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Here are the top 10 consumer trends for 2016

There's a renewed sense of ingenuity

Todd Rabourn //January 29, 2016//

Here are the top 10 consumer trends for 2016

There's a renewed sense of ingenuity

Todd Rabourn //January 29, 2016//

Every year, Ford Motor Co. publishes a consumer trend report that looks at 10 key micro-trends across all industries.

For 2016, the trend report reveals new consumer insights that signals a renewed sense of inspiration and ingenuity, as consumers are driven more than ever to make the world a better place. Considering the challenges of the past decade – the past year, specifically – consumers are now relying even more on themselves and are determined to shape how they will communicate, work and even travel in the future.

Here’s a look at the 10 trends that are expected to shape global consumer climate across all industries – not just automotive – for 2016.

1. Embracing Heroes

Where goodwill is faltering among established leadership, it’s gaining with communities and individuals who are rethinking what it means to be a good citizen, neighbor and person. Everyday heroes are stepping up to the plate, and they’re inspiring others to do the same.

  • Consumers are eager to share good news – 73 percent of adults globally agree that they are more likely to share positive news stories on social media

2. Swiss Army Life

A rising emphasis on self-reliance has created an ethos of purposefulness and utility. Better living today is not about having more things – it’s about living smarter by pushing to get greater use out of fewer things.

  • 75 percent of U.S. adults under the age of 35 say they’re willing to pay more for products that are more versatile.
  • 76 percent of U.S. adults agree that they intend to keep their car for at least 10 years – highlighting the need for vehicles to provide utility across life stages.

3. Time Poverty

“So much to do, so little time” has always been one of life’s conundrums. Yet with greater connectivity, we’re increasingly on call, and time proves more elusive than ever.

  • The average American spends 4.7 hours per day on his/her mobile phone and 48 percent of U.S. adults say that staying on top of social media is starting to feel like a full time job.
  • 85 percent of U.S. adults agree that the expected response time for electronic communications is getting shorter and shorter. Work is also getting increasingly demanding – 50 percent of U.S. adults under the age of 35 feel compelled to check their work email during their off hours.

4. The EZ Life, Brought to You by the Connected Concierge

With growing support from artificial intelligence, the rise of full-service technology allows for outsourcing more responsibilities to innovative consumer features that learn and adapt to our needs – expanding our sense of hope and possibilities for better living.

  • 48 percent of U.S. adults under 35 agree that they could see themselves buying a self-driving car in the future.
  • 49 percent of U.S. adults under 35 believe that the benefits of autonomous machines (drones/artificial intelligence/self-driving cars) will outweigh the risks.

5. Mindful Goes Mainstream

Two-thirds of consumers across the globe say mindfulness is not a fad. As our lives become increasingly complicated and demanding, the solution for many is to be less mind-full and more mindful – giving ourselves time and space to breathe, reflect and regroup.

  • 79 percent of U.S. adults say mindfulness is not just a fad, and 58 percent say they make a conscious effort to disconnect from their devices.

6. In Awe of Aging

As people live longer, healthier lives, the notion of aging is being redefined. Shifts in health care, nutrition and medical science are driving today’s seniors to defy tradition and reject long-held stereotypes of what it means to be elderly.

  • By 2050, more than 2 billion people in the world will be over the age of 60 – more than double the number today.
  • Globally, 55 percent of adults agree that society is less age-focused today. In the U.S., 76 percent of adults believe there are things they can do to proactively slow down the effects of aging.

7. Fit for Misfits

Today, one size fits nobody, and connections between mainstream brands and consumers are taking a back seat to more unique, personalized and meaningful ties.

  • Globally, 69 percent of adults agree that contrarian ideas are celebrated as critical to shaping great ideas, while 54 percent of adults under the age of 35 agree that standing out is more important than fitting in (vs. 42 percent of those 35+ who agree).
  • Authentic “Me” – in the U.S., 51 percent of U.S. adults under the age of 35 agree that people today are more inclined to be who they really are, rather than what they think society wants them to be.

8. Waste Not, Want Not

In a high-consumption society, innovators are getting creative with extracting value from stuff nobody wants. This sustainability trend promises to push the boundaries of people’s imagination and personal comfort. In the U.S. this is a particularly Millennial ethos. Of U.S. adults under the age of 35:

  • 60 percent say they feel guilty about the amount of waste they generate.
  • 88 percent believe that society has an obligation to reuse and reduce the amount of trash it creates.
  • 66 percent say they tend to favor products that have are made from recyclable content versus those that aren’t.

9. Buying Into the Flexible Economy

Once exclusively the turf of creatives, freelancing is becoming increasingly normalized – and it’s upending traditional contractual commitments.

  • Millennial Freelancers – roughly half of global freelancers are between ages 26 and 35

10. Retail Revolution

Retail is no longer simply about product, it’s about experience; retailers are finding new ways to inspire meaningful connections with consumers.

  • Shopping on the Go: By 2017, roughly 50 percent of in-store transactions will be completed via mobile devices.
  • 48 percent of U.S. consumers say they will buy more from a retailer that personalized their shopping experience.