Each year, Ford Motor Company studies social trends in the US and abroad to give them a glimpse of how consumers are changing, and what Ford can do better to address their desires. Some of the information – how consumers feel about artificial intelligence and self-driving vehicles, for instance – is rather directly related to Ford’s position as the world’s No. 5 automaker by volume, while other bits of data – such as people’s feelings toward widening inequality – isn’t quite so obviously helpful.
Ford published its sixth annual Trends Report today, revealing that much of the world is in a time of flux: from political and cultural upheavals around the globe, to the surge in activism and focus on mental well-being.
“We’re clearly living in interesting times,” says Ford Global Consumer Trends and Futuring Manager Sheryl Connelly. “Shifting global priorities, rampant political upheaval, and a spotlight on social inequity have upended the status quo and left many disoriented. But out of the chaos and conflict, a new energy and creativity is motivating people like never before. From compassion and guilt to heightened activism, most adults believe their actions have the power to influence positive change.”
Among the many trends identified and studied by Ford, one of the most emblematic of our time is the disruptive political upheavals happening worldwide, and the polarized way that consumers are responding to them. According to Ford, people feel overwhelmed by the turbulence and the divisiveness it’s caused, and are seeking innovative ways to cope.
Another interesting trend: the worldwide focus on inequality. Ford says that activists and entrepreneurs around the globe are looking for solutions to problems of inequality, including wage gaps, quality education, productive employment, and affordable access to water, food, shelter, healthcare, transportation, and other necessities.
You can read the full Ford 2018 Trends Report right here.