. The 2020 election was a referendum on Donald Trump the person, not a thundering rebuke of right-leaning populism and certainly not a mandate for Joe Biden or a springboard for progressivism. 

This presidential term – whoever held the office – was always going to be transitional. Whether we were departing a final term of Trump or a (likely) single term of Biden, 2024 was going to represent an inflection point for both parties. And for the country. 

In fact, the next 20 years are going to be transitional. By 2045, the U.S. will be majority non-white. The percentage of Americans who identify as something other than straight or heterosexual has almost doubled since 2012 – including what is now over 15% of Gen Z. 

At least at this moment, all of the growth demographics in America – young, multicultural, urban, college-educated – are trending increasingly left, notwithstanding the modest gains Trump saw among Hispanics last year.  

A major shift is underway and that’s no secret to the establishment on the right. White, older, suburban and rural men, and non-college-educated white women may not know all the data, but they feel it. It explains the veracity – the desperation – of their politics right now. 

Legislative gerrymandering and electoral college math might stem the tide for another generation. Those shrinking demographic groups may even further coalesce, but barring a colossal reversal in trend, the train is barreling in one direction. And 2024 will be an extremely important stop along the tracks. 

We are at the beginning, not the end, and maybe not even the middle of a protracted socio-cultural-political war. That’s not a doomsday proclamation or rallying cry, so please don’t read between lines or send me your political rant. I don’t do punditry. 

It’s just data. And it’s incontrovertible. 

It will impact every last business among you, whether you sell software, tacos, or music. You’ll either pick a side or your customers and employees will pick it for you. 

You won’t be able to hide.

And you shouldn’t.

Here’s what we’re seeing.

Cryptocurrency is a significant contributor to U.S. labor shortages. I’ll say that again in case you missed it. Cryptocurrency is a significant contributor to U.S. labor shortages. A super-important study we published this week found that up to 4% of U.S. workers (which means a few million people) cited investment gains from crypto as a reason for recently quitting a job. The majority of those respondents made under $50,000 in salary and two-thirds of them were under the age of 30. A full 33% of Gen Z adults have invested in crypto and they’re almost twice as likely as non-investors to work in the service industry. So, if you were smart (and early) enough to make the crypto leap, you had a decent chance of making enough money to leave your job if you wanted. Mazel tov.

Despite all the macro-economic headwinds, the holiday retail season will be booming. This is one of those every-other-week weeks, when I don’t have to depress everyone with our Economic Sentiment Index. As sour as everyone is about the economy right now, they seem to be procrastinating when it comes to changing their behavior because of it. Consumer spending hasn’t flinched and the outlook for holiday retail is rosy (although we’re very bearish on large purchases like big TVs). Americans aren’t just likely to spend more – and earlier – than they did in 2020, but more than 2019. Physical stores should even see a small reprieve from the e-commerce landslide, as shoppers look forward to the in-store shopping experience again. Santa is going to have his hands (and sleigh) full this year.

The COVID era has been a gold mine for tech adoption and oat milk. We launched our latest Trend Adoption Tracker results this week and the findings are super-interesting. First, it has been a banner period for all things smart home. Mesh Wi-Fi, voice assistants, and home security cameras have all surged over the past year. Crypto – which we already discussed – keeps growing, as do virtual and augmented reality. Maybe the biggest climber of all is oat milk. Yes, oat milk. 

Intent to get a flu shot this year is slightly below 2020 but still way above pre-COVID levels. Maybe one of the few lasting silver linings from COVID will be a heightened appreciation for public health and medical science in general. Surely, more people are washing their hands than ever before and I wouldn’t be surprised to see masks as a mainstay long after COVID-19 has faded into the background. At the same time, while vaccine hesitancy and scientific distrust have grown among a small segment of Americans, vaccine enthusiasm has grown among the broader population. The number of U.S. adults who’ve received a flu shot already this year is up 25% versus the same period in 2019.

Facebook dressed up as a new company called Meta for Halloween. I’ll never get why these big companies do this. I’ve never once referred to Google as anything other than Google and if I ever refer to Facebook as “Meta” I owe all of you $10. The fact that Facebook’s new disguise, I mean, name, was unveiled in the middle of its sustained PR fiasco was certainly a strange coincidence. But it didn’t seem to work. Unfavorable views of Facebook are nearly twice that of any big tech company and almost 3X that of Amazon. Alas, one thing I learned about our platform this week is that apparently 2% of our respondents are parents of people who work at Facebook. 

More from this week:

The most popular questions this week:

Answer Key: One; What’s a nap?; It’s never too soon; Spain; What the hell kind of question is that? I’d eat the f**k out of it; Yes, but next year.

Hoping you’re well.


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