By: Ray Day

CONTACT:

Ray Day
ray.day@stagwellglobal.com 

We wanted to share our latest consumer and business insights, based on research from Stagwell. Among the highlights of our weekly consumer sentiment tracking:

INFLATION DENTS CORPORATE REPUTATION

Corporate handling of inflation and culture wars are denting the reputations for more than 70% of American companies, and the public has a higher bar for corporate excellence than ever. Those are among the insights of the Axios-Harris Poll 100, the 26th annual ranking of the reputations of the most visible U.S. companies, which was released by Stagwell and The Harris Poll this week.

  • Nvidia, 3M, Fidelity, Sony and Adidas have the top-five best reputations in America.
  • Social media platforms and companies viewed as politically polarizing are the ones with the poorest reputations or that suffered the steepest declines. This year, The Trump Organization, X (formerly Twitter), Spirit Airlines, Meta/Facebook and Fox Corporation are at the bottom, with poor reputations.
  • 63 of the 89 companies (or 71%) see a decline of half a point or more.
  • Only 15 companies (17%) see an improvement of half a point or more.
  • Top reasons for declining reputations include: companies not doing enough to keep prices fair from inflation (26%); poor ethical behavior related to unfair pricing and passing along costs or suppressing wages/lack of hiring despite profit-making (20%); and too much focus on cultural issues not important to consumers (18%).
  • 72% believe companies are taking advantage of inflation to increase their profit margins rather than being fair and transparent with the prices they charge.
  • To improve reputation, Americans believe companies should: be more focused on keeping prices fair during inflation (53%); improve product quality, safety and consumer satisfaction (48%); and pay good wages while promoting economic growth through job creation (48%) – rather than ESG (23%), AI (13%) or taking proactive stances on societal or culture issues.
  • Biggest individual company gainers: BP, Hobby Lobby, Fidelity, Subway and eBay.
  • Biggest decliners: Boeing, Shein, Reddit, Starbucks and Anheuser-Busch.
  • New to the list: Nvidia, Mattel, Novo Nordisk, Bayer and Alaska Airlines.
  • LEARN MORE: If you and your company/team would like a briefing on this year’s corporate reputation results – including data on many companies that did not make the 100 most visible list – please contact Alexis Williams.

 

MOOD OF COUNTRY REMAINS FLAT

Americans’ views of how things are going remains little changed from last month, according to our most recent poll with the Center for American Political Studies at Harvard University.

  • 33% of Americans say the country is on the right track (compared with 34% a month ago), and 34% say the economy is on the right track (compared with 35% last month).
  • 48% say their personal financial situation is becoming worse (compared with 48% a month ago), while 28% say it is improving (compared with 29% a month ago).
  • Inflation is far and away the most important issue to voters personally, 25 points higher than immigration, the second choice.
  • 52% of Hispanic Americans and 42% of Asian Americans say their personal financial situation is getting worse.
  • 79% believe student protesters should be removed from college campuses through detainment or arrest if they become violent or damage university property (64% for ages 18-24 and 92% for ages 65+).

 

AFRAID TO TAKE PTO

Employees are struggling with burnout, yet they also feel guilty about taking time off, according to The Harris Poll’s new “Out of Office Culture Report.”

  • 83% say they are happy with their employer’s time-off policy, and 60% receive more than 10 days off a year.
  • 78% don’t use all of their days off: The average American took 15 days off last year, although half have more than 15 days off available.
  • Half of employees said they become nervous asking to take time off. This increases to 61% for Millennials.
  • 76% said they wished their employer placed more emphasis on the value of taking time off.
  • While 62% of people say being out of office means not working, 60% say they struggle to fully disconnect, and 56% have taken work calls or meetings during their time off.
  • Nearly 90% of employees said they read emails from their boss during their time away.
  • Employees are coming up with their own work-arounds: 31% have moved their mouse to keep their status active on their company messaging system.
  • 30% have scheduled messages to send outside of working hours to create the impression they are working longer.
  • 28% have taken time off without telling their manager.

 

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By: Ray Day

CONTACT:

Ray Day
ray.day@stagwellglobal.com 

We wanted to share our latest consumer and business insights, based on research from Stagwell. Among the highlights of our weekly consumer sentiment tracking:

ADVERTISING AND NEWS GOOD FOR BUSINESS AND DEMOCRACY

Americans are smart enough to know the difference between a news story and an ad, and many fears about the “brand safety” of advertising are unwarranted, according to new Stagwell research on the “Future of News.”

