With its cryptic “the playground is open” tagline, the recently planned [and cancelled, #thankyouSandy] Google Android event had many pundits speculating on what would be introduced. So, we thought we’d once again ask the real experts – consumers – for their take on the Android platform versus the Apple iOS. After all, the nearly 9,000 consumers BIGinsight talks to each month correctly gauged the room temperature reception of September’s iPhone 5 announcement from Apple.
As it turns out, a look at the latest results from our “Hot or Not” feature reveals that the Google Android OS may be becoming quite the pressure cooker for Apple’s iOS. While the majority of adults deemed both the Google Android platform and Apple iOS as pretty popular in October, Android maintained a slight lead on the pairing with 53.0% voting it “hot” to Apple’s 51.4%.
These insights become really interesting, though, when divvied up by generation. While more than three out of five of the must-have Millennial demographic concurred that both platforms were “hot,” it was Android again (with 64.0%) that held the edge over Apple (61.9%). The operating system disparity was greatest among Gen X-ers, who were 10% more likely to side with Android (58.6%) versus Apple (53.4%). Boomers were on the fence for this debate, while Apple finally found some support among the Silent generation. Nearly half (46.8%) of those born before 1946 judged Apple to be “hot,” four points higher than those who felt the same way about Android (41.4%).
Bottom Line: While both platforms are undoubtedly popular, it seems that the children of our future – Millennials and Gen X-ers – are positioning Google Android as the mobile future, at least for the time being. As I recall, playground popularity contests could be pretty competitive.
You’ve heard the phrase “new normal” on the news, during conversation, in reference to the economy, etc…but what does it mean for most Americans? What has truly become part of normal everyday living in post-recession USA?
Most Americans agree that fluctuating gas prices (71.5%), the rising cost of food (63.5%) and high national debt (60.4%) are now normal parts of living in America that we just have to deal with. The slow-growing economy (53.1%) and the hassle of frequently shopping for sales (50.4%) also top the list.
Although fluctuating gas prices top the list of “normal” conditions for all age groups, members of the Silent Generation (83.9%) are more likely than those in Generation Y (57.5%) to say frequent pain at the pump is part of the “new normal.” Youngsters in the U.S. probably don’t remember when gas cost less than a dollar per gallon while those in the Silent Generation might be reminiscing of the good ol’ days when you could buy a gallon or two with the spare change in your pocket.
The generations also differ when it comes to modesty: not surprisingly, fewer members of younger generations notice a difference in the generally accepted code of conduct, while those in older generations are more likely to see a lack of modesty as a recent development in American living.
While the disappointment of deferring purchases is lower on the list of “new normal” situations to cope with, the Boomer Generation is most likely to feel the sting here. 39.6% of Boomers consider pushing off the purchase of a flat screen, vacation home or new car as just another part of living in the U.S. of A. For comparison, only 26.8% of Gen Yers agree.
For more on the “new normal,” head over to the Prosper Now Blog at Forbes.com.
Source: American Pulse™ Survey, October 2012 #1, N= 3529
© 2012, Prosper®
Do you trust your bank? Or do you stash your cash inside the mattress? We asked Americans how they felt about their personal bank and the federal banking system. Nearly 3 in 4 (73.8%) said they can count on their local bank while fewer (39.4%) put stock in the U.S. banking system as a whole. Interestingly, trust levels vary by generation:
It seems as though older Americans have more trust in their local bank while youngsters are more trusting of the United States banking system as a whole, compared to other generations.
Gen Yers are also more optimistic that recently announced lower interest rates will help the economy. 31.1% of these young adults are more or much more confident in the housing market as a result of the Fed’s interest rate adjustment. 25.3% say the same about the economy overall along with 23.1% who show a boost of confidence in the job market. Members of Gen X, just one generation older, are less likely to be confident in all three areas:
Perhaps Gen Y is more confident because this age segment is the most likely to take advantage of lower interest rates. 61.2% of members of Gen Y plan to make some type of life change as a result of the Fed’s announcement: 22.4% say they are likely to buy a car, 20.9% are in the market for a home and 20.5% plan to go [back] to school. Most members of older generations do not plan to make any life changes at this time.
