Ford report takes look at generation Z

Michael Martinez
The Detroit News

Ford Motor Co.'s 2015 trends report found that the car-buyers of tomorrow are a nontraditional, rebellious and socially conscious bunch.

The Dearborn automaker took a close look at generation Z — generally regarded as those born after 1993 — and on Monday published their responses to questions ranging from climate change and job searches to eating habits and marriage. Ford has put out a trend report for the past three years in an attempt to better tailor products and service to future customers.

"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," Sheryl Connelly, Ford's global consumer trend and futuring manager, said in a statement.

Ford says generation Z'ers will make up about 20 percent of the global population and discovered that they're very tech-savvy and more aware of options available to them — whether it's choosing a place to get coffee or what new car to buy.

"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 said. "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."

Here are some of the report's most interesting findings:

■52 percent of generation Z'ers use YouTube or social media for typical research assignments.

■ 40 percent of U.S. adults under the age of 35 agree that changing your last name when you get married is old-fashioned.

■Among U.S. and U.K. consumers, 26 percent of millennials — those born in the early 1980s through the early 1990s — made a payment using a mobile app in the last year. Among adults ages 35 and older, only 7 percent did.

■40 percent of U.S. adults under the age of 35 agree they have trouble making long-term commitments.

■ Compared to millennials, generation Z is 55 percent more likely to want to start a business and hire others, and 54 percent more likely to say they want to have an impact on the world.

■In the U.S., 66 percent of adults agree that experience is more important than education.

■ 41 percent of adults who intend to purchase a luxury vehicle expect it to have keyless entry.

■37 percent of those age 18 to 25 in 2013 in the U.S. said they chose to rent a product rather than purchase it.

■ 76 percent of U.S. adults agree that their definition of family includes good friends who aren't blood relatives.

■ 20 percent of U.S. households fit the conventional definition of a "nuclear family," a decrease from 40 percent in 1970.

■56 percent of millennials say they are willing to share their location with companies in order to receive coupons to nearby businesses. Among adults over the age of 35, 42 percent say they'd be willing to do that.

(313) 222-2401