  • In a study of 50,000 U.S. adults, Stagwell examined the concept of brand safety – the measures taken to ensure a brand’s advertisements do not appear alongside editorial content that could potentially harm that brand’s reputation.
  • The data reveal that ads placed adjacent to news topics like politics, inflation and crime perform as effectively as those placed next to business, entertainment and sports stories.
  • 25% of Americans today consider themselves “news junkies,” 23% “sports junkies” and 17% “entertainment junkies.”
  • Among Gen Z, average purchase intent for brands with ads placed next to high-quality news articles on the Middle East conflict was 65%, compared with 66% for inflation and 67% for crime – differences that are statistically insignificant.
  • Purchase intent was 69% for sports – widely considered a “safe” news topic – illustrating a minimal 4 percentage point difference between the “riskiest” and “safest” topics.
  • Among affluent Americans, average favorability for brands with ads placed next to high-quality, yet political news articles on former President Trump and President Biden were each 72% – just 2 percentage points less than brands with ads were placed next to a non-political entertainment story.
  • Recognizing that news is the foundation of a thriving democracy and a critical communications and marketing vehicle, Stagwell also is launching a series of Future of News studies and events to fuel discussions on the importance of advertising for a thriving news industry.
  • To get a copy of the research, visit the Stagwell Future of News webpage. 

 

SOUTHERNERS DON’T SPLURGE ON STREAMING

If you live in the south or are Gen X or a Boomer, you likely spend the least on streaming each month, based on our Harris Poll study with Tubi.

  • Residents in the country’s 16 states across the South are saving $111 annually compared with people in the Northeast, who spend the most at nearly $685 per year, or $57 a month.
  • 53% of Gen Z and Millennials believe they are overspending on streaming services each month.
  • Gen Z and Millennials spend $57 a month on average on streaming.
  • That is higher than the $45 Gen X and Boomers spend on streaming.
  • 27% of Gen Z and Millennials say they use more streaming services now than they plan to use in the future.
  • 58% of consumers would rather have a free streaming account that is theirs than have a paid subscription they have to share with others.

 

BUY NOW PAY LATER CREATING PHANTOM DEBT ISSUE

“Buy now, pay later” (BNPL) is increasingly popular, yet it’s also racking up “phantom debt” that is difficult to track, according to new Harris Poll research with Bloomberg.

  • Americans saving for college think it will cost more than $77,000 – a debt they don’t expect to pay off until age 45.
  • 54% of BNPL users say it allows them to purchase more than they can afford.
  • 24% say their BNPL spending is “out of control.”
  • 43% of BNPL users who owe money said they were behind on payments, and 28% said they were delinquent on other debt because of spending on the platforms.
  • 48% say they have started or have considered using BNPL to pay bills or buy essential items, including gas and groceries

 

CHILD CARE REMAINS KEY STRESSOR FOR PARENTS

Parental burnout is rising due to worries about access to child care, according to our latest Harris Poll Parent Confidence Index with KinderCare.

  • 71% of parents say they constantly are thinking about childcare issues, a 7 point increase from 2023.
  • 50% say providing childcare coverage causes substantial stress.
  • 61% want their employer to implement flexible start and end times – to make child care easier.
  • 64% think their employer should offset the cost of childcare.
  • 88% believe access to consistent, high-quality childcare would improve their mental health.
  • See also: Mothers cannot work without child care, so why aren’t more companies helping?

 

2024 CORPORATE REPUTATION RANKINGS

Stagwell’s Harris Poll and Axios will release the 2024 annual corporate reputation rankings next week.

  • We are hosting an in-person working lunch for business leaders at Stagwell’s offices in New York City beginning at noon ET Wednesday, May 22.
  • Joined by leaders from Stagwell and The Harris Poll, we will discuss what the latest reputation results mean for business, communications and marketing.
  • Those who attend will receive detailed reputation insights, including specific data across industries and companies.
  • If you would like an invitation to attend, please e-mail Alexis.Williams@stagwellglobal.com.

 

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By: Ray Day

CONTACT:

Ray Day
ray.day@stagwellglobal.com 

We wanted to share our latest consumer and business insights, based on research from Stagwell. Among the highlights of our weekly consumer sentiment tracking:

BUSINESS LEADERS MUCH MORE OPTIMISTIC THAN CONSUMERS

The economic outlook is quite different depending on whether you speak with business leaders or individuals, according to our fifth annual 2024 Milken Institute-Harris Poll Listening Project.

  • 81% of business leaders believe the U.S. economy is strong, 84% are optimistic about their industry’s future, and 81% are optimistic about their company.
  • In contrast, only 40% of Americans believe that the economy is strong, and 72% say “economists say things are getting better, but we’re not feeling it where I live.”
  • AI is the second most disruptive issue for a company today – with 87% of business leaders calling it very or somewhat disruptive, along with financial uncertainty (88%), cybersecurity (84%), changing generational values (82%) and inconsistent government policies (82%).
  • 73% of Americans believe the country is losing its global leadership position, and 69% say “America is no longer competitive in the global economy.”
  • 71% of Americans believe “innovation is bubbling up in local communities, but national media is missing this story.”

