Warning: This is about to be a brazen sales pitch.

Every so often, I have to use this thing to pay the bills. So, if you’re not in business – or a customer-centric business – feel free to skip ahead. 

We released a new product. And it kicks ass.

In fairness, we didn’t build it. Our clients did. 

You may not realize that everything we study – and everything I write – can be viewed through specific customers of the hundreds of companies we ask about. That’s 1.2 million Toyota drivers, 740,000 Panera diners, 400,000 Wells Fargo bankers, 350,000 Dannon Yogurt eaters, 300,000 Bloomingdale’s shoppers, and 100,000 Hulu watchers, among many others. Each of those groups is different in countless ways, changing constantly.

And it means we probably know more about your customers right now than you do.  

Around the beginning of COVID, our more innovative clients realized they could use our database to detect changes among their customers, in real-time – their financial health, where they plan to shop, what causes they care about, and anything new we study. They benchmark findings against their competitors and share it with leadership every week.

It took us longer to figure out than I’m proud to admit, but we’ve finally productized that capability, neatly customized, packaged, and delivered weekly or monthly.    

It’s kind of the opposite of a brand tracker, where companies ask people how they feel about them. Think about it. If I took you to dinner and talked about myself all the time, only stopping to ask you about me, how would you feel? That’s what a brand tracker is. 

This product turns that around. We call it “The ____ 360 Report.” The blank is filled with words like Patagonia, Netflix, Gillette, State Farm, or Jersey Mike’s. Like the dinner metaphor above, it’s about our clients, not us.

This is by no means the first product we’ve ever launched. We’ve built a pretty awesome business here already. But it’s the most affordable one, eliminates all kinds of other superfluous costs, and it’s selling like toilet paper in a pandemic. 

So, I figured you should know about it. I’ll even give it to you for free for a month, since we’re such good friends. All you have to do is raise your hand.                 

I’m taking off next week because it’s a family tradition and will write something much less self-serving in December. See you then. Happy Thanksgiving! 

Here’s what we’re seeing:

In spite of inflationary headwinds – or because of them – more Americans plan to shop on Black Friday this year and in-store door-busting could have a little renaissance. The number of U.S. adults who say they are likely to shop on Black Friday jumped six percentage points over this time last year, while those who plan to shop on Cyber Monday increased by five points. Expected in-store shopping through the remainder of the holidays is also up significantly from last year – driven heavily by 18- to 24-year-olds, who are either making up for pandemic-lost time out of the house or simply realized they can get things from a store faster than they can get it from Amazon. Soon, they’ll act like they invented being mallrats. 

Perhaps to pay for all that holiday shopping, Gen Z’s and young Millennials are taking on more work. The so-called Great Resignation was always a farce – or at least, temporary – especially when the economy inevitably corrected itself. Heck, remember when we first reported how many young adults left the workforce because of crypto gains? How’s that going? Anyway, for one reason or another, Z’s and young M’s are jumping back into the workforce or taking on extra gigs in the face of rising costs. Yet another deflationary step in the right direction.

The election outcome seems to have positively impacted people’s willingness to shop this holiday season. If I’ve told you anything over the past many months, it’s that political attitudes and economic sentiment in the U.S. have become inextricably connected. In the weeks leading up to the election, people were anxious – particularly Democrats. But the election results appear to have put new wind in the sails of two-thirds of the country. And, while righties are far from happy about the election outcome, they simply aren’t as destitute as Dems are ecstatic. Sure enough, holiday shopping intent lurched upward, to almost exactly the same numbers we saw a year ago.  

Kids (well, young adults) these days are eating much differently than they did five years ago. In our continued series about Gen Z and their comparison to 18- to 24-year-olds in 2017, this week we looked at their eating habits – and man have they changed. Today’s youngest adult is much more likely to cook at home, much more likely to be vegetarian or vegan, and generally healthier in a lot of categories. They’re also more likely to eat out, though less often at local or independent restaurants. No doubt, a lot of these changes are pandemic-borne. That doesn’t make them any less real.  

Telemedicine has reached a point of stasis as the pandemic finally fades into the distance. The leveling-off of virtual doctor visits was predictable as people, especially at-risk people, felt safe venturing out again. Nonetheless, the fact that 44% of U.S. adults have tried telehealth (the majority of whom liked it) and another 14% say they’re willing to try it, is a major innovation for the healthcare industry. To be clear, 70% of Americans still say they prefer in-person doctor visits over the Zoom variety. But telehealth has opened up new options for people to seek care when they need it. That’s good. 


Coke drinkers are much better off financially than Pepsi drinkers right now, but also much less healthy and happy. I should’ve warned you that I wasn’t done plugging our new 360 product, but this Pepsi vs. Coke comparative was too fascinating to pass up. You can see the tiniest tip of the iceberg in this writeup, where we compared a handful of monthly tracking metrics between Coke and Pepsi drinkers. Specifically, the differences between the financial health (much better for Coke) and actual physical and emotional health (much better for Pepsi) are remarkable. I could tell you why, but my sales team would give me shit for that.


More tremendous data from the CivicScientists:

The most popular questions this week:

Answer Key: Not anymore; Sure, if that’s your vibe; Very; Much more, especially the good ones; Only when they deserve it.

Hoping you’re well.


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