Ford's 2021 trend reports show interesting consumer behaviour

Ford trends
Ford trends

• The ninth annual 'Looking Further' with Ford Trends Report was published. It explores how consumers are adapting to life during a pandemic. 

• The reports shows that 69% of adults polled globally say "they feel overwhelmed" by the changes taking place in the world. 

• The report highlights the coping mechanisms and resilience that are on display worldwide.

• The blobal survey across 14 countries shows how families and individuals are rewriting the rules – in the workplace, in their family life and in their social connections. 


The Ford Motor Company's annual trends report offers interesting insight into how people across the globe differ in consumer behaviour. 

This year's report focuses on how consumers adapted to a global pandemic and lockdowns in their countries. It gives Ford a glimpse of what it needs to understand patterns of consumers. 

It also looks at hopes and dreams of people and in particular how different generations handled the coronavirus pandemic, working from home and trends towards online shopping. 

2021 Ford Trends report
2021 Ford Trends report

Ninth year running

The last twelve months were nothing we could have expected. Covid-19 has wrought economic, political and emotional chaos, testing the limits of individuals, families, healthcare systems and whole sectors of societies.

However, the ninth annual Looking Further with Ford Trends Report* highlights, the global pandemic also reveals just how resilient people can be in finding ways to cope and adapt.

"As we barrel into 2021 and look forward to a post-pandemic world, it's clear that the changes brought about by Covid-19 have changed us – but to what degree?" said Sheryl Connelly, Ford's global consumer trends and futuring manager.

"Ford and other companies are keenly interested to know what changes will stick long after Covid is in our rearview mirror. And while no one can predict the future, that doesn’t mean we can’t prepare for it," said Connelly.

The global survey of respondents from 14 countries, saw 69% of those say they are overwhelmed by the changes they see taking place in the world. When asked how well they have adapted to the changes during the pandemic, 53% say adapting has been "harder than I imagined," while 47% say it has been "easier than I imagined."

2021 Ford Trends report
2021 Ford Trends report

Younger generations have taken it harder than their older peers: 63% of Gen Zers say adapting has been harder than they imagined, vs. 42% of Boomers who say the same.

The 2021 Ford Trends Report examines these changing patterns in consumer behaviour and attitudes around the globe to help decision makers understand how these shifts may influence our world in 2021 and beyond.

2021 Ford Trends report
2021 Ford Trends report

Other trends highlighted in the report include:

Pressure Points: Worldwide, anxiety is high -- fuelled by fears of contracting Covid-19 and concerns about the pandemic's impact on communities, employment, education and more. 63% of adults globally say they feel more stressed than they did a year ago, and 4 in 5 say they should take better care of their emotional well-being.

Peope are aware of the implications of the pandemic on mental health and are finding innovative ways to cope and connect.

Time to Escape: "What day is it?" has become a common refrain as the demarcations between work and life disappear. To beat back the monotony of the pandemic and the confines of home, consumers are looking for new ways to escape – and many are seeking refuge in their vehicles.

More than one in four adults globally who own a vehicle say they use their vehicle to relax. The data shows that close to one out of every five persons they use their vehicle to find privacy. And 17% say they use it as a place to work, according to the report. 

2021 Ford Trends report
2021 Ford Trends report

Loneliness is pervasive across the globe: Due to governments implementing lockdowns, many people spent a lot of time alone.

The pandemic has put a spotlight on consumer's need for companionship and reshaped their sense of family. The report found that loneliness is pervasive across the globe—one in two people say they feel lonely on a regular basis.

The report shows that younger generations feel this most acutely: Gen Zers are nearly 2x as likely to say they feel lonely on a regular basis as Boomers (64% vs 34%. As a result, many are reconsidering where they live, moving closer to family, and finding companionship in new ways – online and off.

What do brands stand for? Worldwide, gaps in inequality and inequity loom large – particularly as the pandemic has had a disproportionate impact on low-income communities, ethnic minorities and women. As consumers become more aware of the divide, brands are stepping up as activists and entrepreneurs.

The report showed that 76% of adults globally say they expect brands to take a stand on social issues – and 75% say they think brands today are trying to do the right thing.

We're online anyway, so we might as well shop: Amid the pandemic, how we buy – and what we seek to buy – has transformed. Companies big and small are adapting at blazing speed – and many consumers are embracing and enjoying the new normal.

The report illustrated that 75% of adults globally  say they appreciate the ways in which companies have improved the shopping experience since the pandemic began – and 41% say they don’t want to go back to the way they shopped before the pandemic.

2021 Ford Trends report
2021 Ford Trends report

Move to personal transportation: The pandemic may have you feeling stuck, but we are not at a standstill – personal transportation is flourishing, according to the report. Bike sales have soared and cities have shut down streets to make space for cyclists. Car sales have boomed as people seek security in knowing they can control their environment.

Smart city planning is accelerating the way for fully implemented autonomous driving. 67% of adults globally say they are "hopeful about the future of autonomous vehicles," and 68% of parents say they’d rather see their children ride in a self-driving car than with a stranger.

Sustaining Sustainability: In the early days of the pandemic, air quality emerged as a possible silver lining to the worldwide lockdown, but that optimism quickly diminished as the world retreated to plastics and other disposables – making it clear that being sustainable and staying sustainable are not always in lockstep.

Younger generations are particularly concerned: 46% of Gen-Z-ers globally say the pandemic has made us more wasteful – and 47% say that long-term, the pandemic will have a negative impact on the environment.

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