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July 2015 Trends Tracker

Trends Tracker

Companies Covered: AAPL, ADDYY, AMZN, BABA, BBBY, CAR, CBS, CMCSA, CMG, DIS, DISH, EXPE, FB, FIT, GM, GOOG/GOOGL, HTZ, IHRT, KR, KRX:005930, MCD, MON, NFLX, NKE, OWW, P, PCLN, PNRA, PYPL, SBUX, SCTY, SFXE, SIRI, SKX, SUNE, SYT, RH, TGT, TRIP, TSLA, TWTR, TWX, TYO:6758, TYO:7201, TYO:7203, TYO:7936, UA, VSLR, WEN, WFM, WMT, WWW, YUM


Click here to download the full report (.pdf)

 

Summary of Findings

  • Pay-TV subscriptions continue to dwindle, which will benefit most online streaming services. One-half of Blueshift Research’s respondents ages 18 to 29 years old are “cord-nevers,” which will only add to pay-TV’s demise. Also, more respondents in all age groups are flocking to online streaming services, both paid-for and free.
  • Wearable technology adoption doubled compared with six months ago. Adoption was boosted by purchases of Fitbit Inc.’s (FIT) Fitbit but not of Apple Inc.’s (AAPL) Apple Watch, which only 1% of our respondents had purchased. Also, more respondents said they were “significantly less likely” to buy an Apple Watch now compared with before it was released than they were to provide any other response other than “same likelihood” or “never likely to get one.”
  • In-car use of satellite radio, such as SiriusXM Holdings Inc. (SIRI), and of smartphones has increased compared with six months ago. Embedded auto infotainment systems usage has declined, similar to findings in our July 24 report.
  • Twice as many respondents in the 18- to 29-year-old age group are paying for Spotify Premium than for Pandora Media Inc.’s (P) premium Pandora One service. Overall, most streaming music services are experiencing growth. Apple Music entered the market this month; 8.9% of respondents currently are taking advantage of its free three-month trial. It remains to be seen how Apple Music performs post-trial when its service becomes $9.99 for a single user and $14.99 for a family plan each month.
  • Kroger Co. (KR) emerged as respondents’ third most common destination for organic/healthy food, behind Whole Foods Market Inc. (WFM) and Trader Joe’s. Respondents’ use of specialty grocery stores in general has risen.
  • Skechers USA Inc. (SKX) is respondents’ fourth most popular athletic/performance shoe brand, behind Nike Inc. (NKE), New Balance Athletic Shoe Inc. and Adidas AG (ADDYY) but ahead of notable brands like Adidas’ Reebok, Asics Corp. (TYO:7936), and Wolverine Worldwide Inc.’s (WWW) Saucony. This supports Blueshift’s positive findings for Skechers in both the Dec. 17, 2014, and May 20, 2015, reports.
  • Four times as many respondents prefer to use Expedia Inc. (EXPE) than Priceline Group Inc. (PCLN) for online travel agency bookings.
  • McDonald’s Corp. (MCD) was the most-frequented fast-food/quick-serve restaurant among respondents 18 to 29 years old in the past month, but this age group also was responsible for providing the most business for Chipotle Mexican Grill Inc. (CMG). Blueshift’s July 15 report highlighted McDonald’s turnaround efforts, but sources said their effects would not take place for at least more than a year. This could leave McDonald’s vulnerable to Chipotle’s momentum, especially among millennials. Chipotle, Doctor’s Associates Inc.’s Subway and Panera Bread Co. (PNRA), all more health-conscious chains, have cracked respondents’ top seven restaurants in this sector.

 

Introduction

Welcome to Blueshift Research’s 13th edition of the Trends Tracker. This monthly research survey tracks the most pressing topics affecting U.S. consumers as well as business and investment theses. We monitor trends to see how respondents’ opinions evolve and frequently update survey questions with new issues that emerge from our research and observations. This month we removed our question regarding 11main.com because of the site’s minimal adoption as well as parent company Alibaba Group Holding Ltd.’s (BABA) move to merge it with OpenSky. We also discontinued coverage of consumer living habits, purchases based on environmental factors, and our two monthly open-ended questions on new trends and apps used by consumers.

We added questions surrounding fast-food and quick-serve restaurants, athletic/performance shoes, rental car alternatives, online travel agencies, and home décor and furnishings.

The July Trends Tracker comprises 1,100 respondents who represent a general sample of the U.S. public and who answered questions on July 16 and 17. Blueshift utilized SurveyMonkey’s Census data to balance respondents by gender and age so that the sample aligns with the U.S. population.

 

Topics Covered in the Report

  1. Pay-TV/OTT/cord cutting
  2. Wearable technology
  3. Auto infotainment/in-car entertainment
  4. Streaming music
  5. Grocery aisle/organic groceries
  6. Athletic/performance shoes
  7. Online travel agencies
  8. Fast food and QSRs
  9. Social media ads
  10. Rental car alternatives
  11. GMO foods/GMO labeling
  12. Smartphone adoption
  13. Electric/hybrid vehicle adoption
  14. Residential solar adoption
  15. Digital wallet usage
  16. Home décor/furnishings
  17. Economic trends/presidential candidates

 

Topics

1) Half of respondents ages 18 to 29 are cord-nevers, which bodes poorly for pay-TV’s future.

