Hope you had a great holiday. I did, thanks for asking.
A lot happens when I disappear. We moved to a new, 2x-larger office, a few blocks from our old one. We’ll even have a marquee sign on the top of the building. Bucket-list item, check.
We also launched our new polling app into the great blue sea. It’s deliberately lightweight so we can build new features as we learn. I’d be much obliged if you download it and share with all of your friends on the social webs. We believe that a world where survey takers don’t need to be paid is the world we all want to live in. I hope we’re right.
And we’re announcing our mega-partnership with Microsoft next week, a deal almost five years in the making. They’ll be deploying our polls across all of Microsoft News’ properties and using our data to support editorial content like this. It’s increasing our database volume substantially, enabling us to analyze even more things in even greater depth than you’ve come to love.
With a month to go in the fiscal year, I’m comfortable projecting that we’ll grow revenues by a hair over 80%. We added a ton of blue-chip subscribers whose names would impress you. Expect a lot more exciting news from us early in 2019. Time for takeoff.
Finally, my tour schedule is taking shape for the next few months. I’ll be in the Twin Cities next week, then NYC, followed by trips to Denver, Charlotte, and Seattle in Q1. If you’re in any of those lovely neighborhoods, give me a shout. I’d love to meet more of you in person — unless you just enjoy being Pen Pals, which is cool too.
Enough housekeeping. By next week I’m sure I’ll have some embarrassing story or cultural epiphany to blather on about.
For now, here’s what we’re seeing as December begins…
Consumer confidence increased by an inch over the past two weeks but I don’t feel good about it at all. There was a half-point bump in our Economic Sentiment Index as November came to a close, driven mostly by people’s confidence in their personal finances and major purchases. This came after a sluggish October, which the Consumer Conference Board reported this week and we told you about 30 days ago. But it all feels very shaky to me. Confidence in the job market fell considerably, no doubt impacted by the news of GM’s plant closures. It’s going to be a very, very interesting next few weeks.
It’s hard to argue with GM’s logic, however. When the automaker announced upcoming plant closures, they attributed them to two primary factors: 1) A move away from compact cars and sedans and; 2) A doubling down on autonomous vehicles. The first one is a no-brainer. As our data has shown for years, people want SUVs and trucks, which are bigger money-makers for the auto brands. The autonomous vehicle strategy is a little less certain. Only 10% of U.S. adults have any interest whatsoever in owning an autonomous car, and that number hasn’t moved in two years. Another 12% are comfortable with some autonomous features in their car, but that still comprises a small group. We are still a long way from driverless cars becoming mainstream.
The majority of Americans watch Fox News, no they don’t. My lefty friends were all despondent, while my righty friends were all boasting about Fox News’ big ratings win in November. Meh. Realize that Fox has a monopoly on the right. Viewership is divided about a half dozen ways on the left. CNN and MSNBC, combined, had 20% more viewers than Fox. Then there’s Bloomberg, BBC, etc. I wrote about this phenomenon three years ago, using a clever poll to show that Fox was both the most trusted AND least trusted news network, simultaneously. Remember to always read beyond the headlines, my fellow truth-seekers.
The Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show is next week and it’s a fascinating commentary on our socio-cultural climate today. I did interviews with AdWeek and Retail Dive about Victoria’s Secret last week and it hadn’t really occurred to me but they really sit at the crossroads of so many consumer trends, most of which create headwinds for the brand. Sales are down, for sure, though things seem to be leveling. Yes, they always get a favorability boost from the fashion show every year, but fewer and fewer people watch event shows anymore. Changing gender roles and consumer emphasis on brand social consciousness don’t help. And VS doesn’t get the same lift from social media sharing that many fashion brands do, because who posts pictures of themselves in their lingerie on Instagram? That’s a rhetorical question.
In non-scanty fashion news, consumers are migrating fur-ther and fur-ther from animal-based clothing. This one surprised me a little because I feel like I’ve been seeing more fur fashion lately — but maybe it’s all faux. A growing number of consumers are concerned about animal fur in their apparel, particularly fashion-innovators who set the agenda for the future. These are also the consumers who are shifting their spending from department stores and luxury designers, toward boutiques and fast fashion retail. Social and ecological concerns are impacting everything right now.
People are getting up earlier and earlier in the morning — mostly to read this email I presume. For the first time ever, the number of self-identified “Morning People” in our data now exceeds the number of “Night Owls.” There are some fascinating and hilarious correlations about the two groups, which we put into a fancy infographic if you’d like to see them. Just know that more and more people are early risers and I take most of the credit for that.
Some of the Most Popular (and Awesome) Poll Questions of the Past Few Weeks
- Do you think parents should buy holiday gifts for their kids’ teachers?
- Even if you won’t go, do you still want to be invited to things?
- When will you put up your Christmas tree?
- Have you ever had a delivered package stolen from your porch/home?
- Do you get annoyed when people go on and on about their Instant Pot?
- Have you ever left a note on a car after dinging a vehicle?
- Have you ever left your ATM or debit card inside the machine?
Seriously. Who hasn’t left their ATM card in the machine?
Hoping you’re well.