Posts tagged with "Civic Science"

Second-hand stores are going mainstream

May 30, 2018

Whether they are interested in “shabby chic” or  designer hand-me-downs, a discerning coterie of women always has patronized thrift shops and second-hand stores.

But today, interest in “slightly” or “lightly” used clothing has expanded to a more diverse crowd—including men, middle-income earners, and Generation X, based on findings of a poll released on May 29 by Civic Science.

With the rise of online sites, such as ThredUP and PoshMark— which allow users to sell their gently used clothing in exchange for cash-—business is booming. So, who is buying clothes second-hand, and why?

As it turns out, Civic Science reports, thrift shopping has caught the attention of the majority of U.S. adults whom the researchers polled.

Although only 9% say they shop for clothing at thrift stores very frequently; 27% say they do so somewhat frequently; and 16% say they are interested in doing so in the future. That adds up to 52% of respondents with some degree of enthusiasm for the thrift shopping experience.

And, while women very clearly outweigh men in the ‘very frequently’ category, the percentages of men and women are almost equal in the ‘interested’ category, which comprises 48% men and 52% women.

While second-hand stores are known for offering a deal–fully 36% of respondents say they shop second-hand for that reason–the income breakdown may be a little different from what you would think.

It’s not necessarily surprising that those who make less than $50,000 a year report shopping at thrift shops very frequently. If budget is a top priority, then this makes sense.

However, among those who are now saying they are interested are shoppers who earn $50K a year (37%), as well as those who bring home between $50K and $100K a year (34%). In fact, even those who make more than $100K say they take a look at the second-hand racks, in case there is something that appeals to them.

That said, there are still plenty of divides along generational lines. Generation X has pulled slightly ahead of Millennials in terms of getting into the thrift store scene.

So what does all of this mean for the future of thrifting and second-hand shopping sprees? While current avid thrifters are largely female, under $50k per year income earners and Millennials, it’s unlikely that it will stay this way for very long. Although thrift shopping may have started out appealing to a very specific demographic, rising interest from men, mid-range income earners and Gen Xers indicates that the future of thrift shopping may become more mainstream.

Research contact: laurnie@civicscience.com

Juice cleanses: Less about health and more about image

May 16, 2018

It’s nearly bikini season in North America—and 58% of U.S. women are convinced that the best way to look like “a tall drink of water” at the beach would be to try a juice cleanse, based on findings of a recent poll by Civic Science.

However, interestingly enough, women also comprise 63% of those who already have done a juice cleanse—but say they will never repeat the experience.

Could juice cleanse expectations and the actual experience be two very different things? That could be a possibility, especially given the fact that only 3% of U.S .adults do juice cleanses regularly. Clearly, this activity appeals to a very specific crowd.

So who are these regular juice cleansers, how are they different from those who haven’t done one, but are interested—and what could be getting in the way of more U.S. adults jumping on the juice cleanse bandwagon?

Given the inflated price tag attached to most cleanses, the Civic Science researchers started with a look at income. Of those who juice regularly, 49% make more than $100,000 a year, confirming the notion that juice cleanses are far from cheap. However, that still leaves 35% who regularly cleanse and make under $50,000 a year.

Next, the pollsters also asked whether “juicers” generally were more interested than others in eating a healthful diet. Not exactly. In fact, fully 34% of those who have never participated in a cleanse (and have no desire to do so) actually think they already are healthy eaters.

And, in an unexpected twist, 44% of regular juice cleansers say they do not eat healthfully because they don’t have time, or it’s too much work.For this group, the ease of reaching into the fridge and grabbing the next bottle of juice is something they can commit to.

But, could toting that bottle of juice during the day be more about carrying the juice to create a certain (high-income level) image, than about drinking the juice to experience health benefits? While Civic Science isn’t judgmental, the data could indicate that this is the case.

What’s more, the pollsters found that there are also some interesting distinctions between juice cleansers and non-juice cleansers when it comes to visiting the doctor. They discovered that 53% who have not yet tried a cleanse, but plan to, see their doctors once or twice annually.

Just out of curiosity, Civic Science compared the juice cleanse question to a question regarding experience with elective cosmetic or weight-loss surgery.

Their instincts were correct: 39% of regular juice cleansers have had elective surgery for aesthetic or weight-loss purposes, while 35% of those interested in juice cleanses have not had a cosmetic or weight loss surgery, but would like to one day.

This aspiration aspect, combined with the fact that Millennials comprise 56% of regular juice cleansers, pointed the researchers toward the conclusion that the juice cleanse might be more about image than health, after all.

