Hopefully, you’re pre-gaming for the World Cup right now – with a mimosa or bloody mary to go with your coffee. I’m particularly impressed if you’re doing that on the West Coast.

Or maybe you’re reading this later, celebrating (fingers crossed) a big upset win. Either way, you better have watched.

Perhaps you’re boycotting the World Cup – or FIFA. There are plenty of things about the socio-political undertones not to like. I hope you at least held your nose to support your home team. We need to celebrate the good things that unite us.

I’ve been hooked on soccer since I was a kid. It was my primary sport until I switched to golf my junior year of high school. Surprisingly, it seems like the game is only slightly more popular than it was back then. 

They just need to let the players throw the ball, run with it, and tackle each other – real tackles, not absurdly overdramatized ones. Then the sport will really take off here.  

I should be FIFA President.

Even in its current, occasional-mind-numbing-zero-zero-tie form, 52% of Americans 13+ are following the World Cup at least a little. Fourteen percent watch every game they can. Not bad, considering how many games are being played early on weekday mornings. 

It’s no wonder advertisers trip over themselves to sponsor the tournament. The avid fans skew younger and multicultural, but also more affluent. They’re parents AND kids, highly educated, and more female than the fan bases of most sports. 

For fun, I crossed our universe of World Cup fans with the 56,624 most recent questions we asked. Our fancy little platform ranked the questions based on which are most predictive of whether someone closely follows the tournament. These were the top 6 in order:

Some of them make obvious sense, like the multilingual, Barstool, and NWSL ones. Others – namely living in a motorcycle household and frequently using public transportation – are seldom on the same list. World Cup fans are significantly LESS price sensitive than non-fans, partly because they over-index Democrat.

Further down the list but still in the top 50, you’ll find business travelers, organ donors, Arby’s eaters, and Anne Hathaway fans. The World Cup attracts all kinds.

That will be the big story building toward the next World Cup here on home soil. Expect to see more stars lured to the MLS, an F1-like Netflix series, and every marketing tactic imaginable, as FIFA and CONCACAF try to finally vault soccer to the upper echelon of American pastimes.

If it doesn’t happen now, it never will.

Here’s what we’re seeing:      

Consumer confidence improved in the days leading up to Black Friday, hence the better-than-expected holiday shopping events. Coming out of a largely satisfying (unless you’re a Trump supporter) and peaceful election, our Economic Sentiment Index climbed on the back of growing confidence in the overall U.S. economy. This longer-term optimism overcame increased malaise about the job market and housing market to give us our third positive report in a row. Continued slowing of inflation and a rosy outlook for Q4 GDP could keep the good (well, better) times rolling through Christmas.

Meanwhile, Americans’ emotional well-being improved coming out of the election, even as the stresses of the holiday season lurked. Our increasingly predictive Well-Being Index improved slightly since early November, driven by a big surge among Democrats. Notably, happiness among political Independents plummeted in the last two weeks, as the highs of a break-even election gave way to the realizations of impending government gridlock and inevitable investigations-for-spectacle. The chart that jumped out at me the most in this study was the one below. Wow. 

On the other hand, Gen Z is really fired up for the holidays this year. For a lot of young Americans, this is the first Christmas season they’ll experience post-COVID since they got their driver’s license or left for college or started their first jobs. Maddie (18) woke up at 5:00 a.m. and did her first ever Black Friday door-busting with her friends – which meshes with the trend we’ve been predicting. Gen Z’s are also more likely to travel for the holidays, because for many of them it’s the first time they can. Enjoy yourselves, kids. 

The impact of TikTok on media consumption among Gen Z is visible everywhere. In our ongoing series comparing Gen Z adults to Millennials (when they were the same age), we found major differences in how and what they watch. After living through quarantine, today’s 18-24-year-olds are far more likely than those five years ago to say movies and TV shows are a passion of theirs. They’re also more likely to subscribe to Netflix. Counterintuitively, it doesn’t mean they’re actually watching more TV and movie content – at least not in traditional ways. Total TV consumption is relatively flat over the five-year period. Turns out there are only so many hours in the day when you’re watching TikTok videos nonstop.


Home improvement shoppers are taking on more debt, becoming more price sensitive as inflation (and a tightening housing market) rolls on. We published another example of our vaunted new 360 Report this week, looking at the trends and differences among shoppers at Lowe’s and The Home Depot. Both stores’ consumers have a lot in common – they’re generally more active in the stock market, more likely to be brand-centric in their purchasing decisions, and more likely to smoke. But there are notable differences too. Both groups have taken on increasing amounts of debt in recent months, while reporting more difficulty controlling their spending. When you can’t buy or sell a home, you need to spend money fixing the one you have. 

A big majority of Americans support President Biden’s actions to block the looming rail strike, possibly because they didn’t read the fine print. Nearly 70% of U.S. adults overall were pro-Biden on this week’s rail-strike save, even as the railroad workers union was far from ecstatic. Ironically, Americans in labor union households were MORE likely to support Biden’s flex. This could say a lot of things: Maybe political tribalism trumps union loyalty (side note: there needs to be a pun-safe synonym for “trump” nowadays). Maybe most people don’t know the details of the deal. Or maybe Republicans are becoming the party of workers. Maybe it’s all of those.      

Even though I slacked last week, the CivicScientists did not, hence lots:

  • 50% of Black Friday/Cyber Monday shoppers bought at least one thing for themselves and 17% only bought for themselves;
  • Home tech purchases have slowed, except for mesh wi-fi;
  • Advent calendar interest is sliding, but not in our house; 
  • Apparel subscription services are struggling;
  • TV streamers really don’t like seeing the same ads over and over again;
  • People are divided on Musk’s approach to Twitter verification;
  • Sports attendance might finally feel the weight of inflation;
  • Job concerns are impacting gift-giving this year;
  • Holiday travel plans rebounded in the past few weeks;
  • Ticketmaster really pissed people off;
  • Friendsgiving celebrators like to volunteer and other things;
  • Coin collectors love the NHL, crypto, and leaving negative reviews.

And finally, our most popular questions from the last two weeks:

Answer Key: I have at least 10; Shopping stresses me out; Hell no; Not really; Yeah; With this hair? Never.



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