For more fresh insights on American consumers, including confidence in the economy, expectations for gas prices and even Election 2012 updates, be sure to check out the complimentary American Pulse™ InsightCenter!
Source: American Pulse™ Survey, September 2012 #2, N=3282
© 2012, Prosper®
While Back-to-School spending buoyed this year and the outlook for Holiday 2012 just *might* be cautiously optimistic, the unemployment rate still seems to be the sticking point between consumers and that “recovery” word.
Those of us “in the know” are aware that the official U.S. unemployment rate remained a discouraging 8.3% for July (not accounting for the underemployed or discouraged workers, of course). What might a spouse, sibling, or parent tell you about the state of the job market though? Your dentist? Your child’s teacher? John [or Jane] Q. Public? If you aren’t tracking this rate on a continuous basis, you would probably be more apt to respond that or the unemployment rate is “high” or the employment situation is “bad.”
In fact, when we asked the more than 3,000 consumers in our latest American Pulse™ survey what they believed to be the current U.S. unemployment rate, respondents’ answers averaged 11.6%. While most consumers (54.4%) felt that the rate was somewhere between 8% and 10%, nearly one out of five (a whopping 18.9%) estimates that the rate is higher than 15%, which is more in line with the Bureau of Statistics’ much less publicized U-6 rate of unemployment.
So we’ve established that consumers think the unemployment rate is “high,” but how “bad” do they perceive the employment situation to be? According to our latest insights for August, nearly three out of ten (27.7%) believe it will take more than 2 years for the job market to improve. Fewer place bets on 7-12 months (17.3%), 13-18 months (15.8%), or 19 months to 2 years (16.3%), while just 7.8% optimistically assert that the employment situation has already improved.
Among the generations, Gen Y is the group most likely to view the outlook for employment with rose colored glasses; in fact, more than one in ten born between 1983 and 1993 is anticipating improvement in the job market within the next three months. [Holiday hiring season anyone?] The Boomer (born 1946-1964) and Silent (born before 1946) generations maintain a more long-term stance on improving employment, with about a third in each group looking beyond two years from now. Gen X (born 1965 – 1982) is more likely to follow the opinions of the general public.
Now while these insights are interesting, why are they important? Employment remains THE key issue when it comes to discussing the slow growth and recovery of the U.S. economy. Whether on a micro (i.e. personal job security) or macro (i.e. overall economic health) level, doubt in the employment environment breeds uncertain and hesitant spending patterns among consumers. If they fear the pink slips, they’ll snap their wallets shut. If they think they’ll go another year or two or three without a raise or promotion, they’ll think twice about upgrading their homes or cars or about taking a vacation. It’s the retailers, marketers, and advertisers who are attuned to consumers’ concerns that will be better positioned to react and adapt to these realities as the economy sputters toward a long-awaited recovery.
Christmas in July?
With the Back-to-School shopping season just around the corner (or already here according to some of the ad circulars I received over the weekend), we’ll soon be looking ahead to that all-important holiday shopping season. And while spending specifics are still a little off on the horizon, we queried the 8500 consumer respondents in our July Monthly Survey about the direction they anticipated their holiday gift budgets to take for 2012: north, south, or even keel from the previous year.
While nearly three out of ten (28.1%) admitted that it was too early to tell, among those with a budget in mind, 10.2% are planning to spend more this year compared to last (up from 6.5% in Jul-11). Before you start ringing those jingle bells, though, keep in mind that the vast majority of shoppers plans to spend at (46.3%) or below (43.4%) their 2011 gifting budgets. Of course, holiday 2012 spending plans vary by generation*, which brings me to the subject of this post.
