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Ford survey looks at drivers of consumer behavioral trends

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 percent of adults would opt for the self-driving car.

That insight is one of many revealed in the recently released “2019 Looking Further with Ford Trend Report,” which takes a look into the drivers of behavioral change, specifically uncovering the dynamic relationships consumers have with the shifting landscape of technology.

Change is not always easy – particularly when it is driven by forces outside of one’s control.  In a global survey of 14 countries, Ford’s research revealed that 87 percent of adults believe technology is the biggest driver of change.

And while 79 percent 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.

“Individually and collectively, these behavioral 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,” she said.

“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,” she added.

Here are a few key insights from the report:

  • Almost half of people around the world believe that fear drives change and seven in 10 say that they are energized by change;
  • 87 percent agree that technology is the biggest driver of today’s change and almost 8 in 10 citizens believe that technology is a force for good;
  • 45 percent 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 behavior around the globe are expected to influence consumers and corporations in 2019 and beyond.

Here are the seven trends for 2019 outlined in the study:

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

Digital Detox – Despite being tethered to electronic 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.

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.

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.

Life’s Work – How people 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.

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

Easy Street – 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. In the survey, Ford confirmed it believes that self-driving vehicles will reduce society’s pain points and expand access to transportation and goods delivery.

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This story was written by our staff based on a press release.

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