Respondents continue to cut their subscriptions to both basic pay-TV subscriptions and pay-TV subscriptions with add-on services. We also saw a big jump in cord-nevers compared with six months ago; one in two respondents ages 18 and 29 has never subscribed to pay-TV. The likelihood of pay-TV subscribers canceling in exchange for solely online streaming services in the next six months increased slightly. Those very or extremely likely to do so decreased slightly compared with our January findings, but remained relatively in line with our 1.1% of respondents who already have canceled their pay-TV subscription in the past month. This shift continues to benefit most related services, specifically Netflix Inc. (NFLX), CBS Corp.’s (CBS) Showtime, and Time Warner Inc.’s (TWX) HBO Go and HBO Now. Roughly 60% of pay-TV subscribers also pay for Netflix. Amazon.com Inc.’s (AMZN) Amazon Instant Video also saw growth but less so than other services compared with six months ago, possibly because of its lower number of high-definition movies and TV series.

Showtime launched its stand-alone service this month with deals with Apple, Hulu, Roku and Sony Corp.’s (TYO:6758) PlayStation Vue to directly target online streaming customers to its new offering. Dish Network Corp.’s (DISH) Sling TV adoption has been slow since the its inception because of confusing interfaces and streaming issues, and now it may have another issue: ESPN (Walt Disney Co./DIS and Hearst Corp.) is losing subscriptions and could break a clause agreement and trigger its removal from Sling TV.

Netflix is powering full steam ahead and will move into original movies this October. The company also has a competitive edge over Hulu and others since it focuses equally on TV and movies and on having no ads during streaming content. Google Inc.’s (GOOG/GOOGL) YouTube is gearing up to enter the streaming market later this year with a paid-for, ad-free offering, separate from its now free YouTube channels. By early 2016 Comcast Corp. (CMCSA) will offer a streaming service called Stream, which is available for $15 extra on top of customers’ Internet bill. Worth noting is Chicago’s cloud tax, which will make streaming online content from these providers more expensive.

 

Do you use pay-TV in your household?

  • 62.9% of respondents have a pay-TV service, an 8.1 percentage-point decrease compared with six months ago.
  • 27.2% have never had a pay-TV service, an 8.6 percentage-point increase compared with six months ago.
  • 51.8% of those ages 18 to 29 have never had a pay-TV service, a 17.3 percentage-point increase.
  • Younger respondents are more likely to have never had a pay-TV service or to have canceled their pay-TV subscription more than a month ago. Older respondents were more likely to have a pay-TV service with add-on services like HBO.

 

How likely are you to cancel your pay-TV subscription in the next six months and move solely to online streaming services?

  • 59.7% of pay-TV subscribers are not at all likely to cancel their pay-TV subscription in exchange for online streaming services in the next six months, a 0.6 percentage-point decrease compared with last month.
  • 7.1% of pay-TV subscribers are very or extremely likely to cancel their pay-TV subscription in the next six months for online streaming services only, a 3.1 percentage-point decrease compared with last month.
  • Younger respondents and/or those in lower-income households are the most likely to cancel their pay-TV subscription in the next six months and to move to online streaming services, a slight change from last month when 30- to 44-year-olds were the most likely to cancel.

 

What online streaming TV services do you use?

  • 58.5% of respondents use Netflix, a 5.8 percentage-point increase compared with six months ago.
  • 59.2% of respondents who are pay-TV subscribers use Netflix.
  • 43.5% of respondents use YouTube, a 10.8 percentage-point increase compared with six months ago.
  • 26.4% of respondents use Amazon Instant Video, a 0.2 percentage-point increase compared with six months ago.
  • 13.4% of respondents use HBO Go, a 4.3 percentage-point increase compared with six months ago.
  • 11.2% of respondents use Hulu Plus, a 2.7 percentage-point increase compared with six months ago.
  • 10.1% of respondents use Showtime, a 4.1 percentage-point increase compared with six months ago.
  • 6.5% of respondents use HBO Now, a 2.4 percentage-point increase compared with the previous quarter.
  • 2.0% of respondents use Sling TV, a 1.1 percentage-point increase compared with the previous quarter.
  • Younger respondents use Netflix, Hulu, Hulu Plus and HBO Go, similar to six months ago, while 30- to 44-year-olds prefer Amazon Instant Video, Sling TV and HBO Now.
  • Lower-income households are more likely to use online streaming TV services.
  • more likely to use online streaming TV services.

 

2) Wearable technology adoption doubled over the last six months, thanks to Fitbit but not Apple Watch.

Those very or extremely likely to adopt wearable tech devices have declined in number compared with our January findings, but actual adoption has almost doubled since six months ago. Only 1% of our respondents already own an Apple Watch, and 72.4% of the remaining respondents are unlikely to get an Apple Watch.

Apple Watch sales are estimated to be around 1.9 million since April, well short of the 3 million to 5 million forecast by analysts. In looking at daily sales, Slice Intelligence reported 35,000 watches for April 13 but only 5,000 watches for July 2. Fitbit, which recently had its IPO, outsold the Apple Watch 850,000 units to 777,000 units in May. Fitbit is the top fitness tracker on the market, and 40% of its sales come directly through its site. The potential marketplace for a fitness device is greater than that of specifically iPhone users, making Fitbit the king in the wearable market over rivals. IDC predicts the entire market will grow six-fold from 2014, when 20 million units were shipped, to 2019, when 120 units are expected to ship.

