New Research: 2017 Auto Shopper Trends

According to Autotrader, 71% of purchase decisions are made prior to even visiting the dealership. As the auto buying process evolves, from taking place entirely at the dealership to a full-scale digital and in-person journey across multiple devices and touch points, automakers must rethink the way they approach the modern auto shopper.

Auto marketers have long focused on data points like budget and primary purchase reason as the key factors that bring shoppers into dealerships.

But which factors bring a fresh out-of-college Millennial driver to the dealership versus a middle-aged businessman span more than just these two data points.

In an era where personalized marketing has become the golden standard for advertisers, automakers need to take a deeper look at just who their shoppers are.

That’s the idea behind Viant’s new report, The Anatomy of an Auto Shopper.

Using the Viant Advertising Cloud’s Identity Management Platform (IMP) and partnerships with leading data partners in the auto, retail, and TV industries, we analyzed the shopping habits of roughly 18 million U.S. vehicle owners across the four biggest driver segments: luxury car drivers, non-luxury car drivers, utility (CUV/SUV) drivers, and truck drivers. Additionally, we used data from Viant’s original survey with Research Now as well our parent company, Time Inc.’s, survey with Marketing Evolution.

Take a look at some of the key findings and insights from the report:

TV Consumption Habits

To form an accurate picture of where brands can best reach their audiences over television, we examined a variety of drivers’ viewing habits.

Luxury car drivers over-index for sports, news, and entertainment networks and programs. Non-luxury car drivers prefer sports, especially college networks and shows. Utility vehicle drivers have the most eclectic sports taste. Like luxury car drivers, they watch golf and tennis, however more similar to non-luxury car drivers, they also watch a lot of college sports.

Finally, truck drivers tend to watch a wide range of programming including Country Music TV (CMT) and non- fiction programming on networks like Discovery and the Weather Channel, as well as movie networks like Showtime.

See the full breakdown below:

Why Are There So Many Ford Pickups at Walmart? A Look into Retail Spending

We also took a deep dive into which retailers’ auto shoppers most frequently visit. Truck drivers favor Walmart, spending on average $522 in the third quarter of 2016. They spend the most at Walmart compared to all other vehicle segments, even outspending luxury car drivers by 33%.

Knowing that truck drivers spend the most at Walmart can help auto marketers today as they seek to engage shoppers across a multitude of different channels. These kinds of retail habits inform advertising tactics, both on proximity and frequency. Auto dealerships are primarily located near high traffic retail areas. Understanding time of day, location, and frequency of consumer shopping habits can provide valuable insights in formulating advertising plans, especially in the case of mobile.

What’s for Dinner Tonight? The CPG Preferences of Drivers

As more CPG brands take a direct-to-consumer approach, this opens up opportunities for auto marketers to cross-promote with CPG brands who are looking outside traditional resellers to build customer loyalty and trust.

Overall, luxury car drivers and utility vehicle drivers had the most similar CPG habits, which makes sense, as utility vehicles are the second-most-expensive category of vehicle after luxury cars. Both buy more ready-to-eat food and refrigerated items, indicating they may have an on-the-go lifestyle and less time to cook at home. However, luxury car drivers are more likely to purchase health and beauty products such as eye care, hand lotion, and sun tan lotion. In particular, they are 32% more likely than the general population to buy sun tan lotion.

Interested in learning more? Download the White Paper.

  • #auto marketing
  • #automotive industry
  • #CPG
  • #digital investment
  • #first party data
  • #people-based insights
  • #retail
  • #TV viewing habits
  • #viant advertising cloud
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