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Ford 2018 Trends Report Underscores How Consumers and Companies March Ahead in Uncertain, Interesting Times

Sunday, December 10, 2017/ Editor -  

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  • 2018 Looking Further with Ford Trends Report shines light on global shift toward activism, compassion and self-expression as consumers grapple with cultural and societal changes around the world
  • 54 percent of adults globally agree they feel more stressed than they did a year ago, and Millennials feel this even more strongly – 65 percent of 18- to 29-year-olds agree
  • Sixth-annual report shows that while two-thirds of adults globally are overwhelmed by changes taking place around them, three-quarters of adults believe they can influence positive change; nearly half expect brands to take a stand on political issues
Dubai, UAE, December 10, 2017:  People worldwide feel increasingly polarised by cultural and societal changes. More than 60 percent of adults globally say they feel overwhelmed by unrest in the world. 
 
To better understand these and other consumer realities, the 2018 Looking Further with Ford Trends Report examines not only the issues dividing the world, but also the coping mechanisms born as a result – from compassion and guilt to heightened activism. According to the sixth-annual study, 76 percent of adults globally say they believe their actions can influence positive change.
 
“There’s no doubt we’re living in interesting times,” said Sheryl Connelly, Ford global consumer trends and futuring manager. “Shifting global priorities, rampant political upheaval, and a spotlight on social inequity have upended the status quo and left many feeling disoriented. But out of the chaos and conflict, a new energy and creativity is motivating people like never before.”
 
Every year, Ford takes a close look at the trends influencing the world. As both an automotive and mobility company, Ford remains committed to changing the way the world moves – as it has for more than 100 years. 
 
Highlights from the 2018 Trends Report include:
 
  • 68 percent of adults are overwhelmed by suffering in the world today, and 51 percent feel guilty for not doing more to make the world better
  • 81 percent of adults say they are concerned about the widening gap between the rich and the poor
  • 52 percent of 18- to 29-year-old adults say they expect brands to take a stand on political issues
  • 73 percent of adults say they should take better care of their emotional well-being, and 57 percent say they get less sleep each night than they should
  • 39 percent of adults claim they do not mind sharing their personal information with companies, but 60 percent report being frustrated over how much of their personal information has become public
  • 52 percent of adults believe artificial intelligence will do more harm than good, but 61 percent say they are hopeful about the future of autonomous vehicles
Insights Shaping the Times Ahead
 
The annual report from Ford is a blueprint for understanding how certain trends are expected to influence consumers and brands in 2018 and beyond. The collection of 10 trends for 2018 includes:
 
1. The Edge of Reason: Global upheaval is evident in everything from politics to pop culture; and, people are responding to these changes in polarised fashion. As divisiveness grows, open dialogue diminishes and the sense of being overwhelmed intensifies. Consumers are hungry for inventive ways to cope and adapt.
2. The Activist Awakening: Thanks to the culture of polarisation, consumers are being jolted out of complacency. Conventional wisdom and expectations are being toppled as individuals debate the change we need.   
3. Minding the Gap: Worldwide, the spotlight is on inequality. Activists and entrepreneurs are experimenting with new ways to improve access to quality education, increase productive employment, close wage gaps, and provide everyone with affordable access to basic living standards and infrastructure.  
4. The Compassionate Conscience: With an omnipresent news cycle, we are more aware than ever of the challenges consumers face around the world. People are becoming more reflective of their roles in society and more focused on how they can be more engaged.
5. Mending the Mind: Consumers and institutions are realising that you cannot have a healthy body unless you have a healthy mind. As such, mental health and well-being are coming to the forefront as issues that individuals, governments and companies need to address.
6. Retail Therapy: Many consumers are on the endless hunt for something new and different – seeking material goods or experiences that bring happiness. As time-saving services proliferate, consumers find that they can buy the one thing that was never for sale – time.
7. Helplessly Exposed: Big Data claims to be able to interpret our behaviours, which in theory should help consumers. But with Big Data may come big bias. And once personal information is relinquished, all consumers can do is hope companies use it responsibly.   
8. Technology’s Tipping Point: Virtual reality, artificial intelligence and autonomous technology – long far-fetched notions – are here and already being embedded into our daily lives. Worldwide, humans are wondering what the onslaught of intelligent technology will mean for society, and if it will have a more positive impact than many forecast.
9. Singled Out: Are marriage and parenthood still the desired norms for happy living? Couples today are rethinking commitment and fulfillment, and have more choices available to them and longer life spans to consider.  
10. Big Plans for Big Cities: By 2050, nearly 75 percent of the world’s population is expected to live in urban areas. To capitalise on the full potential of cities – to maintain them as happy and healthy places in which to live – we must smartly plan for transportation, employment, housing, wellness and an infrastructure that can accommodate a booming population.
 
Wave of the Future
 
For more than 100 years, Ford has been driven by the belief that freedom of movement is at the heart of human progress. Today, it drives the company’s commitment to become the world’s most trusted mobility company. 
 
In order for growing cities to remain sustainable, society must be mindful of variables such as transportation needs, and must understand how to best accommodate those needs. The annual Trends Report helps anticipate and address this issue by providing a more thorough understanding of consumers’ concerns, anxieties, hopes, ambitions and coping mechanisms.
 
In a world of uncertainty and impatience, Ford remains focused on providing mobility solutions that make sense in changing times. As consumer expectations change, Ford continues its work toward designing and developing smart vehicles that meet the new landscape.
 
“In today’s fast-moving world, there is less patience for the frivolous, and more emphasis on what’s meaningful and impactful,” Connelly said. “This ethos is reflected in the work we do at Ford, where we are relentlessly focused on providing trustworthy mobility solutions that make consumers’ lives better.”

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