 

How likely are you to adopt wearable technology in the next three months?

  • 11.5% have already adopted wearable technology, a 5.9 percentage-point increase compared with six months ago.
  • 34% are likely to adopt wearable technology in the next three months, a 0.6 percentage-point increase compared with six months ago.
  • 6.2% are very or extremely likely to adopt wearable technology in the next three months, a 2.1 percentage-point decrease compared with six months ago.
  • 30- to 44-year-olds are the most likely already to have adopted wearable technology, and 18- to 29-year-olds—followed closely by 30- to 44-year-olds—are the most likely to adopt it in the next three months.

 

How likely are you to buy the Apple Watch now compared with before it was released?

  • 1.1% of respondents already have an Apple Watch.
  • 72.4% of respondents said they were never likely to get an Apple Watch.
  • 6.8% are more likely to get the Apple Watch now compared with before it was released; only 1% of those are significantly more likely.
  • 6.6% are less likely to get the Apple Watch now compared with before it was released; 4% of those are significantly less likely.
  • 45- to 65-year-olds are the most likely to have an Apple Watch.
  • Younger respondents are more likely to buy the Apple Watch now compared with before it was released.
  • 18- to 29-year-olds and those older than 60 are less likely to buy the Apple Watch now compared with before it was released.

 

3) Consumers are increasing their in-car use of satellite radio and smartphones.

Respondents are increasing their in-car use of smartphones and satellite radio but reported less use of embedded auto infotainment systems. These findings support Blueshift’s July 24 auto infotainment report. Younger respondents are the primary in-car users of smartphones, and are increasingly using this method over the last six months, while older and/or higher-income respondents favor satellite radio. SiriusXM has benefitted from its highest sales rates for cars in decades; almost 18 million vehicles were sold in June, which increases SiriusXM’s exposure to drivers.

As in-car smartphone usage grows, so does the potential for music streaming services, such as Pandora, Spotify and the new Apple Music. Apple Music is more similar to SiriusXM than to other streaming music services, and it has the potential to invade the car sector as well, thanks to Apple’s CarPlay being installed in vehicles. This month we added CDs and cassettes as a possible response resulting in respondents’ decreased use of traditional radio compared with January.

 

How do you consume most of your entertainment in your car?

  • 16.5% mostly use satellite radio, a 3.9 percentage-point increase compared with six months ago.
  • 16.4% mostly use their smartphone, a 3 percentage-point increase compared with six months ago.
  • 3.1% mostly use an embedded infotainment system, a 1.2 percentage-point decrease.
  • All age groups showed a decline in their use of embedded auto infotainment, but 45- to 60-year-olds are the most likely to still use these systems.
  • In-car use of smartphones increased compared with six months ago in all age groups except 30- to 44-year-olds. Younger respondents are the most likely to use a smartphone for their in-car entertainment.
  • Older respondents and/or those from higher-income households are the most likely to use a satellite radio for their in-car entertainment.

 

4) Most streaming music providers, including free and paid-for services, post greater usage compared with six months ago.

This month reflects the introduction of Apple Music and the removal of Beats music, iTunes Radio with Match, and Grooveshark from our survey responses. All other streaming services except pirated music experienced usage growth compared with six months ago. Younger respondents are flocking to free services like Pandora, Spotify and iTunes Radio, but 12.7% also are willing to pay for Spotify Premium. 18- to 29-year-olds are more likely to pay for Spotify Premium than Pandora One premium, 12.7% to 5.9%, respectively.

8.9% of respondents already use Apple Music. Once their three-month trial of Apple Music ends, they will be faced with a monthly fee of $9.99 (single user) to $14.99 (family plan). So far Apple Music’s entry has not hurt other streaming services, specifically Pandora. This was reflected in a statement from Pandora’s CEO. Pandora saw a 30% revenue jump last quarter as well as a 67% gain in local ad revenue, most likely because of its increasing number of ads. Listening hours at Pandora also have grown since January and now hover around 5.3 billion a month.

Spotify is making moves to retain or increase its subscription rates by introducing videos and its Discover Weekly tool, and landing an exclusive deal with SFX Entertainment Inc.’s (SFXE) Beatport. iHeartMedia Inc.’s (IHRT) iHeartRadio also is trying to gain share in this growing ecosystem; it has been added into Google’s Android Auto, has signed TV personality Ryan Seacrest to a three-year deal, and has created a partnership with Bluesound, a speaker and audio product manufacturer and wireless multiroom audio platform.

 

What streaming music services do you use?

  • 43.2% of respondents use Pandora Free, a 2.3 percentage-point increase compared with six months ago.
  • 5.9% of respondents us Pandora One premium, a 1.7 percentage-point increase compared with six months ago.
  • 17% of respondents use Spotify Free, a 5.2 percentage-point increase compared with six months ago.
  • 5.3% of respondents use Spotify Premium, a 1.5 percentage-point increase compared with six months ago.
  • 8.9% of respondents use Apple Music.
  • 14% of respondents use iTunes Radio (free), a 3.7 percentage-point increase compared with six months ago.
  • 12.6% of respondents use iHeartRadio, a 0.8 percentage-point increase compared with six months ago.
  • 29.7% do not use any streaming music services, a 2 percentage-point decrease compared with six months ago.
  • Younger respondents mostly use Pandora Free, Spotify Free, Spotify Premium, iTunes Radio and Apple Music.
  • 30- to 44-year-olds mostly use Pandora One premium and iHeartRadio.

