The good news about my unorthodox email last week is that it shattered all of our previous records for all those analytics marketing people love to track.

The bad news is, I have nothing to follow it up with. That was my best story. I jumped the shark, emptied my wallet, whatever you want to call it. I can’t beat it.

So, I’m not gonna even try to amuse you this week, sorry. I need to lower the bar back to where it started.

(Incidentally, it looks like tons of you regularly forward this to lots of other people, which is cool. But if you’d rather me just add them to the list, I’m happy to make your life easier).

Here’s what were seeing right now:

Stop confusing widespread trends for universal ones. I hinted last week at a potential upset in the 18th PA congressional district election – I had a card up my sleeve I didn’t show you. Conventional wisdom would have said that our current 18-month wave of improving economic sentiment would be a harbinger of good things for anyone in the Trump camp. But that presumes everyone is benefiting from the economy to the same degree. When we looked at our confidence indicators for the Pittsburgh region, we saw cracks in the ship that weren’t evident from afar. Ironically, we warned of a similar phenomenon in October 2016, among a group of people who formed the nucleus of Trump’s voter cohort – and look what happened. Stop being so surprised. Always check under the hood.

Investor confidence didn’t have a great month either. Our PNC-CivicScience Investor Sentiment Index had its steepest one-month drop since westarted tracking it. It’s too soon to say the joy ride is over, but the car does seem to be slowing down for the time being.

People with graduate degrees have less debt than college gradsThis article from Danielle on our team is chock-full of depressing stuff for yours truly and my GenX cohort. Gen Xers have 6x more debt than our parents did at the same age – perhaps because were paying for their sins. We have higher credit card debt than Millennials and Boomers too. Who has the highest chance of being in debt? Gen Xers like me who have a bachelor’s degree but nothing further. Sigh.

In related news, Gen Xers are too annoyed with Millennials to call them for pizza. Huh? Bear with me. Analysis we did this week found that, despite a bunch of gimmicks like emoji-ordering or pizza-beckoning sneakers, people still prefer old-fashioned voice calling to order pizza. Surprisingly – at least until you think about it – Gen Xers were much more likely than their younger counterparts to use modern techniques like app or web ordering. Maybe werejust too crabby about all of our Baby Boomer-inherited debt to talk to some happy-go-lucky, debt-free Millennial on the phone. Just bring us our damn pizza and leave us alone.

Amazon Prime Video is on the rise again.  I almost made it a whole week without writing about Amazon. Then Christmas-in-March happened for data nerds. Amazon did something they never do and allowed some internal documents to see the light of day – which estimated Prime Video had 26MM customers in early 2017. We wrote in July 2017 about what appeared to be a slowing of Prime Video users based on our trailing one-year data. But then things started to climb (see below). It’s hard to reconcile “customer” numbers, which Amazon shared, with “viewer” numbers, which we measure, becausewe know there are usually multiple adult viewers under one customer account. But, presuming the ratio of customers to viewers held steady, we could guesstimate that the number of Amazon customers grew to something north of 30 million by early 2018.


Dogs are on the rise too. We bought the first family dog for our daughters last weekend – he’s an Australian Shepherd, named Wilson. Ok, I’ll be honest. I really bought myself a dog after 14 years of being the only boy in the house. And, it turns out, dogs have slowly gained in popularity over the past few years, while cats slowly fell out of favor. I can’t even begin to say this trend has anything to do with the economy, but wouldn’t that be a cool thing to figure out? In the meantime, I’ll try to figure out how to get Wilson to stop chewing on my phone.


Random Stats of the Week

From our most-engaging questions of the week:

  • 10% of people presently in a relationship say that their current partner is not “the one”;
  • 73% of people believe it’s “unacceptable” to talk on the phone while in a checkout line – particularly people in the Midwest;
  • 30% of people can’t stand kale, especially people who drink Coke;
  • 49% of people claim they never gossip, 51% readily admit that they do.

I’m guessing some large portion of that 49% is full of it.

Hoping you’re well.