THE issue of loneliness is the key trend picked out by Ford in its latest Trends Report.
The 8th annual report – 2020 Looking Further with Ford Trends Report – says that adults feel increasingly isolated, despite being surrounded by various means of connectivity.
The feeling of loneliness also impacts on both physical and mental health.
The report questions how – and where – can brands find meaningful ways to help people connect and combat this growing health crisis of loneliness.
Other trends highlighted by Ford included the issue of trust. In the UK, 79% of respondents agreed with the statement “In recent years, it has become harder to trust what companies say and do.”
The report said that while visible demonstrations of trust were key – such as build quality – consumers were becoming much more interested in the unseen elements, such as how and where products were manufactured and under what conditions.
The report says:
“Consumers want to believe that companies are doing the right thing — but they need to see behind the curtain to believe it.”
On the subject of sustainability consumers are aware of the issues but are not always willing to take sustainable steps if they are too difficult. Furthermore, 40% of men and 52% of women said they did not fully understand the benefits of electric vehicles, while 36% of men and 44% of women said they were not interested in electric vehicles.
Sheryl Connelly, Ford’s global consumer trends and futuring manager, commented:
“The rate of change globally has been on the rise – and without the trust in the institutions, brands and peers to rely on, a majority of people are feeling extremely overwhelmed.
“Consumers want to believe that companies are doing the right thing, but companies also need to give them a clear reason to do so. At Ford, we remain deeply focused on improving the lives of consumers and their communities, so we can continue to have a trusted relationship that moves us forward together.”
Ford Trend Report – Key Findings
All Alone: Loneliness has become an epidemic of global proportions. Loneliness is particularly prevalent among young people – 62% of Gen Zers globally agree with the statement “I feel lonely on a regular basis” and 50% agree “I often feel lonely when I’m around other people.”
Below the Surface: There’s growing interest in the unseen elements of building consumer trust. Consumers want to believe that companies are doing the right thing but they need to see behind the curtain to believe it. 67% of adults globally agree that “Once a brand loses my trust, there is no getting it back.”
Call to Stand: People are asking brands to move from a product-based mindset to a values-based mindset – although it doesn’t always impact their decision to buy: 59% of adults globally say they care more about purchase convenience than brand values.
Great Expectations: As internet commerce grows, so do expectations for brands. 67% of adults globally agree with the statement “I have higher expectations for brands than I did in the past.”
The Green Paradox: Worldwide, consumers are increasingly worried about climate change. Yet, that worry isn’t translating into urgency: 64% of people who aren’t changing their behaviour to help fight climate change say they think they can’t make a difference.
Identity Matters: Conversations and language around identity are evolving — more specifically, understanding that identities are built from both visible attributes and invisible ones, like sexual identity, ancestry, religion and more. Only 67% of adults globally say “I understand the concept of gender fluidity.”
The Second Time Around: New upcycle companies around the globe have modernised resale shopping. The so-called re-commerce movement is on the rise for sophisticated and market-savvy shoppers, breathing new life into previously owned fashion pieces, appliances, electronics, household items and other goods — and more and more consumers are opting in. 60% of adults globally agree “I am more open to buying used goods than I was five years ago.”
The 2020 Looking Further with Ford Trends Report was carried out over 14 countries across the Americas, Asia, Europe and the Middle East. It was conducted by Harris insights & Analytics between November 8-16, 2019.