 

5) Specialty stores post slight growth; Whole Foods remains top organic grocer. Kroger surprises as the third most prominent store, following Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s.

Most respondents still shop at local grocery stores, but the number has slightly decreased compared with six months ago because of momentum gained by specialty stores. Big-box stores have lost ground as grocery destinations.

Almost 20% of respondents do not buy organic groceries, a new topic this month. Those who do seek out organic foods prefer specialty grocery stores Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s, followed by farmers markets and local grocers/co-ops, Kroger and finally Walmart Stores Inc. (WMT). Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s are attracting older and higher-income respondents; farmers markets and local grocers/co-ops appeal to younger respondents; and Kroger and Walmart attract lower-income households. Kroger attracts 45- to 60-year-olds in particular.

Our numbers line up with Whole Foods being the top organic grocery in the United States, but we also have seen an initial surge for Kroger’s organic line, which management deemed the reason for its growing same-store sales comps. Whole Foods recently was affected by the news that its produce was being improperly weighed. It will now increase training for its workers to combat this issue. Consumers want Whole Foods and Walmart to start selling “ugly produce” at a discounted price to combat the nearly 50% of produce that gets thrown out by grocers.

 

Where do you shop for the majority of your groceries?

  • 60.5% mostly use local grocery stores, a 0.8 percentage-point decrease compared with six months ago.
  • 14.8% mostly use specialty grocery stores, a 0.4 percentage-point increase compared with six months ago.
  • 20.8% mostly use big-box stores for groceries, a 0.8 percentage-point decrease compared with six months ago.
  • 18- to 29-year-olds, those older than 60 and/or higher-income households mostly shop at specialty grocery stores.
  • 45- to 60-year-olds and/or those making between $100,000 and $149,999 mostly shop at local grocery stores.
  • Younger respondents and/or lower-income households mostly shop at big-box stores for groceries.

 

Where is the first place you go to buy healthy/organic food?

  • 19.3% of respondents do not buy organic food.
  • Of the remaining respondents, 14.5% primarily go to Whole Foods for organic food.
  • 13% of respondents use Trader Joe’s as their first place to buy organic food.
  • 9.6% of respondents use farmers markets as their first place to buy organic food.
  • 8.6% of respondents primarily use a local grocer or co-op for organic food.
  • 4.9% of respondents use Kroger as their first place to buy organic food.
  • 4.5% of respondents use Walmart as their first place to buy organic food.
  • Older respondents and/or higher-income households primarily use Whole Foods for organic food purchases.
  • Those older than 60 and/or from households with incomes of $100,000 to $149,999 use Trader Joe’s as their first place to buy organic food.
  • 45- to 60-year-olds use local Kroger as their first place to buy organic food the most.
  • Lower-income households use Walmart and Kroger as their first place to buy organic food.

 

6) Nike remains dominant in athletic/performance shoe market; Skechers surprises as fourth most popular brand.

Nike is the most desired athletic or performance shoe, followed by New Balance, Adidas and Skechers. 18- to 29-year-olds favored Nike; 30- to 44-year-olds favored Adidas, Skechers and Under Armour Inc. (UA); and those older than 60 preferred New Balance.

Blueshift’s May 20 Skechers report found the brand will sustain its strong growth throughout 2015, echoing our Dec. 17, 2014, Skechers report. Sources also emphasized Skechers’ broadening appeal. The brand holds 5% of the performance shoe market, which may reflect U.S. consumers’ desire for less expensive shoes.

Nike may face stiffer competition from Under Armour during the upcoming basketball season as Stephen Curry’s MVP season and NBA Championship thrust the Under Armour spokesmen further into the spotlight. Under Armour also has been sported by successful golfers and runners, and has raised its guidance and sales growth expectations of 25% year to year.

 

Which brand of athletic/performance shoes do you plan to buy in the next six months?

  • 22.2% of respondents plan to buy Nike athletic/performance shoes in the next six months.
  • 15.4% plan to buy New Balance athletic/performance shoes in the next six months.
  • 9.5% plan to buy Adidas athletic/performance shoes in the next six months.
  • 7.8% plan to buy Skechers athletic/performance shoes in the next six months.
  • 3% plan to buy Under Armour athletic/performance shoes in the next six months.
  • 18- to 29-year-olds are the most likely to purchase Nike athletic/performance shoes in the next six months.
  • 30- to 44-year-olds are the most likely to purchase Adidas, Skechers and Under Armour athletic/performance shoes.
  • 45- to 60-year-olds are the most likely to purchase New Balance athletic/performance shoes.

 

7) Expedia tops online travel agency use, while Kayak and TripAdvisor come in second and third.