 

MOST UNPREPARED FOR BUSY HURRICANE SEASON

The 2024 Atlantic hurricane season is expected to be the strongest in recent years, yet more than half of Americans (52%) would only have enough food in their home for one or two days if there were a widespread power outage, according to our Harris Poll research with Generac.

  • 71% of Americans would be concerned with food spoilage if their home experienced an extended power outage.
  • 50% would struggle financially to replace perishable food lost due to an extended power outage.
  • 36% have medical devices powered by electricity that they or someone in their home use daily.
  • 77% of pet owners are willing to risk their own comfort to stay with their pets at home during extended power outages.

 

20 YEARS TO PAY OFF STUDENT LOANS

Most Americans believe it will take more than two decades to pay off their student loans, according to our Harris Poll research with Northwestern Mutual.

  • Americans saving for college think it will cost more than $77,000 – a debt they don’t expect to pay off until age 45.
  • 2 in 10 Americans who are saving for higher education for a loved one are simultaneously paying off their own college loans.
  • Americans’ personal non-mortgage debt edged higher this year to nearly $23,000 – after several years of paying down debts. The leading source is credit cards.
  • Millennials and Gen X have the most debt, and many say they’re carrying their highest level of debt ever.
  • 40% of Americans do not have an emergency fund.

 

FUTURE OF NEWS

Stagwell is hosting the “Future of News Summit” next Wednesday, May 15 in New York. The summit is the culmination of groundbreaking Stagwell research on journalism and advertising. While news is the foundation of a thriving democracy, advertising tied to certain kinds of news is increasingly being attacked under the banner of “brand safety.” This has been used to scare businesses into pulling back from news advertising, which, in turn, is weakening the journalism model.

  • Along with an overview of the research findings, the summit will include award-winning journalists and top brand leaders who will discuss the continued power in news driving strong business results.
  • Among the leaders joining are: Hannah Beckler, Business Insider; Jason Conti, Dow Jones; Jason Rezaian, The Washington Post; Megan Twohey, The New York Times; Tara Carraro, U. S. Steel; Will Doherty, The Trade Desk; Dan Gardner, Code and Theory; Shenan Reed, General Motors; Lou Paskalis, Ad Fontes Media; Mark Penn, chairman and CEO, Stagwell; and Ray Day, vice chair, Stagwell.
  • Want to know more about Stagwell’s commitment to news? Sign up to receive the findings at this link or reach out to Alexis.Williams@StagwellGlobal.com.

 

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By: Ray Day

CONTACT:

Ray Day
ray.day@stagwellglobal.com 

We wanted to share our latest consumer and business insights, based on research from Stagwell. Among the highlights of our weekly consumer sentiment tracking:

BORDER ISSUES VIEWED AS CRISIS

American sentiment on immigration is boiling over, according to latest Axios Vibes by The Harris Poll.

  • 64% of Americans say the current U.S. southern border situation is a crisis, not a politically driven media narrative.
  • 51% – including 42% of Democrats – would support mass deportations of undocumented immigrants.
  • The survey also found discrepancies between Americans’ perceptions of immigration and facts: 64% wrongly believe immigrants receive more in welfare and benefits than they pay in taxes, and 56% wrongly assume that illegal immigration is linked to spiking U.S. crime rates.
  • Americans strongly support immigration as long as it is lawful, with 65% thinking the U.S. should make it easier for anyone seeking a better life to enter legally.
  • 58% support expanding legal pathways for orderly immigration.

 

MOOD OF COUNTRY REMAINS FLAT

Americans’ views of how things are going remains little changed from last month, according to our most recent poll with the Center for American Political Studies at Harvard University.

  • 34% of Americans say the country is on the right track (equal with 34% a month ago), and 35% say the economy is on the right track (up slightly from 34% last month).
  • 48% say their personal financial situation is becoming worse (compared with 47% a month ago), while 29% say it is improving (compared with 27% a month ago).
  • Top issues for Americans remain immigration (35%) and price increases/inflation (35%), followed by the economy (with a 3-point improvement in perception from a month ago).
  • Right now, Americans are more focused on domestic issues than foreign policy: 59% say this is a time in world affairs that enables the U.S. to focus primarily on domestic issues, rather than spend more on military and foreign affairs (Democrats: 58%, Republicans: 57% and Independents: 63%).
  • 58% say the U.S. does not have the leadership necessary to handle world affairs.
  • 56% support sending $26 billion in aid to Israel; 49% support sending $8 billion in aid to the Indo-Pacific, including Taiwan; and 48% support sending $61 billion in aid to Ukraine.

 

RELIGION AS PART OF DEI RECEIVES MIXED REVIEWS

As employees’ needs and employers’ budgets have evolved, so have DEI teams. Based on our latest Harris Poll research with HR Brew, sharing religious beliefs at work is causing conflict among some coworkers.

