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« Hyundai Offers Family Flexibility with 2014 Santa Fe and Santa Fe Sport | Main | Super Bowl Advertising Makes You Ask: Which Car Will You Buy Next? »

January 31, 2014

Ford Looks at the Female Frontier and Other Micro-Trends for 2014

“It takes three years to take a vehicle to market,” explained Sheryl Connelly, Global Consumer Trends and Futuring at Ford. ”What most of us don't know is that one of the tools we use to bring it to market is micro-trends.”

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“What’s a micro-trend?” we asked. Connelly explained that they have a shorter life than big trends and serve as a more accurate way of determining how people think, act, feel and …spend.

For instance, did you know that worldwide, the average cell phone user checks their phone 150 times a day? 

How about this? 62% of adults globally agree that, when people react positively to things they share on social media, they feel better about themselves.

These are just a couple of the hundreds of insights that Ford researched to create the 2nd annual edition of 10 Trends for 2014.

You may ask: what does this have to do with cars?  Everything from the way they are designed marketed and priced to (more obviously) the technology.

To follow, five of Ford’s future micro-trends:
1. Female Frontier: On a global basis, women are changing the dialogue around gender roles. With increasing prominence in politics and the work force, women are even changing the rules of marriage and having children. 66% of men and women agree that the world would be a better place if men thought more like women. As Obama said in his recent State of the Union speech, “When women succeed, America succeeds.”

Insights:
Take a look around Ford’s corporate structure and you will find women ruling in areas including; technology, marketing, strategy, design and engineering. Ford understands how important it is to have women behind the building of new vehicles. After all, women are over 85% of the buying decisions for cars in the US.

2. Micro-moments: The ADD of wanting to do it all in less time. Media snacking is the word for packing in as much as we can in 24 hours. From two minutes in the grocery store checkout to five minutes between meetings, downtime is disappearing.

Insights:
Innovations like Kickstarter ( fundraising), Groupons (deals on everything) and Rent the Runway (leasing designer clothes for as little as $20), are changing the business model.
Just six years after launching Ford SYNC, the company has delivered more than 10 million vehicles equipped with the hands-free, voice-activated command system. Among other things, the SYNC system controls mobile phones, digital music players, reads your incoming text messages and can provide audio versions of favorite articles from a host of magazines and newspapers.

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3. Old School: Romanticizing how things used to be, we find comfort and connection in brands, craftsmanship, products and experiences that evoke nostalgia. People are looking back to find meaning. 82% of Americans agree that vintage products have more character than new products.

Insights:
The Ford Mustang hits 50 in 2014!  Since the pony’s reveal in 1964, over 9 million Mustangs have been sold. From the racetrack to movies, music and toys, this popular car has become a noted part of pop culture. The nostalgic Mustang has created such a passionate following that more than 600 Mustang enthusiast clubs exist globally. 

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4. Sustainability Blues: While going green may protect 30% of the earth’s surface, the other 70% is water. The world is starting to pay more attention to water. For example, Levi launched their Water

Insights:
For over a decade, Ford has been committed to decreasing its water footprint by applying water-saving initiatives globally. The company has reduced water usage in everything from cooling towers to parts washing and paint operations, resulting in a 62 percent reduction in global water consumption. This has also saved 10.6 gallons of H2O – that’s enough to fill 16.000 Olympic pools!

5. Fomo/Jomo: The fear of missing out and the joy of missing out: We have unlimited choice of when, where and how we spend our time. Car technologies for connectivity obviously help us stay connected but, truthfully, are we getting too addicted?

Insights:
Phantom vibration: We are so accustomed to waiting for vibration (ring-xiety) that it has become a reality. Nearly 90 percent of college grads in a 2012 US study said they felt phantom vibrations.
Cell phone stacking (yes, piling your mobiles on the table) is becoming a way to help people ensure an environment free of distraction when they socialize at bars and restaurants. The gig—the first person to pick up their phone picks up the tab for the table!

To keep up with Ford’s Trends on twitter visit #fordtrends

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