USA Consumer and Economic Trends for June 2010

Hot topics in June 2010:

  • Not quite World Cup fever, but getting there;
  • 40,000 ways to stop the BP oil spill;
  • Everybody loves Shrek… and 3D movies.

Not quite World Cup fever, but getting there

Americans are used to being top dogs at global sporting events, except for the FIFA World Cup. This is largely due to the fact that soccer (as football is known in the USA) has always lagged behind the four most popular leagues in that country: American football, baseball, basketball and ice hockey.

However, this may now be changing: According to a Zogby Interactive poll of just over 2,100 adults conducted during early June 2010, one in every four Americans are
planning to watch some games, a higher figure than for any previous World Cups (except for the one that was held in the USA during 1994). Moreover, 38% are of the opinion that soccer will one day match the popularity of other American sports.

According to Zogby, “Higher levels of interest among those aged 30 and under help to boost overall numbers.” Furthermore, 23% of respondents “play or have a member of their family who plays recreational soccer.”

40,000 ways to stop the BP oil spill

The deep-water oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico has stirred all kinds of feelings in the American people. The most commonplace emotions are outrage and helplessness. A few days after the explosion that led to the spill, oil company BP consulted with the American people so that they could make a contribution to finding a solution.

Within days, nearly 40,000 suggestions had reached the company. These included “throwing oil-eating bacteria into the sea” and using “wax to block the broken well.”

More than a month after the explosion, the country has been horrified by footage of oil-stained beaches and wildlife. TV, radio, newspapers and social networks ,such as Twitter and Facebook, all point to a rising tide of anger and grief: “I just can’t believe it, it’s the first time in a decade that I can’t go to New Orleans on vacation… this is simply very sad,” according to one Texan woman.

Everybody loves Shrek… and 3D movies

“Shrek Forever After,” the fourth instalment of Dreamworks’ animated saga following the adventures of the lovable ogre Shrek, is a box office smash in US cinemas. According to specialist company Exhibitor Relations, it was the most-seen movie for several weeks in a row during May, grossing US$183.2 million in just over three weeks.

The entire film industry is green with envy and asking itself what the secret of the movie’s appeal is. For some, it lies in the appeal of Shrek to both children and adults, but others see a technological explanation, namely 3D. “It’s impossible to compare, 3D animation beats any other experience that one may have with a traditional film,” says a commentator on the specialist site IMDB. However, its appeal to TV viewers seems to be much more limited: According to iSupply, just 4% of Americans purchasing new televisions are choosing the 3D option.