  • 67% of Americans think companies should have a formal DEI program.
  • Yet only 49% of employees report that their company has a formal initiative, and 22% are not sure.
  • 43% report having religious/faith DEI programming, yet employees are split over whether or not religion should be part of DEI: 54% said it would be appropriate to integrate it into DEI, while 41% said it shouldn’t – more than those who said the same about disability (26%), race (31%) and gender (33%).
  • Workplace tensions might be driving the split: 41% say that conflicts related to faith/religion have caused tension at their workplace.
  • Also, while 78% of Americans want companies to reflect the diversity of the U.S. population, 49% find the acronym “DEI” to be divisive, based on our previous research.

 

HOW YOU SHOWER SHOWS YOUR AGE

You might think your shower habits are random, yet new data from The Harris Poll reveals that showering is indicative of your age.

  • The older you are, the shorter your shower time: Gen Z spends the longest time in the shower, at an average of 21.2 minutes, nearly twice as long as the 12.3 minutes for Boomers.
  • 17% of Boomers shower five minutes or less.
  • Gen X is mostly likely to take a daily shower (at 69%).
  • Men are more likely to shower in the morning, while women are more likely to shower in the evening.
  • The time of day that a person showers also varies by age group: 51% of Gen X say they typically are showered by 9 a.m., while 50% of Gen Z report showering after 8 p.m.

 

GEN Z LIKES USED HERMES AND CARTIER PRODUCTS

Surging demand for secondhand luxury goods is helping to boost the image of upscale brands Hermès and Cartier among Gen Z, according to our Harris Poll research with Ad Age.

  • Hermès tops our latest Gen Z brand tracker, while Cartier comes in ninth. The tracker ranks brands that made significant progress in gaining attention from Gen Z in the first quarter of 2024.
  • Other brands cracking the top five are Peppa Pig, Firehouse Subs, Coinbase and StubHub.

 

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CONTACT:

Ray Day
ray.day@stagwellglobal.com 

We wanted to share our latest consumer and business insights, based on research from Stagwell. Among the highlights of our weekly consumer sentiment tracking:

AMERICANS ADD PARENTS’ FINANCES TO RETIREMENT WORRIES

Americans already are worried about their own retirement, and, now, they are adding their parents’ financial futures to the list, based on our Harris Poll survey with NerdWallet.

  • 36% think their parents will need financial assistance as they age.
  • 22% of Millennials currently assist their parents financially.
  • 37% say their parents do not have the financial means to prepare for the future.
  • 10% say their parents expect them to help pay for things, and the same number expect to need their children’s help financially in retirement.

 

YOUNG PEOPLE DON’T SEE THE STARS IN THEIR FUTURE

Interest in astrology skyrocketed in the late 2010’s. Today, however, birth chart memorizing and horoscope use are waning among younger Americans, according to our Harris Poll survey with Cosmopolitan.

  • 83% of Millennials are “somewhat” or a “total” believer in astrology, compared with 62% of Gen Z and 69% of Americans overall.
  • 95% know their zodiac sign, and 65% believe it is an accurate representation of themselves (75% for Millennials and 61% for Gen Z).
  • Astrology skepticism is highest among Gen Z: 54% say “I judge people who take astrology too seriously” (versus 46% of Millennials who say the same).
  • 81% of Millennials say they have consulted or would consult the stars for guidance on relationships (versus 59% for Gen Z).

 

RECORD ELECTION AD-SPEND NEGATIVITY ABOUT TO BEGIN

If you are in Las Vegas, Philadelphia, Phoenix or Reno, prepare for a nearly 24/7 negative advertising blitz as the U.S. General Election is just six months away, according to the latest insights from Stagwell’s Risk and Reputation Unit.

  • Las Vegas, Philadelphia, Phoenix and Reno will be bombarded the most by a record $12 billion to be spent across media channels this election cycle.
  • Other markets with expected high political advertising and political talk in general include Pittsburgh, Tucson, Missoula, Billings, Boston, Wilkes Barre-Scranton, Butte-Bozeman, Detroit, Los Angeles, Charlotte, Atlanta, Cleveland, Cincinnati, Harrisburg, D.C. and Raleigh-Durham.
  • Negative communications about the economy could not only affect people’s votes; it could depress their willingness to spend.
  • To prepare businesses for the next six months, Stagwell is conducting company briefings with data, insights and recommendations. If your organization would benefit from smart info about the upcoming election, email Alexis Williams to schedule time.

 

2 IN 3 STILL HIDE MARIJUANA USE

Most Americans don’t know marijuana isn’t entirely legal across the United States, according to our Harris Poll with Politico.

