Ford’s Study Sees ‘Swiss Army Life’ As Consumer Ethos. People are seeking products that will last and will continue to be useful because they are designed to be highly adaptable and flexible, addressing what the report calls the “Swiss Army Life.” The study finds that 76% of adults in the U.S intend to keep a car at least 10 years. The average used to be around four.

Sheryl Connelly, Ford’s global head of consumer trends, says, “We think consumerism is moving toward fewer goods with greater quality, versatility and durability.”

She tells Karl Greenberg that the versatility and diversity of crossovers is as much of a driver for their popularity as cheap gas prices.

“We look at the popularity of utility vehicles among millennials; they expect to have that vehicle through several life stages, and want to invest wisely.”

“How about time poverty, which has huge implications for the auto business,” Greenberg writes in Marketing:automotive. “The study from Ford says nearly half of adults under 35 feel compelled to check their work email in off hours.  And 48% of Americans say staying on top of social media is starting to feel like a full-time job.”

“The average American spends 4.7 hours on their smart phone, to the extent that there is, evidently, a disease called Text Neck,” Greenberg reports.

“There is growing resentment about it,” Connelly says. “People under 35 feel more compelled to check in with work than over 45s, and most people resent having to check in after hours and on weekends.”

“Autonomous cars will at least free up some of that time. And Ford’s study says 84% of Indians, 78% of Chinese, and only 40% of Americans said they can see themselves buying such a vehicle.”

“Ford’s trend study also points to shifting expectations at retail, with 48% of U.S. consumers saying they will buy more from a retailer who personalizes the shopping experience. Ford says it is using beacon technology at dealerships to do something similar, where consumers near vehicles get educational pop up notifications on product features (if they download the shopping app.)”

“Ford has also, for years, been vocal about its use of non-plastic and bio-based materials in cars for years. That doesn’t sell cars, but the study did find that 60% of adults under 35 said they feel guilty about the amount of waste they generate, and 62% of Americans say they favor products that are made from recycled content. Never underestimate the power of guilt.”

According to AudienceSCAN, 18.4% of adults plan to buy new cars or trucks in the next 12 months. These trends are helpful to know better what new vehicle shoppers are really looking for. Try focusing your ads on the “Swiss Army” features cars provide for all your dealers – not just your Ford dealers. Try emphasizing the longevity of a new truck in TV spots, because 45.6% of New Car/Truck Shoppers took action after seeing a commercial in the past month. Also feature the connectivity benefits of models in newspaper ads, because 35.4% took action after reading an ad there.

AudienceSCAN data is available as part of a subscription to AdMall for Agencies. Media companies can access AudienceSCAN data through the Audience Intelligence Reports in AdMall.