Among shoppers with spending expectations in mind, it appears that Gen Y will be the most generous this year compared to last. Nearly one in five (17.9%) of these youngsters is planning to spend more on gifts this year; this figure declines as age increase, with just 1.1% of the Grinches Silent generation boosting their budgets this year. Perhaps it’s the holiday excitement felt among Gen Y – and even Gen X – which lends itself to Santa-like spending outlooks this year.
Among shoppers in general planning to spend less, three out of five (58.9%) stated that they were simply going to cut budgets across the board. A large proportion is also planning to buy gifts only on sale (41.3%) or do more comparison shopping (33.5%) – so it looks like mobile devices may play key roles for these shoppers this year. #showrooming
Plans for spending less become all the more interesting when we look at this data divvied up by generation:
- Not on Sale? Not for Me: Boomers (45.6%) and Silents (43.7%) are the most likely to scrimp on budgets by only buying on sale. Gen Y (35.9%) is the least likely to be swayed into saving using this method.
- Pause My Purchase, Please: One out of ten of those in Gens X (9.6%) and Y (10.9%) are curbing gift budgets by utilizing layaway a bit earlier this year. This number drops with advancing age; just 3.9% of the Silent group plans to put gift purchases on hold.
- This is Pinteresting: Nearly three out of ten (29.4%) Gen Y-ers plan to pinch the pennies by making homemade gifts. Gen X indexed on average, while Boomers and Silents are less likely to do so. Perhaps this social media site is inspiring more DIY-ers among the younger generation?
Stay tuned…the holiday shopping season is shaping up to be pretty interesting this year.
For more information on this data, please contact BIGinsight™.
* Generations were defined for this analysis in the following manner:
Silent (born 1945 or earlier)
Boomers (born 1946 – 1964)
Gen X (born 1965 – 1982)
Gen Y (born 1983 – 1993)
Source: BIGinsight™ Monthly Consumer Survey – JUL-12 (N = 8509, 7/2 – 7/9/12)
© 2012, Prosper®
BIGinsight™ is a trademark of Prosper Business Development Corp.
It seems as though Americans were right in saying the quality of education in the U.S. is slipping, and recent American Pulse results support that argument. 66.0% said our children’s knowledge of historical events has gotten somewhat or much worse in the past 10 years. However, it’s not just the children who are forgetting key facts about U.S. history—older generations’ minds are slipping as well, and they don’t have a “failing school system” to blame. The gold stars are few and far between for the Presidential Pop Quiz.
4 in 5 Americans (79.6%) don’t know who wrote the law of the land and is known as the Father of the Constitution. (Seems like an important tidbit that should be remembered instead of pop lyrics, sports stats or a date’s phone number.) Only 20.4% knew that James Madison is the man behind the manuscript that governs our country; most (59.8%) believe Thomas Jefferson wrote the Constitution. Members of Generation Y, those most recently submerged in the school system, were slightly more likely to pick Madison:
Having lived through a historical event seems to make it more memorable. Older Americans in the Silent Generation were most likely to remember that Franklin D. Roosevelt was responsible for the economic programs known collectively as the New Deal. 87.5% of these wise citizens picked the correct answer vs. 58.9% of the youngsters in Gen Y (still a majority though). Members of the Silent Generation know their assassination history better than other ages as well:
Now for the trick question:
Which president was in office when we landed on the moon?