  • 59% are surprised marijuana hasn’t been legalized across the U.S.
  • 64% say it no longer carries the stigma it used to have.
  • 68% believe it soon will be as common as drinking alcohol.
  • 77% of marijuana users prefer it to cigarettes, and 73% prefer it to alcohol.
  • 40% report being marijuana users (15% daily and 25% weekly).
  • 62% have traveled to places where recreational marijuana is legal.
  • Despite wider acceptance, 64% of users say they are selective about sharing their marijuana usage.
  • 56% wouldn’t disclose usage on the first few dates.

 

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By: Ray Day

CONTACT:

Ray Day
ray.day@stagwellglobal.com 

We wanted to share our latest consumer and business insights, based on research from Stagwell. Among the highlights of our weekly consumer sentiment tracking:

BURNED OUT AND CHECKED OUT

Employees and managers are burned out and checked out by the constant pace of change and new workplace demands, according to our Harris Poll research with The Grossman Group.

  • 76% of employees and 63% of managers report feeling burned out or ambivalent in their current position.
  • Yet managers aren’t recognizing just how overwhelmed employees feel: 89% of managers believe employees are thriving compared with the actual thriving figure of 24%.
  • 58% of burned-out employees and managers strongly agree that they are mentally exhausted.
  • 54% strongly agree that they feel overwhelmed in their current role.
  • Top drivers of burnout with employees are constant change, unnecessary work and turnover.
  • Top drivers for thriving employees include: manager invested in their success (61%); empathetic manager (57%); and approachable senior leadership (53%).

 

AMERICANS SAY PERSONAL FINANCES REMAIN TOUGH

While the news reports say the economy is improving, Americans are not feeling it in their own finances, according to our Harris Poll survey with the National Foundation For Credit Counseling.

  • 32% say they are “just getting by financially.”
  • 31% don’t pay all their bills on time – up from 27% last year.
  • 61% feel most improvements in the U.S. economy do not benefit people like them.
  • 39% of Americans are concerned that their money won’t last.
  • 24% feel they will never have the things they want because of their financial situation.
  • Also, fewer Americans today give themselves an A or B when considering their personal finance knowledge (53% today versus 57% a year ago).

 

UPSKILLING VERSUS A COLLEGE DEGREE

Upskilling could upend the college degree in the next 10 years, based on The Harris Poll’s new “Human Progress” global report with ETS.

  • 88% feel the lifetime value of college is eroding as continuous learning becomes essential to success.
  • 78% believe that evidence of ongoing skill acquisition will be as valuable as a university degree by 2035.
  • Across the globe, however, cost is the number one barrier to upskilling and lifelong learning – especially for women, older generations, the unemployed and those in rural areas.
  • 72% globally would trust AI-generated guidance for improving skills.
  • Yet 71% also worry that AI has the potential to negatively affect learning assessments due to biases and programming flaws.

 

DECLINE OF THE SOCIAL MEDIA INFLUENCER

More than 8 in 10 Americans say fake product reviews and paid influencer posts make it challenging to find honest recommendations, according to new Harris Poll research with ExpertVoice.

  • When shopping online, 44% of consumers feel overwhelmed by the abundance of choices, and 57% feel compelled to continually cross-compare options.
  • 77% distrust social media influencers.
  • 81% are skeptical that social media influencers have expertise in the products or services they are trying to sell.
  • 83% prioritize recommendations from knowledgeable individuals over social media influencers.
  • 55% seek transparency and desire more verified expert reviews.
  • 49% want to see non-paid reviews.
  • 2 in 3 consumers make purchases without consulting reviews.
  • Those who do rely on reviews spend an average of 19 minutes reading at least 11 reviews before finalizing a decision.

 

ALL THE NEWS THAT FITS ON SOCIAL MEDIA

Young people are using social media more than ever for their news and information – and they do not consume news through traditional channels, according to our Harris Poll survey with Axios.

  • Three fourths of Gen Z, Millennials and Gen X use social media to find news, compared with 44% of Boomers.
  • The most popular platforms for news gathering among Gen Z include Instagram (71%), YouTube (69%), TikTok (65%) and Facebook (51%).
  • 44% of Gen Z report consuming news on X and 22% on LinkedIn.
  • At the same time, 65% of Gen Z members are reducing their news consumption to protect their mental health and wellness.
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Ray Day
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We wanted to share our latest consumer and business insights, based on research from Stagwell. Among the highlights of our weekly consumer sentiment tracking:

HOW TO FAIL A JOB INTERVIEW

When interviewing, hiring managers recommend showing up on time and being nice if you want to land the job, according to our Harris Poll survey with Express Employment Professionals.

