I’m such a jerk on Facebook. The worst, probably.
Not with my friends or anything. My posts are pretty average. Bragging about my kids, pictures from family trips, the usual. I’m prolific with birthday wishes and “liking” people’s stuff.
And I never post about politics. Because nobody likes politics on Facebook.
But when other people post about politics – and when their friends chime in – that’s when I’m a varsity asshole. I can’t help myself. The whole social experiment is too fun to pass up.
I had a field day jumping into scuffles about the impeachment. I’d start by arguing for Trump to be removed from office, letting people draw their conclusions about my leanings.
Then I’d throw everyone for a loop: Because, if Trump was removed, Mike Pence, “a real Republican and real Christian, without Trump’s corruption and baggage” would win the November election in a landslide. I’d proceed to blast Trump for being a liberal, deficit-spending philanderer, yada, yada.
Of course, I don’t believe that – not all of it anyway – but my friends’ friends didn’t know that. You could scour my Facebook history for hours (or read these weekly emails) and not figure out my true political persuasion.
The way it stymied people on both sides was pure magic. Most Liberals never contemplated that a Trump impeachment might propel Pence to the White House. Indeed, with a strong economy and a mobilized, angry GOP base, he’d be hard to beat. But the Left’s hatred for Trump is so blinding, they can’t even see one chess move ahead.
Many Conservatives, meanwhile, could actually be persuaded to “my” way of thinking. Few of them truly like Trump. They just hate everyone who hates Trump and that’s enough. Knowing the Left would hate Pence too checked the most important box. And, when presented with a rational argument from someone they believed was “one of them” (me, in disguise), they admitted Trump’s flaws.
Don’t get me wrong. I didn’t accomplish anything earth-shattering. Sometimes our research (and my evil social media ruses) only affirms the things we already suspect. It’s like that Arabic numerals poll we published last spring that went globally viral on Twitter, only to go viral again out of the blue last week (it’s been viewed over 9 million times, which is insane).
People are seldom very self-aware or self-honest about their motives and biases.
But I’m still a jerk for reveling in it.
Here’s what we’re seeing:
Consumer confidence showed a modest gain over the past two weeks mostly because of the latest jobs report. The data from our Economic Sentiment Index was up just a sliver this time around, while the underlying numbers were mostly mixed. Confidence in the job market and the topline U.S. economy were good. The other factors were all slightly down. Nothing too major to see here – at least until something causes the next jolt.
Pay attention to Afterpay. We’ve written before about online “buy now, pay later” programs – it’s kind of like a modern-day layaway. Now, one company, Afterpay, seems to be gaining the most traction in the retail market. Six percent of Americans have tried it, and the highest usage and intent comes from Gen Z (16%). Considering some interesting similarities between the people who’ve used Afterpay and the people who’ve never heard of it, we see the potential for a lot of growth once the brand’s awareness increases. Just wait until the economy slows.
Maybe Lowe’s should let those Gen Z shoppers use Afterpay. Heading into Lowe’s upcoming earnings call, we did some analysis on the brand’s popularity, year over year. While Home Depot is still slightly more popular among consumers, Lowe’s has made impressive gains since last year, particularly among the Gen Z crowd, where favorability is up an impressive 35%. Now, just let them purchase and finance things the way they want.
Interest in electric and hybrid cars keeps climbing. For the first time, over 1 in 4 Americans plan to buy an electric or hybrid vehicle as their next car. Intent is particularly high among growth demographics like Gen Z and Hispanics. Crossovers and trucks are the most popular choice among the electric crew, SUVs and sedans among the hybrid folks.
Samsung owners are much less comfortable with facial recognition technology than their iPhone-owning neighbors. About 1 in 3 Americans are okay with facial recognition tech on their smartphones and about 1 in 4 are okay with it on social media. These numbers haven’t budged for about 18 months so we may be at equilibrium. Naturally, younger people are more comfortable with the whole concept, especially the Snapchat users. Notably, iPhone users are way cooler with it. Samsung folks, not so much.
Burger King is ditching artificial flavors and colors because everybody should. If you haven’t seen the nasty Burger King ads with the moldy burger, don’t. I’m serious. But on another note, BK is dropping artificial ingredients and the boost in consumer intent is significant. A “whopping” 48% of consumers are likely to hit up Burger King now, including even 11% of people who previously had a negative opinion of the brand.
Weighted blankets are all the rage. Sticking to our theme of trendy Gen Z stuff, young people are totally geeking out about weighted blankets. One in five Gen Z consumers have a heavy blanky and another 22% are in the market for one. They’re particularly popular among people who are stressed out and people with full-time jobs, which are obviously the same people.
Oh, and our team did a study about how younger adult women are increasingly less likely to be interested in wearing bras. And if you think I’m dumb enough to write another word about that topic, you should stop listening to anything I say. Here it is, without further comment.
And here are your most popular questions this week:
I can’t wait to see the correlations between the first two.
Hoping you’re well.