Industry Insights: June 21, 2023
by Jordan DeGraw • June 21, 2023
Would You Rather: Assemble IKEA Furniture or Talk on the Phone?
Hey there, readers!
Welcome back to our weekly Industry Insights blog post. We’ve got a bunch of exciting updates and trends to share with you, so grab your favorite soda (Diet Dr. Pepper for me😋), and let’s dive right in!
Let’s start with some good news for everyone concerned about inflation. It seems like things are finally settling down. Inflation rates have significantly decelerated since their peak in June 2022, dropping to a mere 4% last month. That’s less than half of the previous high of 9.1%. However, the Fed still has some work to do to hit its target of 2% annual inflation. Even though the inflation rate has slowed, households are still feeling the pinch of higher prices and stagnant wages. With student loan payments set to resume this summer, it’s time to pull out those trusty pens and notepads and start budgeting again.
Now, let’s move on to some exciting news for investors. If you have a 401k, it’s time to celebrate! The S&P 500 has officially entered bull market territory. For those unfamiliar with the term, it means that the index tracking 500 of America’s largest public companies is up over 20% since its recent low in October. History shows that under these conditions, the market averages a 17.7% return in the following 12 months. Investors seem optimistic, as the economy has remained resilient to inflation, thanks to a strong labor market and consumer spending.
Remember those recession fears we had going into 2023? Well, it seems like they’re slowly turning into cautious optimism. Employers are adding an average of 310,000 jobs every month, and Americans are sitting on nearly $500 billion in excess savings compared to pre-pandemic times (largely concentrated among those making over $150,000 per year). All these positive indicators have contributed to an improving consumer sentiment score over the past year. So, for now, let’s count it as a win and hope that unemployment stays low.
Let’s shift gears and talk about the ever-evolving marketing industry. Three giants—Google, Meta (formerly known as Facebook), and Amazon—have been utilizing artificial intelligence (AI) in the background of their advertising platforms for quite some time. However, they have recently rolled out new advertiser tools that leverage AI even further. These tools enable businesses to create and improve creative assets and ad copy using AI and enhance audience targeting. It’s an exciting time for marketers looking to maximize their advertising efforts.
Speaking of advertising, social media is continuing its rise in importance for businesses. According to a recent survey, a whopping 80% of business leaders expect their company’s social media budget to increase over the next three years. In fact, 44% of them estimate that the budget will increase by over 50% compared to its current level. It’s clear that social media is becoming an increasingly essential tool for businesses to connect with their audience and drive growth.
Now, let’s address an issue we can all relate to—customer service frustrations. It turns out consumers really dislike dealing with customer service, and I’m sure many of you can relate to that sentiment. In a recent study, 38% of people stated that they would rather get a cavity filled than deal with customer service. Yikes! Additionally, 35% would rather assemble an IKEA dresser, and 28% would rather burn their mouths with hot coffee. Ouch! Long hold times, multiple transfers, and faulty automated systems have led companies to reassess their approach to customer service. Obviously, the future of customer service needs a revamp to meet customers’ expectations and provide a seamless experience.
Just for fun:
Let’s wrap up with a couple of intriguing and amusing tidbits. Have you heard of “quiet quitting” or even Gen Z’s version of “loud quitting”? Well, there’s a startup called Exit that has a 10,000-person waitlist to resign on your behalf. For a fee of $144, they’ll handle the entire process of quitting your job. Talk about an interesting concept! Only in 2023.
In other news, Netflix’s crackdown on password sharing is… unfortunately, working. Since the announcement on May 23, Netflix has seen the four largest days of user acquisitions in the United States. Looks like they’re successfully converting those freeloaders into paying customers.
Lastly, let’s take a moment to appreciate our parking fines. A man in Finland was fined $130,000 for speeding, all thanks to Finland’s income-based fine system. Before you breathe a sigh of relief that you don’t live in Finland, consider this—New York has introduced a bill that would make parking fines proportional to income. So, it might be time to start parking more carefully!
Well, folks, that’s a wrap for this week’s Industry Insights. We hope you found these updates intriguing and entertaining. As always, stay curious, keep exploring, and we’ll be back soon with more exciting news from the ever-changing world around us.
Your friendly Industry Insights devotee,