  • 68% of hiring managers say being rude is the reason an applicant is disqualified from contention.
  • 55% indicate showing up late is a dealbreaker.
  • 53% say dressing inappropriately ends consideration.
  • Hiring managers’ other pet peeves: being uninformed about the organization and/or the position (47%); using unprofessional body language (44%); and not asking questions (27%).
  • Other don’ts: talking negatively about a previous position or manager (45% of hiring managers say this will disqualify you) and answering phone calls or exchanging text messages during an interview (41%).
  • A third of candidates admit they’ve made these fatal mistakes: checked their watches (33%), swore (32%) or were caught in a lie (28%).

 

GET READY FOR THE POLITICAL AD ONSLAUGHT

2024 will be the most expensive U.S. election cycle ever – with an estimated $12 billion spent across media channels, according to Stagwell’s Assembly agency.

  • 65% of political spending this season is expected on traditional TV, followed by streaming TV (13%), social media (12%) and radio (10%).
  • While spending overall will be a record, ads will be centered on a few key markets: Las Vegas, Philadelphia, Phoenix, Reno and Pittsburgh are the top five using Assembly’s Market Intensity Index, which evaluates expected political spending. 
  • The discussion on AI-created political ads is making headlines, yet the continued shift to streaming and digital is the big political advertising story of 2024.
  • DIGGING DEEPER: Stagwell’s Risk and Reputation Unit leaders will discuss the latest issues from the campaign trail and the political advertising environment during a free 30-minute webinar at noon ET Thursday, April 18. Email Alexis Williams for an invitation.

 

AMERICANS ARE EXHAUSTED BY NEGATIVITY

Americans are finding it harder to have fun, are hanging out less and are fatigued by divisive polling data and a news cycle that spurs division, according to the new National Temperature Check conducted by The Harris Poll for Johnsonville.

  • 80% of adult Americans say they are exhausted by the anger and negativity in America today.
  • 89% would like to see less negativity in the news and social media.
  • 60% say having fun with people has become harder.
  • 67% are hanging out with people less than they did five years ago.

 

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Ray Day
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We wanted to share our latest consumer and business insights, based on research from Stagwell. Among the highlights of our weekly consumer sentiment tracking:

MAGIC NUMBER NEEDED TO RETIRE SKYROCKETS

Americans’ “magic number” needed to retire is at an all-time high – rising faster than inflation and up more than 50% since the pandemic, according to Northwestern Mutual’s 2024 Planning & Progress Study with The Harris Poll.

  • U.S. adults believe they need $1.46 million to retire comfortably, a 15% increase from the $1.27 million reported last year.
  • The magic number has jumped 53% from $951,000 Americans targeted in 2020.
  • At the same time, the average amount U.S. adults have saved for retirement dropped from $89,300 last year to $88,400 today – and far below the $98,800 in savings in 2021.
  • 31 is the average age Americans start saving for retirement.
  • Most people expect to work to 65. That varies by generation, however: Gen Z expects to retire at age 60, Boomers at 72, Millennials at 64 and Gen X at 67.
  • 32% of Millennials and 30% of Gen Z expect to live to 100 – higher than the 22% of Gen X and 21% of Boomers who expect to become a centenarian.
  • Among those closest to retirement, only half believe they will be financially prepared for retirement when the time comes (48% of Boomers and 48% of Gen X).
  • 43% of Americans believe they could outlive their savings – highest among Gen Z (46%) and Millennials (46%).

 

PROPOSED TIKTOK BAN DOESN’T CHANGE GEN Z’S MIND

Despite a bill that could ban TikTok in the U.S., support remains strong among Gen Z, the app’s core constituency, according to our Harris Poll survey with Ad Age.

  • 64% of Gen Z are on TikTok daily, compared with 33% of Millennials, 24% of Gen X and 5% of Boomers.
  • 75% of Gen Z believe losing access to TikTok would negatively affect brands (compared with 51% of the general population).
  • 76% of Gen Z believe TikTok advertisements are a good way for brands to reach consumers – and 40% have shopped on TikTok.
  • While 59% of all users believe TikTok promotes content that spreads misinformation, 59% of Gen Z trusts TikTok more than other social media (compared with 29% of the general population).
  • 66% of Gen Z use YouTube daily (compared with 45% of the general population). That is slightly higher than the 64% of Gen Z who use TikTok daily (versus 26% of the general population).
    VIRTUAL REALITY INTEREST CLIMBS

    Virtual reality technology is steadily becoming less virtual and more accurate, according to our Harris Poll research in Ad Age.

    • 18% use VR technology, and 33% have not tried it yet but are interested.
    • 27% have not used it and are not interested in trying it.
    • 65% of those who have used or would like to use VR headsets are motivated by gaming.
    • 51% have used or want to use it to watch immersive content.
    • 47% use VR to simulate travel or other real-world experiences.
    • VR usage decreases with age: 38% of Gen Zers use the tech compared with 28% of Millennials, 15% of Gen X and 4% of Boomers.
    • At the same time, older generations are most interested: 38% of Boomers and X are interested in trying VR, compared with 33% of Millennials and 16% of Gen Z.

