New Study Provides Insight on Items Americans Rely on Most Every Day

In order to smoothly navigate your day-to-day, it’s likely there are a few key items, whether you really think about them or not, that we all count on to get things done. From the coffee cup we clutch to the button we press to start our laptops, our daily routines are filled with ubiquitous items. The reliability of these items – the fact that they consistently perform well – is critical to our day-to-day and impactful on our emotions (both positive and negative) and yet we don’t stop and think about, much less celebrate, the value these items bring to our everyday lives.

So, what do Americans say they can’t live without in their day-to-day? A new study conducted by Cooper Tires uncovered that the majority of the items Americans rely on daily are items that have been features of American life for decades – not just new technologies. Cooper® is built on providing quality, reliable tires for drivers since 1914, and understands the value of being a reliable partner for everyday life, whether celebrated or not. And many of the items that Americans named as their top 10 aren’t lauded on a daily basis – but maybe they should be.

In a recent study of 2,000 Americans, Cooper® uncovered what household items are most important to our everyday lives. While Wi-Fi and cell phones take the number one and number two spots on the list of items that Americans rely on most, the remainder of the top 10 includes personal vehicles, shampoo, microwaves and much to your dentist’s rejoicing – your toothpaste and toothbrush. While high-tech products and advancements are exciting and buzz worthy, it’s more routine items that we look to and rely on to get through our day, showing a clear distinction between the things that are nice to have – like fitness trackers and tablets – and things that are a critical necessity for most Americans to navigate their daily needs, like the reliance on personal vehicles.

Internet and entertainment

It’s clear that Americans need Wi-Fi/the internet to go about their day-to-day lives, but who relies on it more? Younger generations may be accused of being too focused on tech but somewhat surprisingly, the overall scores for Wi-Fi/the internet increase among older generations.

And while it does appear that cell phones will overtake Wi-Fi/the internet as the top item in the future (cell phones rank first among Gen Z, millennials, and Gen X, while they actually fall outside the top five for baby boomers and the Silent/Greatest Generations), there is a clear separation when it comes to how people access the internet. Both laptops and tablets fall outside of the top 10 overall and likely won’t climb in future years as the features and abilities of our cell phones continue to improve.

How do you keep up with your favorite shows? If you’re a millennial or Gen Z, accessing on-demand programming through a streaming service might seem like a no-brainer, but live TV, not streaming TV, is what cracked the top 10. This is one of the most noticeable generational differences; Gen Z and millennials both prefer streaming TV, ranking it in their top 10, but baby boomers and the Silent/Greatest Generations solidly prefer live TV. It looks like America won’t be cutting the cord completely anytime soon.

Cities vs. rural areas

The study, conducted across a nationally representative population sample, finds that population density has a clear impact on the results for certain items.

Not surprisingly, city residents give higher ratings to urban necessities like public transportation, ridesharing and food delivery, while rural residents give higher ratings to their personal vehicles, which is their top-ranked item on the Cooper® Reliability Study.

Mobility and vehicles – cars are still king

While personal vehicle scores are tightly linked to urbanization, vehicles overall continue to dominate American culture. When asked to consider which items are a part of their identities, respondents rank a personal vehicle as number one. Additionally, personal vehicles rank second overall as being a key factor to happiness.

A critical component of Americans’ personal vehicles, the tires on their vehicles, also ranks in the top 10, underscoring the tie between reliable tires and a reliable vehicle.

“The four tires on your vehicle are the only parts to come in contact with and keep you connected to the road,” notes Jessica Egerton, director of brand development at Cooper Tire & Rubber Company. “Reliable tires are a key part of safety on the road and ensuring the daily routines of Americans aren’t interrupted. Anyone who has experienced a flat tire knows the frustration that comes from having your day derailed so abruptly.”

Additionally, personal vehicles finish well ahead of ridesharing among every subgroup by large margins, meaning our personal vehicles will likely remain a dominant staple of American life for decades to come.

Parents vs. those without children in their household

The survey also compared the items that parents rely on the most. The two items that parents rank much higher than those without children in their households – streaming TV and food delivery – speak to their growing reliance on convenience as they balance a number of responsibilities and demands for their time.

Somewhat surprisingly given the ubiquitous nature of the coffee cup in American culture – and taking into account the demanding schedule most parents juggle – coffee was not in the top 10 overall, and not even in the top 10 for parents.


Cooper® conducted an online survey of 2,000 U.S. adults to determine the household items most important to Americans’ day-to-day lives.

After researching existing public data and conducting a preliminary study, Cooper® created a list of 28 household items to be tested in the Cooper® Reliability Study.

The survey was weighted by age, gender, race, region, educational status and income to ensure a demographically representative sample.