Expedia is by far the most preferred OTA for booking trips, flights, hotels and rental cars, followed by direct bookings. Expedia is used four times as often as Priceline by respondents. Roughly half of the number of respondents who trust Expedia trust Priceline’s Kayak and TripAdvisor Inc. (TRIP), while Orbitz Worldwide Inc. (OWW) and Priceline round out the top five OTAs. 18- to 29-year-olds do not use OTAs; 30- to 44-year-olds prefer Priceline; 45- to 60-year-olds prefer Orbitz and Expedia; and those older than 60 prefer TripAdvisor.

Expedia recently purchased Travelocity in January and is looking to acquire Orbitz for $1.6 billion. TripAdvisor has fully transitioned into a booking site, and has experienced significant growth from its Instant Book program. Kayak started testing a Booking.com-like site on blue.kayak.com, with a reserve button but no metasearch.

 

Which is your preferred OTA for booking trips, flights, hotels and/or rental cars?

  • 12.8% prefer to use Expedia.
  • 11.1% prefer to book directly with the airline or hotel.
  • 6.9% prefer to use Kayak.
  • 6.8% prefer to use Travelocity.
  • 6.4% prefer to use TripAdvisor.
  • 4.2% prefer to use Orbitz.
  • 3.3% prefer to use Priceline.
  • 18- to 29-year-olds are the most likely to not use OTAs.
  • 30- to 44-year-olds prefer to use Priceline.
  • 45- to 60-year-olds prefer to use Orbitz and Expedia.
  • Those older than 60 prefer to use TripAdvisor.

 

8) 18- to 29-year-olds flock to Chipotle, challenging McDonald’s hold on younger consumers.

Almost four in 10 respondents ate at McDonald’s in the past month—the most of any fast-food or quick-serve restaurants mentioned in the survey. McDonald’s was followed by Subway, Yum! Brands Inc.’s (YUM) Taco Bell, Wendy’s Co. (WEN), Restaurant Brands International’s (TSE:QSR) Burger King, Chipotle and Panera. Approximately 15% of respondents did not eat at any of these restaurants in that month. Also, 30- to 44-year-olds were the most likely to eat at fast-food and quick-serve restaurants in the past month.

McDonald’s, Subway and Taco Bell were the top three selections in the past month among those ages 18 to 29 (44.6%, 38.6%, and 25.9%, respectively) and 30 to 44 (46.2%, 31.5% and 31.9%, respectively). While ranking sixth overall, Chipotle tied Taco Bell for third among restaurants visited in the past month by respondents ages 18 to 29. Panera was favored by those older than 60.

McDonald’s sales have dropped for seven straight quarters. Blueshift’s July 15 report on McDonald’s showed the beginning of positive changes from the company’s turnaround initiatives, but our sources said the full effect of the changes would not be felt for 18 to 24 months, leaving it vulnerable to its competitors, including Chipotle. Chipotle saw 14% sales gains in the last quarter, and received some positive press from a 23-year-old man who ate at the chain once a day for 155 days straight and was told by his physician that his cholesterol levels had improved.

 

At which fast-food/quick-serve restaurants have you eaten in the past month?

  • 39.5% ate at McDonald’s in the past month.
  • 30.6% ate at Subway in the past month.
  • 24% ate at Taco Bell in the past month.
  • 20.2% ate at Wendy’s in the past month.
  • 18.1% ate at Burger King in the past month.
  • 17.4% ate at Chipotle in the past month.
  • 17.1% ate at Panera in the past month.
  • 15.2% did not eat at any fast-food or quick-serve restaurants in the past month.
  • Those older than 60 were most likely to eat at Panera or no fast-food or quick-serve restaurants in the past month.
  • 30- to 44-year-olds ate at fast-food or quick-serve restaurants more often than other age groups, but only slightly more than those 18 to 29 years old.

 

9) Consumers are increasing their purchases through social media ads, benefitting Facebook, Pinterest and Instagram but not Twitter.

Respondents are slowly buying more products through social media ads, specifically on Facebook Inc. (FB) and Pinterest, Facebook’s Instagram has gained some traction, but purchases made through Twitter Inc. (TWTR) ads are stagnant. These findings support our July 27 quarterly advertising research.

A study done by the National Retail Federation’s Shop.org reflects the increased spending on social media ads in general and the 50% greater spending on Facebook, 27% more on Pinterest and 22% more on Twitter. Facebook is testing video ads to rival that of Google’s YouTube and other advertisers. Twitter is trying to capitalize on advertisers’ use of its site by offering ad targeting surrounding movie releases and events like the Oscars, as well as by introducing an ad button to all mobile device users to track ad campaigns.

 

Have you bought any products through a social media ad?

  • 13.7% have bought a product through a social media ad, a 1.6 percentage-point increase compared with the previous quarter.
  • 8.2% bought a product through a Facebook ad, a 0.3 percentage-point increase compared with the previous quarter.
  • 2.5% bought a product through a Pinterest ad, a 0.8 percentage-point increase compared with the previous quarter.
  • 1% bought a product through an Instagram ad, a 0.2 percentage-point increase compared with the previous quarter.
  • 0.6% bought a product through a Twitter ad, the same compared with the previous quarter.
  • Younger respondents and/or those making between $25,000 and $49,999 are the most likely to buy products through a social media ad.

 

10) Uber tops all alternatives to rental cars, thanks to millennials.