     

    CONSUMERS IN THE DRIVER’S SEAT OF ‘WHOLE HEALTH’

    The wellness market in the U.S. is worth $480 billion and is expected to grow 5% to 10% annually. The future is about “whole health,” however, with consumers taking matters into their own hands more than ever before, according to Stagwell’s Assembly’s new Whole Health Navigation Guidebook.

    • A 300% increase is seen in people looking to utilize GLP-1 drugs like Ozempic and Wegovy.
    • 71% of Americans express interest in taking a microbiome test to get personalized diet recommendations.
    • 71% of Gen Z and Millennials are turning to social media to self-diagnose conditions – particularly related to mental health – instead of going to a healthcare professional.
    • 77% of Gen Z athletes that say they feel more connected to others when seeing their friend’s or family’s activities on Strava.

     

    ICYMI

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      By: Ray Day

      CONTACT:

      Ray Day
      ray.day@stagwellglobal.com 

      We wanted to share our latest consumer and business insights, based on research from Stagwell. Among the highlights of our weekly consumer sentiment tracking:

      AMERICANS SLIGHTLY MORE OPTIMISTIC

      Americans are feeling a bit better about the country – yet not their personal financial situation, according to our most recent poll with the Center for American Political Studies at Harvard University.

      • 34% of Americans say the country is on the right track (up from 32% a month ago), and 34% say the economy is on the right track (the same as a month ago).
      • 47% say their personal financial situation is becoming worse (compared with 45% a month ago). This view is highest among Republicans (65%) and Independents (49%) versus Democrats (28%).
      • 36% say immigration is the most important issue facing the country, followed by inflation and price increases (33%).
      • From a personal standpoint, inflation remains the top issue (38%, down 3 points from last month).
      • When asked about a ban on TikTok, 64% believe the risks to Americans’ personal and national security outweigh the benefits of using TikTok. This view is highest among those ages 65 and older (85%).
      • 65% support the bill that would ban TikTok in the U.S. if ByteDance does not sell it to a U.S. government-approved buyer.

       

      SNACKING, THE GREAT STRESS RELIEVER

      The world loves to snack, and it’s become the way consumers take their minds off the issues of the day, according to the fifth annual global State of Snacking report from The Harris Poll and Mondelēz.

      • 88% of global consumers snack daily – and 60% enjoy snacks twice daily.
      • The numbers are even higher among younger consumers: 94% of Gen Z and Millennials snack once or more a day; 68% snack at least two times a day; and 33% have three or more snacks a day.
      • 6 in 10 consumers prefer snacks over traditional meals – favoring small, more frequent meals throughout the day.
      • 67% are looking for snacks that are portion-controlled – 5 points higher than last year’s study.
      • 54% are eating more plant-based snacks – 4 points higher than last year.
      • A global favorite: chocolate. 65% of consumers in North America would rather give up social media for a month than chocolate (57% globally).
      • 84% of consumers in North America have been loyal to specific snacks or brands for a long time (compared with 76% globally).
      • 68% seek out snacks that evoke memories of their childhood or past experiences.

       

      1 IN 4 AVOID COLLEAGUES WHOSE NAME THEY CANNOT PRONOUNCE

      Mispronouncing a work colleague’s name – particularly a person of color – is a regular occurrence and a source of office stress, based on our Harris Poll research with Fast Company.

      • 36% of people of color say their names are mispronounced most or all the time (compared with 18% of white counterparts).
      • 33% of professionals of color report experiencing discrimination at work because of their name (versus 16% for white workers).
      • 35% of Americans become anxious when they see a name they cannot pronounce, and 23% avoid someone whose name they cannot pronounce.
      • Conforming rather than informing: 56% of people of color say they have changed their name at work in some way, and 13% have been told to change their name to make it easier to find a job.

       

      SUMMER VACATION = MORE DRIVING

      Spring has sprung, and America is thinking about summer vacations – with more planning to travel by car to save money, based on our Harris Poll survey with NerdWallet.

      • 45% of Americans are planning a summer trip requiring airfare or a hotel stay.
      • We will spend an average of $3,594 on vacations this year.
      • 91% are taking action to save money on travel expenses – with 42% driving instead of flying to their destination (compared with 35% driving last year).
      • 20% will go into debt for vacations this year.
      • 22% will skip a vacation this summer because travel has become too expensive.
      • 43% say recent air travel incidents have made them more wary to fly.

       

      STREAM AND CANCEL

      Consumers today are confused by all the streaming options, and they’re ready to watch and cancel at a moment’s notice, according to our Harris Poll survey with Ad Age.

