Consumers looking forward with hopefulness, says Ford trend report

By RELAXNEWS | 29 December 2015

DETROIT: Ford's annual global trends report shows that the year ahead is one brimming with a renewed optimism and one focused on responsibility, sustainability and individualism.

The "Looking Further With Ford" report surveys the opinions, thoughts and feelings of consumers in eight countries - the US, China, Germany, Australia, Brazil, India, the UK and Spain - for the insights that will shape not just automotive, but all future brand thinking.

Perhaps the most startling finding, considering that almost two thirds of adults believe that the world is worse than it was when they were younger, is its positivity. "In our four years of researching and compiling consumer trends, never have we seen optimism, resilience and self-reliance figure so prominently," said Sheryl Connelly, Ford global trend and futuring manager, of the results, published Monday.

Consumers around the world are looking to their work, families, or their communities for role models and inspiration and are using social media to promote the positive and banish the negative. Almost three quarters of adults said they're more likely to share feel-good news on social networks.


But technology is also taking its toll on peoples' lives. Respondents feel that keeping on top of their social networking activities is a full-time job, and 49percent of adults under the age of 35 say that they feel obliged to continue checking work emails after hours.

This feeling explains the positivity around technologies such as artificial intelligence and autonomous cars. Almost two thirds of those under 35 said they can already imagine how they'd spend their free time behind the wheel of a self-driving car, and the US, Australia and the UK were the only countries surveyed where the majority of adults said they couldn't imagine themselves buying a self-driving car in the future.

Consumers are also moving towards sustainability and material responsibility. The majority of those polled favor products made from recyclable content, and there's a move towards owning fewer possessions that serve a host of uses. Even in the US, 76percent of adults said that when they buy a car now, they intend to keep it for 10 years.

However, one type of car won't suit every driver - 54 percent of Millennials and 42 percent of adults aged 35+ believe standing out is more important than fitting in. This individual style is driving people away from established brands and towards those that offer more meaningful or personalised products or services - an experience rather than just a product or service.