Respondents used Uber slightly more often than taxi services as alternatives to car rentals in the last three months, while 18% of the remaining respondents used only rental car services such as Avis Budget Group Inc. (CAR) and Hertz Global Holdings Inc. (HTZ). Younger respondents are more likely to use Uber and Lyft services, while older respondents favor rental cars. Blueshift’s survey in its June 12th rental car report found that individual consumers will rent cars less frequently, pay more and supplement their car renting with taxis and Uber.

Uber has experienced growth but also has been plagued by lawsuits and, recently, legislation that could put caps on the number of cars the company has on the road in Massachusetts. New York is launching a four-month study to find if Uber’s cars affect the city’s traffic and the environment. Meanwhile, the Metropolitan Taxicab Commission in St. Louis will be drafting a new code by the end of July to make it easier for companies like Uber and Lyft to enter the market and register vehicles. Lyft recently struck a deal with Starbucks Corp. (SBUX) to test free rides for baristas to and from work; the partnership could evolve into Lyft drivers delivering Starbucks products, according to CEO Howard Shultz.

 

Which of these services have you used instead of a car rental in the last three months?

  • 16.6% have used Uber instead of a car rental service in the last three months.
  • 16.4% have used a taxi instead of a car rental service in the last three months.
  • 18% only use rental car services.
  • 51.5% do not use any of these car services or rental cars.
  • Younger respondents were more likely to use Uber and Lyft instead of a car rental in the last three months.
  • Older respondents were more likely to only use rental cars.

 

11) Desire for GMO labeling remains high but is waning as more respondents become indifferent on the subject.

Views are shifting from opposition to indifference to GMO foods compared with last year. We noted a big drop in the number of respondents in favor of buying GMO foods; a slight increase in the number of respondents opposed to but willing to buy GMO foods; and a decrease in those who oppose and do not buy GMO foods. 18- to 29-year-olds are more opposed to GMO food than last year, while those older than 60 remain the most in opposition to such food.

Most respondents (70.5%) still want GMO food to be labeled, but the number has declined year to year. This shift may be due to GMOs no longer being a hot-button news topic. In contrast to our survey, the Mellman Group found that 88% of U.S. consumers want GMO foods labeled. The House passed a bill that bans states from labeling GMO foods, including Vermont, Maine and Connecticut, which had already passed such laws. Another key change in the bill is the ability to label GMO foods as “natural” products. This bill could save food manufacturers and consumers money.

Monsanto Co. (MON) is getting closer to launching another wave of GMO seeds to combat “super weeds” created by herbicides. Some view this as a huge step back for the environment. Meanwhile, Monsanto continues to press Syngenta AG (SYT) for a merger.

 

What are your views on GMO foods?

  • 40.2% are indifferent about GMO foods, a 15.2 percentage-point increase year to year.
  • 11.1% are in favor of and buy GMO foods, a 14.3 percentage-point decrease year to year.
  • 20.6% are opposed to but buy GMO foods, a 2.5 percentage-point increase year to year.
  • 28.2% are opposed to and do not buy GMO foods, a 3.3 percentage-point decrease year to year.
  • 18- to 29-year-olds were the only age group to increase their opposition, although those older than 60 remained the most opposed to GMO foods.
  • Households with incomes below $24,999 were the most opposed to GMO foods, a shift from a year ago when the most opposition came from households with incomes of $25,000 to $99,999.

 

Should GMO foods be labeled?

  • 70.5% believe GMO foods should be labeled, an 11.5 percentage-point decrease year to year.
  • 22.7% are indifferent about labeling GMO foods, an 8.4 percentage-point increase year to year.

 

12) iPhone and Samsung smartphone adoption has grown over the past year.

iPhone adoption has grown approximately 8 percentage points compared with last year; now the devices are used by 41.4% of our respondents. We also noted a slight increase in the number of respondents who have adopted Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd. (KRX:005930) smartphones. The primary age of respondents owning an iPhone has shifted from 18- to 29-year-olds to 45- to 60-year-olds, but the devices still are mostly found in higher-income households. Respondents reporting ownership of a Samsung phones have shifted into a higher-income bracket year to year.

Samsung plans to release an 11K super-resolution display by 2018, which could allow the phone to be 3D. Meanwhile, Apple is launching an ad campaign entitled “Why there’s nothing quite like an iPhone.” Apple also is suspected to be on track with its iPhone 6S release for September and to announce the release of the iPhone 7 next year.

 

Who made the smartphone you currently own?

  • 41.4% have an Apple-made smartphone, a 7.9 percentage-point increase year to year.
  • 22.1% have a Samsung-made smartphone, a 0.4 percentage-point increase year to year.
  • 45- to 60-year-olds now are the most likely to have an iPhone, followed by 18- to 29-year-olds—a shift from last year when the latter age group was the most likely to have the Apple device.
  • Higher-income households are more likely to have an iPhone, similar to our findings last year. Respondents with household incomes of $100,000 to $149,999 now are the most likely to have a Samsung smartphone, a shift from last year when lower-income households were the most likely to have such a device.

 

13) Overall electric vehicle adoption slips, but higher-income households keep boosting Tesla sales.

