You people always amuse me. Despite all the important stuff I wrote about last week, a blurb about marijuana got twice as many clicks as anything else – though still not as many as the Taylor Swift write-up I did a couple months ago. It’s a good thing this email isn’t ad-supported or it would devolve into nothing but Kardashian news and listicles.
Also, heads up, I’m thinking about bailing on writing next Saturday – for the first time ever – or just mailing it with some kind of greatest hits compilation or something. Hopefully you’ll have better things to do Thanksgiving weekend than read my drivel anyway.
Here is just some of what we’re seeing right now:
The consumer confidence train keeps barreling forward. Our Economic Sentiment Index jumped for the fourth consecutive reading, hitting a high water mark we haven’t seen in almost three years. Optimism is evident across the board, from the labor market to the housing market to personal finances and the economy. It all bodes well for a banner holiday shopping season (more on that in a moment).
Investor confidence made a big leap as well. Our new index with PNC Bank made its first headlines after a fairly mundane initial reading. Investor sentiment improved dramatically throughout October, primarily on the basis of positive views toward current business conditions for publicly-traded companies. If the Republican tax bill makes headway, this giddy investor climate might just be getting started.
And all of this is pointing to a strong 6 weeks of holiday shopping. We have too many stats to cite here. The percentage of people who say they are planning to spend more this year? Up. The percentage who have already started their shopping? Up. The percentage who are planning to shop (in-store and/or online) on Black Friday weekend? Up.
My fellow Gen X brothers and sisters are the most likely of all generations to shop online this holiday season. Our youngest resident writer, Jenna, wrote a profile on GenXers this week. It’s worth a read – even if she did refer to my cohort as the “Marcia Brady” of generations. You’d think Millennials would do more holiday shopping online, right? Nope. 42% of GenXers say they will do at least half of their buying on the web (vs. 37% of M’s). Why? Because we’re too damn busy chauffeuring our kids around, teaching our parents how to use the Internet, and making sure Millennials feel appreciated to have time for any actual shopping.
Millennial homeownership is on the rise, however. You can look at the data for yourself here, but we’ve seen a 14% increase over the past year in the number of U.S. adults aged 18-34 who own their own homes. Of course, that makes perfect sense as Millennials are developing into a later life stage, gaining wealth, and capitalizing on a healthy housing market. But it’s further evidence that generalizations about Millennials not wanting to own homes, buy cars, or eat out have been greatly exaggerated. They just needed to grow up.
At the same time, the fan base of Abercrombie & Fitch is changing dramatically. Yes, they’re more likely to be parents (see above) than they were two years ago. But the biggest shift has been geographic. In 2015, 33% of A&F’s fans were city dwellers, with 41% living in the suburbs and 22% in rural areas. Today, 41% live in cities, 34% in suburbs, and 18% in rural areas. That’s a big movement in a short amount of time.
A Few Random (Thanksgiving) Stats:
- 26% of Americans consider Thanksgiving their favorite holiday;
- (Only?) 56% of people make it a point to avoid discussing politics or other sensitive topics during their Thanksgiving gatherings;
- 20% of Americans put up their Christmas tree before Thanksgiving;
- Of people who are in charge of cooking the turkey for their family Thanksgiving, 62% are men;
- Favorite Thanksgiving Dessert: Pumpkin Pie (42%), Apple Pie (23%), Pecan Pie (21%), Sweet Potato Pie (8%), Pumpkin Roll (6%).
Have a wonderful weekend and even more wonderful Thanksgiving holiday. Talk to you again in December.
Hoping you’re well.