📈 Mallin' Outta Control

We’re trading the digital for analog nostalgia, brick-and-mortar shopping, and IRL pastry.

Welcome to Trendlines!

It’s Cupid Season, which, for some, means meeting new people. Naturally, we found ourselves wondering what would be the most obnoxious alternative to saying “Nice to meet you” IRL, assuming your date’s profile pic was a little too flattering and you wanted to get off on the wrong foot

We think it’s a toss-up among: “Charmed, I’m sure,” “Oh, that’s my dog’s name,” literally saying “IRL” in your greeting, and [spits in hand] “Put ‘er there.” Sound off in the comments to let us know how these go for you. In this edition, we:

  • Remember to be kind and rewind America’s VHS tapes because we are not monsters.

  • Bravely imagine what an IRL version of Amazon might look like. Hear us out: escalators, a food court, and vendors all housed under one roof.

  • Quantify the precise rate of donut consumption at which you should start to feel guilty.

Enjoy reading.

Entertainment

Who’s Holdin’ Golden Oldies

Between the resurgence of ‘90s fashion trends (hello, scrunchies) and a steady stream of classic television reboots, it seems everything old is new again—within reason. For instance, Hollywood would be hard-pressed to remake that boombox scene from 1989's Say Anything today, equally because of its questionable relationship dynamics—and its Jurassic tech. 

Boomboxes, cassette players, record players, and VCRs—all analog machines struggling for relevance in a digital world. Heck, even first generation digital devices, like CD and DVD players, are endangered now that you can stream all media on one device. We asked Americans if they currently own these “old-school” items (not counting those in a vehicle).

More than half of Americans (63%) own a DVD player, despite being logged into at least one streaming service Mom still pays for. Like humpback whales and Baker Mayfield believers, maybe DVD players aren’t an endangered species anymore.

Conversely, cassette players and VHS players each only appear in 20% of American homes. A slightly larger number of Americans own a vinyl record player (27%), which might owe its resurgence to your hipster friend who lives in Williamsburg. You know the one.

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Consumers

Mallin’ Outta Control

As any ‘80s or ‘90s kid will tell you, the mall is pretty radical. You can shop, loiter with your friends (not legal advice), and grab a soft pretzel from one of our nation’s many purveyors of salty twisted snacks. There might even be a Claire’s inside. What’s not to love? In fact, we love malls so much we wanted to see if the answer to the question "who loves the mall" is "them all.”

Turns out, we aren’t the only ones who love a good trip to the mall. Almost two thirds of Americans (63%) who have been to the mall in the last year go at least once a month and 13% go at least once a week. On the flip side, 8% go once a year or less frequently. Some people don’t know their Hot Topics from their Spencer’s.

Of the people who haven’t been to the mall in the last year, the most popular reason was because they can buy what they want online (36%). Hey, we get that online shopping is convenient, but is it as convenient as having a Hӓagen Dazs next to Cinnabon? The mall being too far away (27%) and being too crowded (27%) are the second and third most popular reasons Americans avoid the giant store filled with stores.

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

Food

From Leaven to Heaven

In December, we released some groundbaking research about America’s most preferred donuts. But the question remains: Do Americans even like donuts?

To no one’s surprise, 88% of Americans enjoy eating donuts. While donuts may be old-fashioned, Boomers (83%) are significantly less likely to enjoy donuts compared to other generations.

Last but not yeast, Americans really do run on Dunkin’ as 27% purchase donuts at least once a week. And when it comes time to eat a donut, one won’t suffice—half of Americans believe two donuts are an acceptable number to eat in a single sitting. But if we sit for a really long time, can we have three?

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!

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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!

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