While price is one factor that can inhibit interested individuals from trying out a juice cleanse, for those who are committed, the benefits may be less about adopting a healthy lifestyle and more about looking the part.

Research contact: laurnie@civicscience.com

What drives vanity license plate owners?

April 27, 2018

Many Americans have a lot more on their plates than you would expect—vanity license plates, that is. The plates give clues to other drivers about the car owner’s name, attitude and more, if you can decode what they say, which is frequently abbreviated.

Among those we have recently seen: “I Gotta P,”  “OVR D EDG,” “L8R G8OR,” and “HOWIROL”

In fact, 18% of Americans say they have displayed vanity license plates on their vehicles at some point—and these folks are happier than non-owners, based on findings of a poll conducted among 2,625 U.S. adults by Civic Science and released on April 25.

The researchers say that, even though owners of vanity plates are more likely to be in a high income bracket ($100,000 annually), salaries are “all across the board for those who opt for more than a random license plate.”

While 19% of owners make more than $150,000 (which makes sense, because vanity plates are a splurge) a surprising and still solid 12% of vanity plate folks make under $25,000.

The researchers comment,”Maybe vanity plates are an aspirational item or a way to live like the other half-lives?”

 Demographically, vanity plate owners also are diverse—but they are likely to be suburban, married parents who are in the Generation X or Baby Boomer age range.

However, there is an interesting exception: Although the age group for vanity plate owners is on the older side, active Snapchat users are much more likely than others to have had a vanity plate at some point.

Maybe that means that they know how to have fun. But the fact is that 72% of those drivers who have had a vanity plate say they are happy, while only 57% of those who have never had one can say the same.

Finally, yes, respondents with vanity plates appear to be vain: Respondents told Civic Science that they consider themselves to be more physically attractive than others in their age group or gender.

Research contact: mary@civicscience.com

The ‘soft sell’ on athletic shoes

April 2, 2018

While 67% of Americans own a pair of running shoes, we are not necessary all “born to run,” in the words of Bruce Springsteen. Based on findings of a poll conducted among 2,713 U.S. adults by Civic Science, and released on March 26, the majority of Americans who wear athletic footwear(40%) say that comfort is the reason.

Only 11% of respondents to the poll self-identify as runners, while another 4% told the researchers that “I want to start running.” Another 6% own a pair because “I like how they look for everyday wear.” And surprisingly enough, 32% eschew athletic shoes completely.

Of those who run already, or who are thinking about starting:

  • Men are more likely to be runners than women;
  • Those in the age range 35-54 are more likely to already run;
  • Respondents ages 18-34 are more likely to want to start running;

No surprises there, but when the researchers looked at those who own running shoes for comfort only, they found that these folks  are more likely than the general population to be:

  • Active Snapchat + Twitter users;
  • 34-54 years of age;
  • Owners of wearable fitness trackers;
  • Online bankers and video streamers;
  • Product reviewers and online researchers pre-purchase;
  • Influenced by social media;
  • Fans of music and entertainment TV; and
  • Owners (or wanna-be owners) of virtual reality devices.

Overall, the pollsters discovered, these comfort-seekers are tech-savvy individuals, adopt new products before others, and want to spread the word about said products. What’s more, nearly half of them aren’t keen on exercise—rarely or never partaking:

Another point of interest: 58% of runners (or those who intend to run) hit the pavement (or the fitness center) several times a week—but wear their running shoes for comfort at other times.

Finally, Nike is the brand of choice for those who desire comfort and style, rather than those who actually run. This makes sense to the pollsters, who say that Nike’s approach is to design for comfort and to appeal to ‘”sneakerheads.” However, those who loved Nikes the most in this poll actually were the wanna-be runners.

Research contact: mary@civicscience.com

Striking a (love) match

February 6, 2018

Was that a tingle you felt when you first saw your significant other—or was it just your smartphone vibrating? While 59% of U.S. adults agree that dating apps “are a good way to meet people,” there still seems to be a cringe factor when sharing that information with friends and family, based on results of a poll conducted by Civic Science and released on February 2.

Dating apps such as Tinder—with an estimated 46 million users globally—may be all the rage, but only 14% of respondents to the recent poll think that finding someone online will lead to a lasting romantic relationship. In fact, 40% of American adults think that meeting in person is the best start for a solid relationship. Just over one-quarter of U.S. adults think there is equal opportunity to meet online or in person.

An estimated 15% of all adults are on dating apps, but the general population still believes in the randomness of an interaction on the street. Men are slightly more likely to think people can find relationships online.

People influenced by social media (and heavy Snapchat users) are more likely to believe people are “Equally likely to find relationships online or in person.” It seems familiarity with technology overall doesn’t mean you’re trusting it with matters of the heart.