      • More than half of viewers subscribe to a streaming service for an individual show and then cancel after watching. The trend is higher among younger people: 63% of Gen Z and 62% of Millennials say they’ve streamed and canceled.
      • Netflix continues to dominate the streaming market: 66% are interested in Netflix’s original content among a list of competitors – jumping to 83% among Gen Z and 74% among Millennials.
      • Prime Video ranks second with 55% interest overall.
      • Gen Z’s second preferred streamer for original content is Disney+ with 60% of respondents selecting it.
      • Second among Millennials is Hulu at 59%.

       

      ICYMI

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        By: Ray Day

        CONTACT:

        Ray Day
        ray.day@stagwellglobal.com 

        We wanted to share our latest consumer and business insights, based on research from Stagwell. Among the highlights of our weekly consumer sentiment tracking:

        FINANCIAL INSECURITY HIGHEST IN A DECADE

        American financial insecurity is at its highest point in at least a decade, according to our Harris Poll research with Northwestern Mutual.

        • 33% of Americans say they don’t feel financially secure, up from 27% in 2023. It’s the highest concern level seen going back to 2012.
        • The reason for the concern: the high cost of living. In fact, 54% expect price pressures to increase this year.
        • Only 9% say their household income is outpacing inflation.
        • A third think inflation will stay where it is, and fewer than one in five expect it to fall.
        • 54% predict a recession this year, down from 66% in 2023 – yet higher among Gen Z (62%) and Millennials (59%).
        • 45% consider themselves “disciplined financial planners,” down from 65% in 2020.
        • While most are focused on cutting costs and saving, 59% said they will either spend the same amount or more this year on restaurants, vacations and entertainment.
        • Gen Z (36%) is most likely to engage in more discretionary spending overall this year, compared with Millennials (28%), Gen X (24%) and Boomers (20%).

         

        EMPLOYEES WILLING TO QUIT OVER CEO’S POLITICS

        A third (36%) of U.S. workers say they would consider quitting if their CEO expressed political views they don’t agree with, based on a new Harris Poll survey with Indeed.

        • Among younger employees, 46% of 18- to 34-year-olds and 44% of 35- to 44-year-olds would consider quitting.
        • 43% have heard colleagues talking about politics in the office.
        • 56% of employees say talking politics in meetings makes them uncomfortable – even higher for women (62%).
        • 18% admit to avoiding coworkers with different political opinions.
        • 40% say politics has affected team morale – higher among for 18- to 44-year-olds (47%) versus those 55 and older (28%).

         

        HEALTH CARE RECEIVES WEAK REPORT CARD

        Two years ago during COVID, The Harris Poll found the health worker shortage was real for Americans. Today, it has become even worse, according to our new poll with the PAN Foundation.

        • Overall, the state of healthcare access among patients with a chronic health condition received a grade of “C,” or 75.8. Looking specifically at five key categories in the scorecard: Access to Care = C+ (78.8); Relationship with Healthcare Professionals = B (84.2); Affordability of Prescription Medications = B- (82.3); Access to Treatment through Healthcare Plans = D- (62.8); and Financial Toxicity = C- (70.7).
        • 48% of patients face logistical barriers to care, including trouble getting appointments (18%) and financial difficulties paying for needed care (13%).
        • People of color (57%), younger patients (70% Gen Z and Millennials) and LGBTQIA+ patients (77%) are more likely to report logistical barriers to care.
        • 36% of patients taking prescription medications said they had taken at least one financially related action to afford their needed prescription medication(s): reducing spending in other areas (15%); dipping into retirement or other savings (13%): exploring discount saving apps (12%); taking on credit card debt (11%); or delaying payment of other bills (10%).

         

        THE CHECK NO LONGER IS IN THE MAIL

        Digital payments are universal, and paper checks are nearly a thing of the past. Our National Research Group’s 2024 Payouts Landscape study with Onbe found that 97% of U.S. consumers use at least one form of digital or electronic payment every month.

        • Top digital payment methods include debit cards (57%), credit cards (55%), electronic bank transfers (40%) and payment apps (38%).
        • 52% will not select any physical payment method, like paper checks or cash.
        • Check use is down to 22%, and money orders have declined to 8%.
        • Arguments against paper checks: takes too long to arrive (47%), inconvenient to deposit at a bank or ATM (45%), too long for funds to show up in an account (34%) and don’t know how to deposit it (16%).
        • Paper checks are becoming so rare that 31% of consumers accidentally have thrown away or lost a check before cashing it.
        • When it comes to security, digital also wins. When asked which types of payments are most secure, 53% say digital/electronic, and 47% say physical.
        • Looking ahead, mobile wallets and peer-to-peer payment apps are set to continue growing in popularity, with 67% (mobile wallets) and 73% (payment apps) of consumers expecting to use these services as much or more in 2024 as they did in 2023.
        • 21% expect to use cash less often this year.
        • 56% expect that they will use paper checks less frequently or not at all.

         

        ICYMI

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