Weekly Data

WHAT THE DATA SAY: Only 1 in 4 truly understand AI; half of employees don't hear about AI on the job

By: Ray Day


Ray Day

We wanted to share our latest consumer and business insights, based on research from Stagwell. Among the highlights of our weekly consumer sentiment tracking (fielded Sep. 8-10):


Today, 89% of Americans are concerned about the economy and inflation – up 3 points from last week and higher than December’s 82% rate.

  • 79% worry about a potential U.S. recession (up 2 points)
  • 74% about affording living expenses (no change)
  • 74% about political divisiveness (up 1 point)
  • 87% about U.S. crime rates (up 6 points)
  • 67% about the war on Ukraine (no change)
  • 59% about a new COVID-19 variant (up 1 point)
  • 53% about losing their jobs (up 1 point)



As AI continues through the innovation curve toward mass adoption, consumers are becoming “AI realists” – seeing it as a powerful and potentially groundbreaking technology that could have significant positive applications in their personal and professional lives. Yet serious potential for willful or accidental misuse worries people everywhere. Stagwell’s National Research Group has developed “The Accountable AI Playbook” for developing and communicating any organization’s AI strategy.

  • 23% today say they have an “excellent” understanding of AI, 35% admit to knowledge gaps, 33% don’t know much at all, and 9% don’t know anything about AI or have never heard of it.
  • Gen Z has the greatest understanding (37% say they have an “excellent” understanding of AI), followed by Millennials (31%), Gen X (15%) and Boomers (7%).
  • 59% say AI can be a useful tool for society but only if used carefully and responsibly.
  • Only 18% of consumers want corporations to swear off AI entirely, while even fewer (15%) believe companies should embrace this technology wholeheartedly and without reservation.
  • 41% believe that the increased adoption of AI by businesses and governments will have a positive impact on society, while 27% think it will be a net negative.
  • Trusted AI remains a key barrier for broader adoption. Today, 36% always or usually trust information from AI chatbots. That compares with 65% who trust academic papers, 62% who trust search engines, 53% documentaries and 51% government web sites.
  • The workplace has work to do with regard to AI. Half of those surveyed (50%) say their employers has not yet issued official guidance or policy documents on the use of AI in the workplace. Also, 56% say their employer has not issued any training sessions on the topic of AI.



The 2023 holiday shopping season will continue last year’s modest growth rate, and consumers will have discretionary income. Yet value will remain top of mind, as consumers rebound from peak inflation. Among the insights from Stagwell’s Assembly 2023 holiday forecast:

  • 4.5% projected year-over-year growth – 11.9% growth for e-commerce and a modest 2.8% for brick-and-mortar locations.
  • October Prime Day and competing retailer promotions will be the first industry-wide tentpole moments that trigger holiday spending, followed by a lull until “Cyber 5” in November.
  • Consumers’ attitude toward value is more important than ever, and they are limiting splurges and prioritizing experiences. In fact, 48% of holiday shoppers are planning to spend time extracting maximum value for their gifts, 48% are worried about making a larger purchase, and 63% say they are more likely to value spending time with others versus receiving a physical gift.
  • Purchase intent is down for a wide range of categories typically bought during the holidays – especially apparel, travel and furniture/home decor.
  • If last year’s trend continues, Giving Tuesday will be less about giving on the day itself and more about a longer-tail season – aligned with earlier retail pushes.



When it comes to college sports, the latest conference realignment hollowing out the Pac-12 is okay with most fans  but generating long-term fears, according to our Harris Poll survey with Sportico.

  • 55% of U.S. adults familiar with the conference realignment do not feel it has affected their enjoyment of college sports.
  • 18% say the realignment has reduced their enjoyment of college sports.
  • 60% say that college sports would be better off if the wealthier and more powerful conferences were spun off from the NCAA.
  • At the same time, 68% who follow college sports believe that conference realignment is a long-term “problem” for college sports.
  • Americans are more concerned with the lack of equal opportunities for female athletes (71%) and lack of a uniform name, image and likeness (NIL) policy (70%).



In case you missed it, check out some of the thought-leadership and happenings around Stagwell making news:



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