DEARBORN — The Millennials are old news. Now it’s time for the spotlight to shine on Generation Z.
There’s no exact definition of when Generation Z started, but most analysts put their birth date somewhere between 2000 and 2005. Thus, the oldest Gen Z members are now just entering high school — but Ford Motor Co.’s latest trend report suggests they’re already key players in today’s technology-driven culture.
The report says Gen Z is digitally savvy, socially conscious, motivated to buck conventions and set new standards, to reject the stigma of failure, and to embrace new forms of mobility that enable more freedom and creativity.
“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,” said Sheryl Connelly, Ford global consumer trend 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.”
The insights gathered 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.
Despite looming issues such as climate change, privacy threats, epidemic disease and geopolitical strife, the report finds optimism in the air. Against this backdrop, “Looking Further with Ford 2015” finds these trends:
* Make Way for Gen Z: With considerable pressure and high expectations, Gen Z’s mantra is simple: “Good things come to those who act.”
* 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.
* 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.
* 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.
* 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 trumpets access over ownership.
* 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.
* 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.
* 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.
* 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.
* 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.