How does age factor into our takes on love? Baby Boomers are more likely to believe that relationships should start in person, rather than online. Millennials—presumably the generation most familiar with dating apps—are most likely to believe that there is an equal opportunity to establish a lasting relationship, whether you meet online or in person.

Overall, while a favorable sentiment towards online dating may be growing, across all demographics, people are still more likely to believe the best relationships start by meeting in person.

Research contact: emma@civicscience.com

Why fast food and cashless service are not a winning combination

January 23, 2018

Fast food/quick-service restaurants (QSRs) have been trying to expedite service at windows, counters and tables by going “cashless”—that is, by requesting payment via either debit or credit card. However, a poll conducted by Civic Science and released this month finds that more than one-quarter (26%) of eateries that experiment with this concept could lose money in the process.

In fact, the segment that would turn away from the drive-through first would be the lower-income customers —those who earn less than $25,000 annually—who frequent fast-food outlets.  Of those, 11% would go there less often and 15% would stop going altogether.

“Whether these people don’t have access to credit or debit,  just prefer to pay with cash, or use EBT [electronic benefits transfer] cards, we’d venture to say that moving to cashless would hurt fast food chains,” Civic Science comments.

Independently owned restaurants would suffer the most, with a 34% dip for lost customers and a 29% decrease for those who would patronize them less often.

However, those who use payment cards would continue to frequent the fast-food joints: Civic Science found that 64% of American adults would keep purchasing at the same pace from a cashless QSR, while 10% actually would go more often.

Fast food quick service establishments—McDonald’s,  KFC, Domino’s— would retain the most business, with 29% saying they would patronize the chains more often and 28% saying they would go there just a little less frequently.

Next in terms of retention would be the casual eateries—Olive Guarden, Applebee’s, Denny’s— which would retain customers at a 30% rate but would see less frequent stops from 20%.

Hardly affected at all? Upscale eateries—Capital Grill, McCormick & Schmicks, BRAVO!—would see little change in business.

Research contact: mary@civicscience.com

31% of Americans don’t want to leave the house

January 19, 2018

When futurist Faith Popcorn coined the term, “cocooning,” in 1981, she defined it as staying home rather than risking a perceived outside danger. More than 30 years later, there’s a whole industry built upon the notion that people don’t want to leave the house.

Civic Science recently polled Americans in order “to gauge people’s desire to leave the house, and how, it’s changed, if at all.” Nearly one-third of U.S. adults responded negatively to the idea of going outside: In fact, fully 31% of respondents—mostly women— admitted that their desire to leave the house has decreased over the past six months.

In terms of age, this group is more likely to be in the Gen X or Baby Boomer generations. These may not be the target audiences of some apps and services for stay-at-homes, but maybe they should be.

What’s the reasoning behind this trend? Is it fear of the flu? Fear of the alt right? Fear of mass shootings? The ability to order out? The weather? Or just plain laziness?

According to the polling organization, “Largely, it may not just be the colder temps causing people to stay inside. It’s a real chicken and egg situation, you could say. Our access to meals, movies, and even finding that special someone is truly at our fingertips. Is this Stay-at-Home Economy driving the increase in people staying home, or is staying at home driving the increase in use of services that allow us to do so?”

There is no immediate answer, but the pollsters are planning to offer a webinar on the Stay-at-Home economy, focusing on how the retail, restaurant, and entertainment industries are adapting to the trend.

Research contact: mary@civicscience.com

‘Night owls’ dwindle while ‘larks’ surge

December 14, 2017

Self-proclaimed “night owls” are growing extinct, according to results of a recently survey by Civic Science, while those who consider themselves to be “larks” are flourishing.

Over the past year, the number of Americans who self-identify as denizens of the night dropped by 4 percentage points. Conversely, self-appointed early risers increased by 3 percentage points.

Specifically, just one year ago, 52% of Americans considered themselves to be night owls, while only 35% considered themselves morning people. This year, those numbers are 48% and 38%, respectively, according to the polling organization.

But, does that mean that we’re “dumbing down” a little as a society? A study performed by the London School of Economics last year and covered by The Tab suggests that people who are smarter find it easier to follow “novel evolutionary ideas such as stay up later of being nocturnal.”

Looking at a representative sample of Americans, the researchers found that those who were “brighter” woke up 30 minutes later than the “very dull”—although they did not say how they ranked intelligence.

The study also found that parents, Christians, and non-students tended to go to bed earlier.

