📈 One Flu Over the Cough Cough's Nest

Each month Gradient surveys 1,000 Americans—this is what they have to say

Welcome to Trendlines!

As winter takes hold, we get to savor the delights of pumpkin spice lattes, Christmas cheer, and, unfortunately, seasonal depression. The sun chooses to leave us at 4:00pm every day—is the sun embarrassed it can't keep us warm? For those grappling with the winter blues, remember: You don’t need the sun to personally shine! Nope, all you need is data-driven insights, which we’ve gathered just for you from our monthly survey of 1,000 Americans. 

In this edition, we:

  • See whether adding crickets to the 2028 Olympics gets fans buzzing.

  • Dough not get in the way of America’s favorite donut.

  • And find out how far the flu has flown across America.

Enjoy reading.


Breaking: Added to the Olympics

To vie for the attention (and ad dollars) of America’s TikTok users, the International Olympic Committee decided to spice up its games roster with a whopping nine new sports during the next two Olympic cycles. Sadly for us, competitive survey-writing isn’t on the list, but we’ll keep our fingers crossed for 2032. 

For 2024, the famed inland city of Paris is making waves by showcasing surfing and breaking the mold for traditional Olympic expectations. Los Angeles in 2028 will be smashing it with squash (the Smashing Pumpkins were booked) and... cricket? Word on the street is that the locations for these events were originally swapped, but the Parisian committee was hesitant to add cricket to their already bug-infested city

We asked the American public which of the newly-added sports they generally want to watch on TV, and which ones they support adding to the Olympic roster. Even though Americans tend to be enthusiastic about watching the games, it seems audiences are reacting to the ever-expanding Olympic sports universe the same way they are to the never-ending Marvel Cinematic Universe: turning it off.

Besides baseball and breakdancing, the only reason an American would add a sport to the Olympics is perhaps so others can watch it. When asked about the new sports specifically, thirty-five percent of Americans said they wouldn’t be interested in watching any of them. So much for those ad dollars!

Are you one of the roughly 75% of Americans who are at least somewhat likely to tune into the Olympics? Let us know below!

How likely or unlikely are you to watch the 2024 Summer Olympics hosted in Paris?

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Gradient Research Showcase

Iced to Meet You

Who has the best job in the world? No, not the person who gets to play with the otters at SeaWorld. The other best job in the world: people who make donuts. Or, if you are less inclined to bake, the people who market the donuts. 

When you’re getting a new donut business off the ground, the last thing you want is to get Dunk-ed on and, with so many variations of the holey treat, deciding on which ones to offer and market so customers come cruller-ing back is likely to keep you up at night. With that in mind, you’ll want to know what donuts people prefer before you preheat the ovens. At Gradient, we use our bespoke MaxDiff analysis to answer questions of customer preference.

To demonstrate how this MaxDiff works, we asked our survey of 1,000 Americans which donuts they prefer. In this delicious case, our research shows that the top three most preferred donuts are chocolate frosted, glazed (yeast), and Boston cream. Consumers prefer blueberry frosted, butternut, and plain donuts the least.

Unlike simple ranking exercises that only show the order of customer preference, a MaxDiff allows marketers to understand both the order and magnitude of customer preferences. With the MaxDiff below, we see that chocolate frosted donuts are not only the favorite, but also that people prefer it almost three times more than glazed (old fashioned) donuts. 

MaxDiffs also allow marketers to test a larger number of items than simple ranking questions, making them perfect for product decisions that have a lot of potential variations. Being able to test a larger number of items can better allow for patterns to emerge among items. For example, when it comes to donuts, chocolate is clearly king to consumers. Of the seven most preferred donuts, five have chocolate, either as a frosting, glaze, or base

Understanding that chocolate is a key component in the most preferred donuts can help guide a burgeoning bakery’s production and marketing decisions. So, if you want to compete with the big boys, whether it’s in donuts or some less delicious product research, a MaxDiff can often be the best tool for the job.

Curious about the product preferences (donut-related or otherwise) your consumers want? Let us know and we can help you identify them with a MaxDiff!

Health and Wellness

One Flu Over the Cough Cough's Nest

Although influenza sounds as fun as Lollapalooza, it’s certainly less of a party. The worst part is that for a plurality of Americans (39%), the flu is longer than the actual festival, with the illness typically lasting a week. 

The height of flu season is underway, and a whopping 31% of Americans have already had the flu. The cases are even higher for younger generations as Millenials and Gen Zers are about 19% more likely to have had the flu in the past six months than Boomers. 

Maybe influenza and Lollapalooza are more intricately tied than we thought! Or it could be the case that younger generations are more planners than doers when it comes to getting their flu shots: 

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

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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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