We noted increases in the number of respondents with hybrid vehicles or no car at all, but a decline in respondents’ likelihood of purchasing a hybrid or electric vehicle for their next car. Respondents’ overall sentiment toward electric and hybrid vehicles was reflected in the cars’ overall sales, which increased in April but declined in May and June year to year. Our respondents from higher-income households were the most likely to commit to having an electric or hybrid vehicle as their next car.

Tesla Motors Inc. (TSLA) sales are up 52% year to year, and Model S sales outpaced demand. Lower-cost hybrid and electric vehicles like General Motors Co.’s (GM) Chevrolet Volt and Cadillac ELR, Nissan Motor Co. Ltd.’s (TYO:7201) Leaf, and Toyota Motor Corp.’s (TYO:7203) Prius saw sales fall because of lower gas prices and fewer buying incentives. Still, a tweet from @SquawkCNBC reported optimism for this market as GM, Toyota and Honda all plan to release next-generation hybrid and electric vehicles in 2016.

 

What type of car do you own?

  • 82.4% of respondents own a gas-powered car, a 3 percentage-point decrease compared with six months ago.
  • 11% do not own a car, a 2.4 percentage-point increase compared with six months ago.
  • 5.7% own a hybrid car, a 0.9 percentage-point increase compared with six months ago.
  • 0.9% own a full-electric car, a 0.2 percentage-point decrease compared with six months ago.
  • 30- to 44-year-olds and/or those making $100,000 to $149,999 are more likely to own a hybrid vehicle.
  • Respondents older than 60 and/or making more than $150,000 are more likely own a full-electric vehicle.
  • 18- to 29-year-olds are the most likely to not own a car.

 

How likely are you to purchase a hybrid or electric version for your next car?

  • 46.2% are not at all likely to purchase a hybrid or electric vehicle, a 5.4 percentage-point increase compared with the previous quarter.
  • 3.9% plan to purchase a hybrid or electric as their next car, a 1.4 percentage-point decrease.
  • 45- to 60-year-olds and/or those with household incomes above $150,000 are the most likely to commit to having a hybrid or electric vehicle as their next car.
  • 18- to 29-year-olds and/or those making $100,000 to $149,999 were the top demographics to be very or extremely likely to purchase a hybrid or electric vehicle for their next car.

 

14) Adoption of residential solar has grown. However, new initiatives have eased the switch to solar without installations, bringing the next wave of residential adopters into question as respondents are less likely to buy solar panels.

Solar power adoption in the home increased 40% from last year to encapsulate 4.2% of our respondents, but the number of respondents who are very or extremely likely to adopt solar going forward has decreased year to year. In Portland, OR, Blueshift has found a potential reason for consumers’ decreased likelihood of adopting solar panels: Some power companies are allowing home owners and renters to switch their power sources to solar and wind without installing equipment—all for an additional $4 a month on average.

The high initial cost remains a barrier to entry for many U.S. consumers; respondents with household incomes of more than $150,000 continue to be the most likely to have solar panels. President Obama announced an initiative to make solar more affordable, specifically for low-income communities and renters, and to increase solar panel installations by three-fold in five years. Our previous surveys have found renters’ difficulty in installing solar and the aesthetics of panel to be specific adoption issues.

SolarCity Corp. (SCTY) announced a partnership with Sunrise Energy Ventures that will allow customers to purchase renewable energy without installing equipment on their properties. Meanwhile, SunEdison Inc. (SUNE) is reaping the benefits of increased solar installations and will purchase Vivint Solar Inc. (VSLR) in order to grow its residential solar business. New clear, glass-like solar panels are being developed by Ubiquitous Energy and Michigan State University. The overall global market is expected to grow to a $180.7 billion market over the next six years, according to Market Research Store.

 

How likely are you to adopt solar power in your home during the next six months?

  • 4.2% already have solar panels installed on their homes, a 1.2 percentage-point increase year to year.
  • 26.8% already have or are likely to adopt solar on the next six months, an 8.1 percentage-point decrease year to year.
  • 4.4% are very or extremely likely to adopt solar on the next six months, a 2.5 percentage-point decrease year to year.
  • 30- to 44-year-olds and/or those making $50,000 to $99,999 are the most likely to adopt solar in the next six months, a change from last year when 45- to 60-year-olds and/or those making under $24,999 were the most likely.
  • 45- to 60-year-olds and/or those making more than $150,000 still are the most likely to already have solar panels.

 

15) Digital/mobile wallet usage slips.

The number of respondents using digital/mobile wallets in the last month decreased overall compared with six months ago, but those using digital/mobile wallet once in the last month increased slightly. Digital/mobile wallet adoption declined in all age groups, but 18- to 29-year-olds remain the primary users. A recent Gallup poll confirmed this lackluster adoption and use by U.S. consumers. It also found awareness of Apple Pay to be the highest among digital wallets but that adoption remains slow because consumers see little value in the technology.

Samsung launched a trial run of its Samsung Pay on July 15; the company is trying to push into the already crowded market with its NFC-powered digital wallet, which is accepted at POS terminals, much like Apple Pay and Google Wallet. Meanwhile, Gallup showed Google Wallet, Apple Pay and PayPal Holdings Inc. (PYPL) to be the most used players. PayPal has completed its spinoff from eBay, allowing the company to focus on new partnerships that would have been unavailable before the split.