Research contactJordan@civicscience.com

60% prefer traditional offices to co-working or ‘open plans’

November 27, 2017

As the economy shifts to encourage the engagement of more contractors and fewer full-time employees, professionals who savor a sense of community as well as a comfortable workspace at a comparatively low cost—many of them Millennials—are increasingly turning to co-working providers.  But is that what they really prefer?

Top among the co-working providers is WeWork, a seven-year-old New York City-based collaborative space that offers such amenities as a loft-like locations, catered lunch, IT support, healthcare insurance, payment processing and more—and in doing so, has become the third biggest U.S. startup by valuation ($21.06 billion), after Uber ($68 billion) and Airbnb ($31 billion) and before SpaceX ($21 billion), according to a report by Recode, based on PitchBook data.

But there are a number of similar providers springing up cross-country—among them, Regus, Carr, and Spaces.

If not in a co-working space, many offices are turning to open floor plans. In fact, 70% of U.S. offices now have an open office layout, according to The Washington Post. And while these spaces are supposedly meant to foster collaboration; they offer a distinct lack of privacy, which can lead to poor productivity for those who are easily distracted.

And there’s the rub: Indeed, according to findings of a recent Civic Science poll, fully 60% of U.S. adults prefer to work in a traditional office space (such as a law office).

Even when the polling organization considered that co-working spaces and open office spaces are much more geared towards Millennials, it seemed that a similar story holds true: While there is a definitive correlation between age and the type of office space a person prefers to work in, the researchers said, most Millennials still prefer to work in a traditional office space. Only 15% of Millennials prefer an open office space – which is slightly higher than the general population – and only 13% prefer to work in a co-working space.

Despite this low preference for open and co-working spaces, Civic Science did find another interesting correlation—job happiness. In fact, adults who prefer to work in a co-working space or an open office space are roughly twice as likely, the pollsters said, to say they are “very happy” in their current job. Those who prefer to work in a traditional office space are most likely to answer, “very unhappy.”

Since suburban households have more room for a private office, it is little surprise that people who prefer co-working spaces are more likely to live in a city.

Companies might want to think twice before jumping on the co-working and open layout bandwagon. Although these spaces provide many benefits, and although they may be fun, it looks like most people are content with traditional office spaces. They might not be as loud, or as collaborative, but the numbers don’t lie.

Research contact: Jordan@civicscience.com

When moving, your hometown may not be the happiest choice

November 22, 2017

How close do you live to your childhood home—and have you lived in that area for your entire life, or have you moved around and then decided to return? Civic Science recently asked that survey question to a representative sample of U.S. adults.

About 33% of respondents said they currently live more than 60 miles from where they grew up—even if they have returned there after a variety of other experiences. Over 20% of those polled said that have never lived more than 10 miles from the city where they spent their childhood.

The demographic differences were fairly predictable, according to the pollsters. Younger people (particularly 18- to 24-year-olds) are more likely to live within 10 miles of their childhood homes—perhaps because they simply haven’t moved away from mom and dad yet.

Older respondents (55+) are more likely to have moved 60 miles away, for good—perhaps to retire in warmer weather.

Parents over-indexed as living within 60 miles of home but not 10, perhaps because they wanted to live close to their kids’ grandparents—but not too close.

Respondents in rural, suburban and urban areas were evenly divided. But people from the U.S. Northeast – especially New York and Pennsylvania – were the most likely to live within 10 miles of where they grew up; while people in the U.S. West were least likely to be 10-milers.

Conversely, people in the U.S. Midwest are the most likely to live within 60 miles of home. People in the U.S. South were the most likely to move 60 miles from home and never return.

The most obvious motivating factor, in the researchers’ opinion, was level of education. People who went away to college or grad school were more likely to migrate further from home. People with high school degrees or less stay closer to home.

The 10-miler crew were slightly more likely to be Democrats. Independents were more likely to move away and come back.

But which respondents are happiest? The pollsters found that those respondents who have never moved more than 60 miles from home are the happiest, by a few percentage points. 

The people who have never moved more than 10 miles from where they grew up are the least likely to be unhappy.

People who moved 60 miles from home, only to return, are 23 percentage points less likely to be happy and twice as likely to be unhappy than the next closest group.

Why is this group so down in the dumps? The researchers don’t know for sure. Maybe it’s because they returned home under some kind of duress: This ‘boomerang’ group was 20% more likely than average to be divorced and 20% more likely to live alone. They’re the most likely of all the groups to carry significant debt—particularly, student loans and credit cards. Maybe they had to return home to care for a sick parent. Or maybe they chased a dream they couldn’t fulfill. It’s hard to tell without a doubt.

Research contact: contact: jd@civicscience.com