Education is often touted as the great equalizer that enables minorities from lower-income backgrounds to compete for a piece of the American Dream. Anecdotal accounts of Black or Hispanic children, from marginalized communities, “pulling themselves up by their bootstraps” and achieving great success find their way into impassioned speeches from teachers to preachers, politicians to business leaders. Data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, however, tell a very different story.
U.S. consumers are bracing for a polarizing year in politics. From impeachment proceedings to the presidential election, emotions are high, but unemployment is low, and that appears to be the economy’s saving grace as we head into 2020. Now in its fifth year, our annual consumer sentiment report, ThinkNow Pulse™, provides insight into how Americans feel about the state of the economy, its impact on their household income, and how the political climate influences their economic outlook. We compared this year’s data with past years and found interesting shifts in sentiment among key demographics.
This year was chock-full of defining moments. From ongoing trade disputes with China and political unrest, to legalized marijuana and online privacy concerns. In our final report of the year, 2019 Defining Moments: Insights Into Culture and Authenticity™, we highlight trends in consumer sentiment, purchase behavior, and digital media use, and explore the impact culture has on these trends. We’ve combined these insights into a brief narrative of Total Market consumer behavior over the last twelve months and marketing predictions for 2020.
In July of 2019, Illinois became the 11th state to allow the adult use of recreational marijuana. Its state legislature is the first to legalize selling the drug. Marijuana remains illegal at the federal level, for now. But that hasn’t stopped blue-chip consumer packaged goods (CPG) companies from exploring cannabis-based products as many believe that federal legalization in the U.S. is only a few votes away.
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Despite losing subscribers for the first time in the past eight years, Netflix is still the preferred method used for watching TV programs among U.S. consumers, followed closely by YouTube. Preferred by 61% of consumers for the past two years, the streaming giant’s dominance hasn’t been marked so much by growth as it has been by the drastic decline of Live TV across 2017, 2018, and 2019. In a matter of 3 years, linear television went from 68% in viewership down to 36%.
Last month, Illinois became the 11th state to allow the adult use of recreational marijuana. Its state legislature is the first to legalize selling the drug. Marijuana remains illegal at the federal level, for now. But that hasn’t stopped blue chip companies from exploring cannabis-based products as many believe that federal legalization in the U.S. is only a few votes away.
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Attracting and engaging consumers paves the road to sales and revenue for companies. Of these consumers, one segment, in particular, will represent more than 50% of the total consumer base within the next 20 years. For companies focusing on younger consumers ages 18-29, this consumer will be more than 50% of all consumers in less than ten years. Chances are, your company, like most, doesn’t understand these consumers despite the significant impact they will have on your company in the future. So, how do you gain insight into an audience with so much potential yet no relationship with your brand? Would you turn to a company focused solely on this consumer or one with a department, or more realistically, a person that heads up a division within a large organization?
As a market research company with a robust multicultural practice, we’re often asked about how to market to Asian Americans. Often, clients have heard that Asian Americans are wealthier and better educated than other groups and they want to tap into these appealing consumers. However, when we walk them through the different country of origin groups and languages spoken, they’re often surprised by the variety and complexity within this market. One way to simplify the discussion is to look at shared cultural values and craft messages that can be adapted to various subgroups within the Asian American community.
A Nation Divided: 2019 ThinkNow Pulse™ Reveals Economic Outlook Differs Vastly By Ethnicity And Race
Insights from the 2019 ThinkNow™ Pulse survey are timely as we embark upon another year of projected growth for the U.S. economy. All key economic indicators point in the right direction suggesting that the Total Market’s economic outlook remains relatively stable when compared to prior years. However, at the micro level, this optimism fades. The familiar adage “a nation divided” pierces the heart of our data, revealing a country that has significantly different views on what to expect this upcoming year.