📈 Thinking Outside of the Box (Store)

We’re going to Costco, regulating AI, and sending thoughts and prayers to sick men

Welcome to Trendlines!

Is it too late to fill out our 2024 bingo card? We don’t want to miss a chance to include “Swift/Kelce election ticket” and “major universities start offering degrees in plagiarism.” Regardless, we predict we’ll get some points this year for “hottest summer on record” and “latest Marvel Cinematic Universe film flops.”

While we don’t have a crystal ball, we do have some data-driven insights to help everyone get a clearer picture of what’s to come in 2024:

  • You’ll snag a Costco membership because our research “advises them” to build one in your neighborhood.

  • Water cooler conversations will revolve around the new hire, AI, who does everything but actually meet at the water cooler. 

  • Cold and flu season starts now… and lasts until 2025. 

Enjoy reading.


Thinking Outside of the Box (Store)

Some people say Disney World is the happiest place on Earth, but since we're adults with full time jobs and 10-pound-jar-of-peanut-butter addictions, we propose an alternative: Costco. Given that Costco is already an expert in big, it must be a herculean task for their growth department to figure out how to go from really big to even more really big. To help, we pitched in and asked Americans why they have (or haven’t) joined Costco and other wholesale clubs.

Only a minority of Americans (40%) don’t belong to any wholesale club while the rest are currently members of at least one. Sam’s Club is more popular than an actual club on New Year’s Eve, with 37% of Americans saying they belong. Costco (35%) and BJ’s (16%) are Americans’ second and third most popular choice, respectively.

A majority of respondents who are currently members of Sam’s Club and BJ’s Wholesale Club cite location/distance as the reason they belong to those clubs instead of Costco (68% and 77% respectively). Those who don’t currently have any wholesale club memberships also cited location/distance as the primary reason, with cost of membership as the second most cited reason they don’t partake in the club lifestyle.

It’s like the old saying goes: location, location, location. Proximity is the strongest determining factor of which wholesale club membership Americans choose. In fact, most Americans with memberships belong to the club within a 30 minute drive of their residence. When Costco is one of multiple clubs in a respondent’s area, they are more likely to belong to Costco, or have multiple memberships where one is for Costco. We can definitely relate to these people, resisting those Costco hot dogs is the real labor of Hercules.

Do you work for an awesome brand (like Costco) that could use help reaching your target audience? Let us know and we can help you reach them!


Old McDonald Had A Computer: A, I, A, I, Oh (No!)

Twenty twenty-three was a revealing year, and we aren’t just talking about Britney Spears’ and Prince Harry’s memoirs. More revealing than any tell-all autobiography, 2023 showed us a glimpse of artificial intelligence’s (AI) potential. The drastic improvements in AI and its widespread popularity have many wondering what it has in store for us in 2024.

Four out of five Americans express at least some concern about the future of AI. Whether it be their naivete or their comfort with invasive technology, Gen Z (23%) is more than twice as likely as Boomers (10%) not to be concerned at all about the future of AI. Perhaps the Terminator and Matrix series have left the older generations more skeptical about giving technology too much power.

Regardless of generation, a majority of Americans (62%) believe AI poses an existential threat to humanity. Apparently, Gen Z thinks such a threat may be exactly what we need to rizz up the country.

Whether concerned about AI or not, 69% of Americans support the federal government's latest steps to regulate AI. Of all the regulations, Americans are most supportive of developing standards, tools, and tests to help ensure AI systems are safe, secure, and trustworthy. If Biden is taking requests, we’d also like all future AI-powered robots to be able to dance like the ones from Ex-Machina:

Want to see the data? Curious about the methodology? Just reply to this email.

Health & Wellness

Putting the “Toxic” in Masculinity

One of our resolutions this year is to stop using the phrase “toxic masculinity” if we don’t really mean it. It’s proven a challenge since it turns out men… sometimes… are more toxic—but not emotionally (that would require a different kind of survey), physically!

We asked Americans what remedies they use when sick with a cold or the flu. A majority of Americans subscribe to rest (79%), over-the-counter medication (78%), and/or home remedies (61%). In a twist sure to shock every woman in a heterosexual relationship who’s ever asked her male partner to “slow down” when he’s sick, women are more likely than men to partake in every remedy. For both over-the-counter meds and home remedies, women are significantly more likely to seek those treatments than men. Fellas, 🎵 we love what you do, but don’t you know that you’re toxic?🎵

That’s a wrap, folks

We'd love to hear from you. Do you have any comments, suggestions, or other pieces of feedback? Please don't hesitate to respond to this email, we don't bite!

Do you have an idea for a research story? Want to see it in (digital) print? You can submit your own ideas for upcoming stories to our Trendlines idea repository.

Can't wait for more? Take a look at our public roadmap to see what's in store and vote on potential future Trendlines stories.

Do you know someone who’ll love this?

About Gradient

In a continuously changing world, intuition isn't enough. To address this, Gradient partners with startups, Fortune 100 brands, consulting firms, and political campaigns who aren’t confident answering strategic and directional questions. Through our partnership we help these organizations achieve objective clarity by providing custom and actionable insights based on statistical rigor. Want to learn more? Visit our website!

Join the conversation

or to participate.