- John F. Kennedy
- Lyndon B. Johnson
- Richard Nixon
- Gerald Ford
Did you pick out Nixon? The majority of Americans did not—JFK (36.8%) was the popular choice, likely because he declared in 1961 there would be a moon landing by the end of the decade. A significant number of citizens (27.4%) thought Lyndon B. Johnson was in office when we landed on the moon, since he was in office the same year, 1969 (perhaps a thank you should go out to the Disney show Even Stevens for a catchy tune about that). Overall, roughly one-third (32.3%) picked the right president. Boomers, followed by members of Gen Y, were most likely to name Nixon as the Commander in Chief when the lunar landing took place:
Although it seems factual knowledge of the U.S. presidents is lacking, American citizens have a good idea of which presidents would do the best job handling the current economic situation. Nearly 1 in 4 (23.5%) would bring back Ronald Reagan if they could pick any past or current president to run the country. Older Americans show more support for the former-actor-turned-politician; 30.5% of Boomers and 32.4% of the Silent Generation miss Reagan’s tax cuts, deregulation efforts and ability to sustain general prosperity across the nation. Bill Clinton was the #2 pick for most (#1 for Gen Y). I think it’s safe to say Americans don’t want another scandal, but they would prefer a drop in national debt! The #2 for Gen Y is current president, Barack Obama, third among the general population in presidential popularity. To see how Obama stacks up in 2012, check out the American Pulse™ InsightCenter™, updated twice a month.
Fun Fact: 13.4% of Gen Yers would like to bring back Abraham Lincoln…because he was a truthful politician or because he hunts vampires? I am scared to know the honest answer to that one…
Source: American Pulse™ Survey, June 2012 #1, N = 3,603
© 2012, Prosper®
In an election year, gas prices are more than just a concern for consumers. They become a hot topic in debates and fodder for those political ads we all love so much. Consumers’ pain at the pump can quickly turn into a reason for voting (or not voting) for a particular candidate.
In our May American Pulse survey, we asked respondents who or what they believe controls gas prices, and the American people were most likely to indicate that most control is held overseas. Nearly half of Adults 18+ believe that leaders in the Middle East are in control, followed by 44.3% who say that good ol’ supply and demand holds the power, while “International Conflicts” come in third. Under one in four say that Congress (24.4%) or the President (23.1%) are responsible for pump prices.
When breaking this down by generation, the youthful are more likely to spread the power out. While supply and demand tops their list, they are the least likely to say this basic economic principle controls gas prices. They are also the least likely to believe leaders in the Middle East are in control, but more likely than older generations to say the President and Congress are holding the reigns.
When we asked these questions in May, consumers had expected gas prices to be $3.95 per gallon by Memorial Day weekend, only to be pleasantly surprised when they were only at $3.67 per gallon (EIA.gov). With gas prices below expectations and continuing to decline (not to mention those $5/gallon summer forecasts we were hearing about heading into the Spring seemingly by the wayside), we decided to ask consumers in our June American Pulse survey who they believed was responsible for the drop in the average price per gallon, using the same list of available answers. In other words, we know who they think controls them, but who do they give credit to when things are going well?
For Adults 18+, supply and demand tops the list of responsible parties when it comes to prices declining, followed by consumers themselves (the “demand” side of that S+D equation).
As they did with the control, Gen Y was most likely to spread out the credit. Older generations were more likely to focus on supply and demand and consumers. 20.9% of Gen Y indicated that the President was responsible, compared to just 12.6% of Gen X, 6.2% of Boomers, and 4.5% of the Silent Generation. Congress followed the same trend with Gen Y being the most likely to indicate they were responsible for the drop in prices.
So, let’s bring this all back to the election. Will gas prices have a direct impact on who consumers vote for in the November?
If consumers are feeling the pinch (or even anticipating it) because of the dollars draining from their wallets when they fill up their tank, it seems the faces of the incumbents in the Oval Office and at the State House will be flashing in their minds along with the dollar signs. Steep gas prices could be an advantage for those looking to steal a seat in Congress or make Pennsylvania Avenue their new address. On the flip side, with consumers not giving a whole lot of credit to politicians currently holding office, a slight drop in gasoline prices alone probably won’t be the tipping point for incumbents to hold onto their seats. Either way, Gen Y is most likely to equate pump prices with political offices.
Source: American Pulse™ Survey, May & June 2012, Jun-12 N = 3603
© 2012, Prosper®
In an election year, important issues are top of mind and above the fold, and I’ve seen all things from the economy, health care, Social Security, gas prices…..but not education. Sadly, the majority of Americans (65.2%) feel the quality of education in the U.S. has gotten somewhat or much worse in the past 10 years. This number increases with age: a whopping 74.8% of the Silent Generation thinks schooling standards have sunk. 74.5% of Boomers, 61.7% of Generation X and 46.5% of Generation Y agree.
