Latest annual Looking Further with Ford Trends Report released

January 16, 2019 | 18:13
The latest annual Looking Further with Ford Trends Report reveals how trends are influencing behavioural change across key areas of people’s lives.
latest annual looking further with ford trends report released
The latest Ford Trends Report shows how technology has a profound impact on people's life

The report features global trends to understand how consumers are changing and how companies must respond.

Self-driving cars are a hot topic today, but if you had to choose would you rather your children ride in an autonomous vehicle or drive with a stranger? You may be surprised to learn that 67 per cent of adults would opt for the self-driving car.

That insight is one of many revealed in the 2019 Looking Further with Ford Trend Report, released yesterday. The report takes a deep look into the drivers of behavioural change, specifically uncovering the dynamic relationships consumers have with the shifting landscape of technology.

In its global survey of 14 countries, Ford’s research revealed that 87 per cent of adults believe technology is the biggest driver of change.

While 79 per cent of adults maintain that technology is a force for good, there are large segments of the population that have significant concerns. Some are afraid of artificial intelligence. Others fear the impact of technology on our emotional wellbeing.

In its global survey of 14 countries, Ford’s research revealed that 87 per cent of adults believe technology is the biggest driver of change.

“Individually and collectively, these behavioural changes can take us from feeling helpless to feeling empowered and unleash a world of wonder, hope, and progress,” said Sheryl Connelly, Ford global consumer trends and futuring manager.

“At Ford, we are deeply focused on human-centric design and are committed to finding mobility solutions that help improve the lives of consumers and their communities.

“In the context of change, we have to protect what we consider most valuable – having a trusted relationship with our customers. So we are always deliberate and thoughtful about how we navigate change,” Connelly added.

Here are a few key insights from Ford’s 7th annual Trends Report:

* Almost half of the people around the world believe that fear drives change and seven in 10 say that they are energised by change;

* 87 per cent agree that technology is the biggest driver of today’s change and almost eight in 10 citizens believe that technology is a force for good;

* 45 per cent of adults globally reported that they envy people who can disconnect from their devices;

* Seven out of 10 consumers agreed that we should have a mandatory timeout from our devices;

* Ford’s Trend Report serves as a blueprint for understanding how key patterns of consumer behaviour around the globe are expected to influence consumers and corporations in 2019 and beyond.

Here are the seven trends for 2019:

The Tech Divide – Technology has a profound impact on how we connect with and see the world – more than ever before. Yet, there is an underlying tension between those who have access and believe it is a force for good and those who do not have access.

At Ford, technology is used to make mobility smarter, safer, and more convenient for people around the world. The company is deliberate about the technology used, and educating consumers on how to use technology smartly, thoughtfully, and in ways that add value to their lives.

In some cities, the company leverages the work of the City Solutions team which helps residents move more freely.

Digital Detox – Despite being tethered to our devices, trends show that many are increasingly aware of – and alarmed by – their device dependency and seeking ways to hold themselves accountable for the time they spend online.

Ford has studied the effects of high-performance race-car driving on the brain. The company is applying data uncovered in its research of these “buzz moments” – the thrills that play a vital role in overall wellness – to better understand how to improve drivers’ experience and mind-set behind the wheel.

Reclaiming Control – In a world where control feels so out of grasp for many, consumers are looking for ways to reclaim agency over their lives where self-improvement is paramount.

As part of Ford’s human-centred design process, empathy research is conducted to understand people’s needs and habits – including university professors, tri-athletes, and everyday laymen.

The company uses this research to develop tools and vehicles, such as Ford Co-Pilot 360, which are designed to help consumers feel more in control and less stressed when on the road.

Many Faces of Me – With social media playing such a large part in consumers’ lives, today many portray various personas – from who they are in real life to how they depict themselves online – which ultimately impacts what they buy, wear, and drive, as well as their technology choices.

Ford understands that a vehicle is a reflection of a driver’s sense of self, and as such, the vehicles are designed to speak to an individual’s needs while reinforcing and projecting who they are.

The Ford Mustang allows drivers to personalise their vehicle while continuing to be the best-selling two-door sports car in the world, delivering both performance and personality.

Life’s Work – How we perceive work has changed with many global citizens now working to live, not living to work. Companies are responding in kind: with benefits, sabbaticals, and extended leave being offered, as well as opportunities for mental enrichment and more.

Ford believes that talent is strengthened when people are encouraged to experience the world around them and give back to the community.

The company’s 30 under 30 programme allows young employees to take paid time away from their jobs to learn about philanthropic organisations and strategise ways to connect them to future donors and volunteers, helping them to make an impact on their communities.

Eco-Momentum – While changing lifelong habits can be hard, consumers overwhelmingly agree that environmental progress will depend on changes in human behaviour and many look for guidance on how and where to improve their environmental footprint.

Sustainable practices are critical to the health of the environment and to Ford’s success. The company is constantly seeking out cutting-edge practices on the use of sustainable and repurposed materials.

The company continually explores ways to push the boundaries of sustainability – with plans to roll out 16 fully electric vehicles by the end of 2022, including a Mustang-inspired fully electric vehicle.

Easy Street – The mobility journey isn’t as simple as going from point A to B: it’s about what we do with our time along the way. Americans spend more time in their cars than they receive vacation time, so the ability to get things done while on the road could change the commute experience as we know it.

Ford believes that self-driving vehicles will reduce society’s pain points and expand access to transportation and goods delivery.

The company is working with companies to understand how goods delivery through the use of self-driving vehicles can be improved.

An example of this is a pilot programme Ford is conducting with Walmart and Postmates, exploring how self-driving vehicles can complement Walmart’s home delivery offerings.

“As new technology seeps into more areas of our lives and impacts our behaviour, Ford engineers and designers believe our transportation choices should make everyday life easier, not more cluttered,” said Connelly. “Ford uses human-centred design and intuitive technology packages to empower humans to make smart decisions for ourselves – with the goal to unleash a world of wonder, hope, and progress.”

By Anh Duc

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