I picture all of you reading this on Saturday morning, a cup of coffee in hand, sitting at your kitchen table or in a lounge chair on your deck. Maybe you’re still in bed, nursing a hangover, psyching yourself up for 8 hours of your kids’ baseball or soccer games in the sweltering heat.
Yeah, I know. About one-third of you read this on Monday morning when you get to work. That’s fine too. It’s just not as fun to think about that. Over half of the weekly readers bank this thing before 11 am EST on Saturday.
One of my favorite weekend activities is reading all of your replies, dozens usually, often from people I’ve never met. I respond to everything, sometimes with a brief ‘Thanks’ or other times devolving into banter or debate about a provocative statement I’ve made. (No, restaurants should never, ever serve shrimp in a plated dish with the tails still on. So just stop.)
The biggest reason I haven’t sold out and published this as a blog or through a larger publication (despite ample pressure to the contrary) is because of the pen pals I’ve made. A couple people even became some of our largest clients that way. They inquired about our business, unprompted. You can’t buy B2B marketing like that nowadays. Trust me, I’ve tried.
So please keep all of those emails coming. Send me ideas of new things to study or challenge me when you think I’m wrong. It’s not always easy to come up with stimulating topics for all of you brainiacs and captains of industry every week. I’m burning through my best personal stories at a torrid pace. Help a brother out.
And enjoy that coffee.
Here’s what we’re seeing this week:
Consumer confidence had a modest rebound and – I can’t believe I’m saying this – it actually looks like Amazon Prime Day had something to do with it. Our Economic Sentiment Index yielded its highest reading on Tuesday, July 17th as consumers’ confidence in their personal finances and major purchase decisions hit their peak. Could the build-up to Prime Day (July 16-17) have been so exciting that millions of people genuinely believed their financial lot would improve as a result? If so, it’s just another indisputable sign of Amazon’s power.
And yet, Amazon may have botched Prime Day, relatively speaking. In the days leading up to Amazon’s annual holiday, 25% of U.S. adults told us they were planning to participate in the event (which, by the way, is more than enough to move national economic sentiment). Unfortunately, afterwards, we found that as many as 47% of intended shoppers either shopped less or gave up altogether because of the widespread technical glitches Amazon faced that day. Still, Amazon reported its biggest Prime Day yet, making you wonder how big it could have been. Just wait until next year, when they’re building HQ2 in Pittsburgh…
I have a bad feeling about Snapchat’s Q2 numbers. Yes, I know they’re technically called “Snap” now, but I’m getting old enough that people can’t go changing their name willy-nilly and expect me to just follow along. I’m not referring to Google as “Alphabet” either. So, get off my lawn. Anyhoo, Snapchat’s Q2 U.S. subscriber numbers look pretty dreadful in our data – almost as if they may have lost net daily active users. Some of the Wall St. pundits are more bullish, so maybe Snapchat made up the subscriber losses internationally. I’m not optimistic.
Digital payment services are making basically zero progress at gaining consumer trust. Check out the chart below, which either looks like an inspirational poster to a bank or a mortal EKG to a digital payment company. The numbers haven’t moved in over three years. I don’t think about it very much because the only thing I keep in my digital payment accounts is my fantasy football winnings. And I never win at fantasy football.
Even if you’re a selfish jerk, you should still volunteer for your own sake. Just under 1 in 4 U.S. adults do volunteer work at least once a month or more, while 64% do none at all. That ratio is pretty sad. While you should get off your ass and help others because it’s the right thing to do, you could also just do it for yourself. According to an article we published this week, people who do regular volunteer work are significantly happier in life, happier in their jobs, and hold a generally higher self-image. It’s also worth pointing out that almost nothing correlates more highly with volunteerism than the importance of someone’s religious beliefs. Say what you want about organized religion – but people of faith do good works.
People like Tiger Woods when he’s winning (or getting closer). Even before his near-epic-win at Carnoustie last weekend, public sentiment toward Tiger Woods was already climbing like a well-struck pitching wedge. While his net favorability still has a long way to go – especially among women – his positives are nearing levels we haven’t seen since Q3 2013, which was, not coincidentally, the last time Tiger won a tournament. Americans love winners, often in spite of anything else.
Random Stats of the Week
Final results from the most popular questions we shared last week:
- 20% of adults say being late for a meeting is a “power move” (Whatever, don’t be rude);
- 31% say they would sacrifice themselves to save a stranger;
- 35% can’t remember what all the light switches in their house do (+1);
- Only 58% of people swim with their heads underwater;
- 73% of couples hold hands in public;
- 25% of people have tried to solve a ‘cold case’ on their own;
- 72% passed their driver’s test on the first try;
- 48% say the top bed sheet should be tucked, 33% untucked, 11% say no top sheet at all;
- 45% say fireworks are overrated.
Those are about as random as it gets.
Hoping you’re well.