Generation Z to Lead Consumer Trends for 2015


Move over, millennials. A new trend report released today by Ford Motor Co. says Generation Z, those born after 1993, will be leading the way to shaping the consumer culture in 2015 — and beyond.

“While demographics are invariably a factor in futuring work, what’s driving our report for 2015 is this emerging Generation Z consumer, who is already inspiring attitudes and behaviors in consumers of all ages,” says Sheryl Connelly, Ford global consumer trends and futuring manager. “We saw similar traits with millennials, but Gen Z consumers —being much more connected and aware of the options available to them — are the global go-getters who have a link to each of our 10 micro-trends for 2015.”

These micro-trends include the growing use of wearable gadgets and mobile apps in lieu of traditional wallets and money clips. As of June 2013, there were more than 61 million active mobile money accounts worldwide. According to Ford’s report, that number is expected to jump to 450 million by 2017.

The report also found “an emerging a la carte mentality that trumpets access over ownership.” As a result, more companies and platforms now allow consumers to try goods without purchasing the actual product. In 2013, for instance, 37 percent of U.S. adults ages 18 to 25 said they chose to rent a product rather than purchase it.

Connelly says these types of insights guide Ford designers and engineers in developing future Ford products, as well as Ford marketers on what to anticipate in terms of the customer shopping and ownership experience of emerging generations.

“A rich understanding of our customers’ ever-evolving needs, priorities, and desires — both today and tomorrow — is key to our everyday business and global product development strategies,” Connelly says. “These trends and insights help us at Ford in our role as an innovator to create products that not only exceed expectations, but push the boundaries of imagination.”

The 10 trends for 2015 and beyond include:

  1. Make Way for Gen Z: With considerable pressure and high expectations, Gen Z’s mantra is simple: “Good things come to those who act.”
  2. Rally for Renegades and Rebels: Society has always loved risk takers, but the marketplace has never been more receptive to those who push boundaries and break molds.
  3. Flaunting Failure: The stigma of failure is quickly eroding; in an era of constant change, the only true failure is a failure to try, to improve, to evolve.
  4. Carryless Movement: Today’s consumers don’t want to carry things and, increasingly, don’t need to. New technologies such as wearable gadgets and smartphone apps are transforming the mechanics of how consumers pay for goods and services, how and where marketers reach their customers, and who people trust with their most valuable information.
  5. No Strings Attached: In a world where innovation moves so rapidly, no one wants to be left behind with a product that has become outdated or obsolete. The result is an emerging a la carte mentality that beats access over ownership.
  6. Expanding Next of Kin: As traditional families and communities become less the norm, the concept of family is adapting, expanding, and evolving in a most personal fashion.
  7. Give and Take of Privacy: Privacy has become a delicate balancing act, and there is a trade-off between information consumers are willing to share and the benefits they receive in exchange.
  8. Elusive Health: A decentralized effort to inform consumers about healthier lifestyle habits has led to confusion and a global population getting fatter and sicker. Consumers need a clear signal amid the noise to translate the information into action.
  9. Escape Artist: In today’s 24/7 culture, the desire to get away mentally and physically remains compelling. People are increasingly seeking out immersive adventures, elevating escapism to a fine art.
  10. Many Faces of Mobility: In an age of constant innovation, mobility is outpacing the definition of the word as the concepts of transportation and communication converge.

To read the full report, click here.