We want free stuff.

If you’ve ever wondered why a middle-aged gentleman would trip over three 10-year-olds and a nun to catch one of those free t-shirts fired out of a cannon at a basketball game, you are not alone. “Free stuff makes us do very strange, irrational things,” according to a May 8 in-depth article by The Hustle.

When it comes to free samples at Costco and free shipping for our next Amazon buy, we don’t see a downside when we see something for free. We are “guided by a good feeling,” “a positive glow that people have about not having to pay.”

This “glow” plays into how we make decisions. When it comes to free shipping for online purchases, we tend to see shipping costs as an “unfair” cost. According to The Hustle, “when the unfair barrier is removed, people are more likely to buy the product.”

A little lagniappe goes a long way. When Ziploc gave away samples of a new space bag at Costco, it saw a 156% increase in sales, according to The Hustle. Other popular free sample products like beer, wine, cheese and pizza have seen increases between 71% and 600%.

Would we pay for news? Nope.

According to the Reuters Institute’s 2020 Digital News Report, only 20% of Americans pay for online news. Forty percent of Americans say they would never pay for news.

Why? We are used to getting our news for free, and we are willing to sift through the ads on free sites that in many cases, get us to pay more money for stuff in the long run. Remember those shoes you searched for that one time two months ago?

Gulf South Index 2022 Sneak Peek: Our Devices and Our Time – COMING SOON.

More than a third of Gulf South residents (34%) spend six or more hours a day on their smartphone, compared to 26% of all Americans. Google the amount of time that a typical person is awake in a given day and you will see that we are awake between 16- and 18-hours day. For many of the people in the Gulf South, this means that one of every three hours awake is spent on our smartphones. That average time is only going up.

In total, 57% of Gulf South residents spend four hours or more each day on our smartphone.

What are we doing on our phones for that much time?

According to the GWI USA report on social media in the U.S., we are spending less time on social media than the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic, watching more short-form videos on platforms like TikTok, and buying more stuff online.

For example, in the first quarter of 2021, Millennials spent two hours and 47 minutes a day on social media. That time decreased by five minutes by the end of 2021. Gen X consumers spent seven minutes fewer on social media during the same time period, dropping from two hours and two minutes a day on social media to one hour and 55 minutes a day.

85% of Gen Z and Millennials on social media watched a video of four minutes or less in the last month, with 77% of Gen X consumers doing the same.

Louisianians trust local news.

As we’ve seen in the Gulf South Index for the last two years, Louisianians trust local news more than they trust national news. However, that trust is markedly lower than previous years.

According to the 2022 Louisiana Survey from the Public Policy Lab at LSU’s Reilly Center for Media and Public Affairs, 51% of respondents said they trusted the information they received from local news organizations. This number is down from 78% as recently as 2018.

The soon-to-be-released 2022 Gulf South Index saw similar results. 48% of respondents across the Gulf South said they trusted news from local networks “a great deal” or “quite a lot.” In Louisiana specifically though, 54% of residents said they trusted local news “a great deal” or “quite a lot,” 6% more than the Gulf South region as a whole and slightly higher than the results in the LSU survey.

Looking for more info about how Gulf South residents are spending their time online and what platforms are the most popular for reaching the people of this region? Stay tuned for the 2022 Gulf South Index Report coming soon.

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