Not surprisingly, given our society with such luxuries as T9, auto correct and basic spell check, writing and spelling top the list of suffering subjects along with knowledge of historical events. The majority of Americans also said children’s abilities in the areas of life skills, reading and basic mathematics have gotten worse in the past decade:
Although fewer than the majority think science, vocational skills and creative skills are worse these days than in the past, they certainly aren’t any better. Only 18.2% believe trade/vocational skills are somewhat/much better and just 1 in 5 has seen improvement in children’s understand of scientific principles (20.8%) and creativity (21.9%).
Whether or not technology plays a part in the plunging principles of education is still up in the air. 51.3% of Americans say technology has had both a positive and negative effect on the quality of education—however, general consensus leads towards the positive:
Younger generations are more likely to recognize the positive effects of technology on education (learning basic computer skills, research and data analysis, virtual simulations from bacterial growth to flight imitation). More than one-third of Gen Y (35.5%) say overall technology has had a positive effect on learning. However, Boomers are more skeptical of technology’s educational benefits and may be thinking about how devices like smartphones can take the place of brainwork at times. Slightly more members of this generation (23.1%) believe technology has had a somewhat or very negative affect on education vs. those who say the outcome has been positive (21.7%). Perhaps these older Americans are thinking of things like spell checkers, instant access to the Internet to look up facts and even the ease of plagiarism with the web.
Although the majority has noticed a drop in educational quality, technology does not appear to be the culprit (or at least not the only reason why young Americans can’t spell basic words without the help of auto correct!)
Source: American Pulse™ Survey, June 2012 #1, N = 3603
© 2012, Prosper®
Last month we explored the idea of voice activation on mobile devices and found many smartphone and tablet owners use this feature for directions (55.2% regularly or occasionally ask for navigation help). I know I’ve done this while driving, speaking the name of the place I am looking for so I can get turn by turn instructions. I’ve also been guilty of talking to text while driving. With many states like Ohio looking to pass laws regulating the use of electronic devices while driving* (not just texting, which is already a no-no in 39 states), we wanted to know if Americans thought speaking to a device was any safer than using hands-on methods, or if voice commands were just as distracting.
The majority of Americans say it is slightly or much less dangerous to talk to a device instead of engaging in traditional hands-on activities while driving. However, 1 in 4 believes voice capabilities like talking to text bring with them the same amount of danger as talking with your fingertips:
While the different generations (Gen Y, Gen X, Boomers and Silent Generations) agree on the perceived level of danger, these age groups disagree on what specific mobile activities should be banned by law. The majority say hands on activities (texting, hands on phone calls, browsing the web, playing games, etc.) should be illegal, but older generations are most likely to also want to ban hands-free activities like talking to text. Those in Generations X and Y on the other hand, are less likely to be willing to give up talking to text, asking for directions or using other voice commands.
Perhaps members of Gen X and Gen Y are more accustomed to multitasking and technological gadgets in general while older generations are more likely to see these devices as potential distractions.
The late Ray Bradbury wrote in his novel Dandelion Wine:
Every time man and machine look like they will get on all right –boom! Someone adds a cog, airplanes drop bombs on us, cars run us off cliffs.
He may not have been able to predict how dangerous texting while driving can be (or playing Words with Friends—sadly, I’ve seen this), but he warned his readers 50+ years ago of the dangers and diversions technology can create.
*In Ohio, a law will soon take effect banning those under 18 from using ANY sort of handheld electronic device for ANYTHING. Drivers have to be pulled over first, so luckily adults like myself who look like highschoolers won’t be pulled over when making phone calls or checking a GPS :)
Source: American Pulse™ Survey, MAY-12 #2
© 2012, Prosper®
American Pulse™ is a trademark of Prosper Business Development.