 

Have you used a digital or mobile wallet in last month?

  • 32.9% used a digital or mobile wallet in the last month, a 2.5 percentage-point decreased compared with six months ago.
  • 8.6% have used a digital or mobile wallet once in the last month, a 0.5 percentage-point increase; this was the only usage to increase compared with six months ago.
  • 18- to 29-year-olds remain the primary adopters of digital or mobile wallets, but they joined other age groups in reporting declining use.
  • Households with incomes of $100,000 to $149,999 were the most likely to use a mobile or digital wallet, a shift from six months ago when those making $25,000 to $49,999 were the most likely.

 

16) Bed Bath & Beyond is respondents’ top retailer for home décor/furnishings.

Bed Bath & Beyond Inc. (BBBY) is the most popular place to shop for home décor and furnishings, followed by Target Corp. (TGT) and Amazon.com Inc. (AMZN). Restoration Hardware Holdings Inc. (RH) was one of the least popular places for home décor and furnishings, most likely because of its higher prices. Lower-income households and younger respondents prefer Target, Amazon, Inter Ikea Systems B.V. and thrift stores.

Restoration Hardware is making a move from its classic styles to a more modern approach as the fall season approaches. Bed Bath & Beyond has the highest sales per square foot in the industry, is currently in the middle of more buyout rumors, and is facing tough retail competition from Amazon, which recently reported a 20% increase in sales.

 

Where do you shop the most for home decor/furnishings?

  • 13.6% shop the most at Bed Bath & Beyond for home décor/furnishings.
  • 12.7% shop the most at Target for home décor/furnishings.
  • 10.1% shop the most at Amazon for home décor/furnishings.
  • 9.8% shop the most at thrift stores for home décor/furnishings.
  • 9.2% shop the most at Ikea for home décor/furnishings.
  • 1.3% shop the most at Restoration Hardware for home décor/furnishings.
  • 45- to 60-year-olds and/or those with household incomes of more than $150,000 are the most likely to shop at Restoration Hardware for home décor/furnishings.
  • Respondents older than 60 and/or with incomes of $100,000 to $149,99 are the most likely to shop at Bed Bath & Beyond for home décor/furnishings.
  • Younger respondents are the most likely to shop at Target, Ikea, Amazon and thrift stores for home décor/furnishings.
  • Those with incomes of $25,000 to $49,999 are the most likely to shop at Target for home décor/furnishings.
  • Those with household incomes of $24,999 or less or between $50,000 to $99,999 are the most likely to shop at Amazon for home décor/furnishings.

 

17) Hillary Clinton has a sizable lead on the field, with nearly twice as many likely votes as nearest competitor Bernie Sanders, and three times the likely votes as the two top-ranking Republicans, Donald Trump and Jeb Bush. Respondents still favor voting for a specific candidate rather than a party.

The fifth most popular was Elizabeth Warren, who has yet to declare as a candidate, yet still outpaced all but two Republicans.

Two recent polls from AP-GfK and The Washington Post found the candidates’ favorability ebbed and flowed, while our survey contrasted with others in that Hillary Clinton trailed the Republican candidates. Bernie Sanders, who has been starting to draw the biggest crowds of any candidate, has attracted the attention of our younger respondents. Still, Sanders will have to get them to the polls as they were the least likely to vote in the 2016 election. Our survey also found Donald Trump leading other Republican candidates, much like the polls by ABC and The Washington Post.

Respondents were slightly more likely to believe a particular political party is responsible for the country’s economic prospects, but 40% believe neither major party is responsible. Three in four respondents plan to vote for a particular candidate rather than for a political party, similar to our findings a year ago.

Slightly more respondents believe the country’s economic prospects have improved rather than declined, but those reporting an improvement decreased in number compared with six months ago. This is similar to The Federal Reserve’s recent revision to its forecast.

 

Who will you vote for in the 2016 presidential election?

  • 27.6% plan to vote for Hillary Clinton, particularly those respondents who are older and/or have household incomes of more than $150,000 or between $25,000 and $49,999.
  • 15.3% do not plan to vote in the 2016 presidential election, particularly those who are younger respondents and/or with lower household incomes.
  • 15% plan to vote for Bernie Sanders, particularly those ages 18 to 29 and/or with higher household incomes.
  • 8.2% plan to vote for Donald Trump, particularly those ages 45 to 60 and/or with incomes of $50,000 to $149,999.
  • 7.1% plan to vote for Jeb Bush, particularly those ages 45 to 60 and/or with incomes of $100,000 to $149,999.

 

How will you vote in the 2016 presidential election?

  • 75.5% plan to vote by candidate rather than by political party, a 2.4 percentage-point decrease year to year.
  • 45- to 60-year-olds and 18- to 29-year-olds were the most likely to vote by potential candidate.

 

Do you think economic prospects in the United States are improving or declining, and which political party, if any, is responsible?

  • 51.7% believe the United States’ economic prospects are improving, a 5 percentage-point decrease compared with six months ago.
  • 40.9% believe neither major political party is responsible for the economic prospects, a 2.1 percentage-point decrease compared with six months ago.
  • 18- to 29-year-olds still are the most likely to believe neither major party is responsible, but we noted a decline in conviction in all age groups except those older than 60.

 


Report analysis by: Mason Rudy