Editor’s note: Sam Killip is VP of customer success at consumer research platform Attest.

As we begin 2023, a host of problems could be weighing on Americans’ minds, from an ongoing war in Europe to high inflation and a potential recession, there's plenty to think about.

According to new research, there are four key issues that are top-of-mind for the nation as we transition into the new year.

The third annual U.S. Consumer Trends survey shows that 64% of American consumers are feeling positive about 2023, down just 2% from last year, with 16% holding a negative outlook of the year to come – up from 13%.

Nearly one-quarter of consumers (24%) said that they were most worried about paying for food in 2023, while 17% were most concerned about the price of gas. Outside of money-related worries, 15% cited political upheaval as the issue making them feel most uneasy about 2023. 

The report casts light on important trends in consumer sentiment and behaviors for the coming year, providing valuable insights for researchers and marketers who want to stay ahead of the curve in 2023. In this article, we’ll cover four notable findings from the study. 

Only one-fifth of Americans (20%) say that they don't want brands to be political in 2023, a decline of one percentage point from last year. In terms of issues they want brands to address, poverty (36%) is top of the list, as it was 12 months ago, followed by racism (30%), women's rights, climate change and gun violence (all at 29%). Women's rights is the fastest-growing issue of concern, climbing 6% from last year's report.  

Brands need to get the tone right and ensure they are focusing on the right issues. While last year's research showed that Americans wanted brands to make them laugh, the appetite for humorous messaging has fallen five points to 51%. While humor is still the top sentiment that consumers want from brands, motivational (...