Cruise Control: The Quest for Ultimate Control

Man using Apple watch to track and plan day

Consumers crave the feeling of control over their numerous responsibilities, and technology creates new ways that we can manage our lives, from fitness goals and meal planning to family finances. The researchers at global consumer analytics and trend agency Foresight Factory call this trend Cruise Control – where control is automated by helpful third parties.

The need to appear “in control” is a societal pressure felt by today’s consumers. On average, 57 percent of global consumers say that they try to appear in control of their life at all times.1  Countries where this is felt most strongly include the U.S. (71 percent); Indonesia (70 percent); and Australia, Ireland, and the U.K. (67 percent). In most regions, weekly gamblers and lottery players are only slightly more likely to feel this pressure than non-players. However, in some countries, including China and Mexico, the amount of regular gamblers and lottery players who reported feeling this pressure increased significantly over non-players and non-gamblers. Therefore, appealing to this consumer desire holds broad appeal and is a strong approach for attracting new players, while also appealing to consumers who already play.

Reliance on technology – as demonstrated by the rise of smartphone-dependent consumers – fuels this trend, as personal devices allow constant access to efficiency-enhancing data. Foresight Factory’s Canadian Trendspotter comments on her use of apps to achieve optimization and control: “I do not use many apps but I do use a few to help maintain control. I like to use a transit app which lets me know when the next bus will arrive so I can efficiently plan my travel routes and avoid wasting time at the bus stop. I also use Facebook messenger to stay connected with friends across media platforms. I use the Apple Health app, which came ready installed on my iPhone. I find this is helpful to monitor my activity levels.”

In the future, Cruise Control will not just rely on consumers actively using their devices. Ultimately, brands will help consumers remain in control with little to no personal input, freeing up more leisure time for the fun things in life. Around half of global consumers say that they feel under time pressure in their everyday lives. Understandably, averages rise for full-time workers and consumers with families. Women also feel under more time pressure than men, at 54 percent compared to 45 percent.2  Helping these consumers to regain control over their lives and free-up time holds additional appeal.

Open Banking rules, which came into effect in the U.K. in January 2018 and across Europe in February, signal one of the greatest shake-ups in personal finance in years. The new rules allow consumers to share their personal information with companies other than their bank, opening opportunities to get better deals on mortgages, overdrafts, and comparing insurance or broadband deals. Companies can better assist consumers if they know what they are spending, because they’ll be able to analyze the data and guide consumers to better deals or better ways to use their money. The U.K. mobile telephone network Giffgaff has launched Giffgaff Gameplan, which will use the new Open Banking rules to create a complete budgeting service. This will combine an unbiased overview of credit cards, insurance policies and energy providers. Rather than consumers trying to analyze all of their spend data themselves, budgeting services like this will set goals and help consumers to achieve them.

Lottery play and win data could be added to budgeting tools. This will help players to see their play in relation to their other expenses and exactly how much they are spending and winning. Tools could even show the impact that winning different jackpot amounts would have on their financial status. Aggregator apps could also use multiple data streams to show the player how lottery draws and wins fit in with their other spending.

Smartphones are currently the most important device for Cruise Control customers, but Foresight Factory anticipates that the rise of connected home will shift emphasis towards home assistants and voice commands in private settings.

Source: Foresight Factory │ Base: 392-3433 online respondents per country aged 16-64 [Indonesia 16-54], 2017 August
2 Source: FF Online Research │ Base: 1000-5000 online respondents per country aged 16-64 (Indonesia & S. Africa 16-54), 2016 February


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