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Driving a hard bargain

As the auto market continues to boom, TANYA SHINN shows how changing consumer attitudes mean marketers need to move into top gear.

[The research follows the release last week of a NewsMediaWorks survey on the “Path to Purchase” of 600 car buyers actively looking for vehicle.]

This separate research comes from emma and captures consumer attitudes at both the luxury and budget ends of the market. It also highlights the reliance of these consumers on news media content – both advertising and editorial – to make a final decision.

Fatter Wallets: Tighter Grip

The amount of money the typical buyer is willing to spend for the “right” car has increased by 9.2 per cent ($3,500) in the past three years.

Their willingness to part with cash comes at its own price. For three out of four consumers, a long warranty is non-negotiable and a third of buyers will demand fixed-price servicing.

Some 31 per cent say when they buy a car it must come with “all the extras”.

Buyer priorities – A Generation Game

A long warranty is the top priority of four in five (78%) Baby Boomers and Pre-Boomers who plan to purchase a car in the next year.

That’s not such a hot topic for Gens Y and Z, whose preference is for well-known brands (76%). Image is also important with 26 per cent and 27 per cent respectively stating that facet of a purchase was important to them. Image registers with an average 18 per cent of buyers across the board as a key consideration.

For Generation X, price is 16 per cent less likely to be a key concern when compared with the average buyer. They are also 10 per cent more likely to say they are fanatical about cars than the average buyer.

Aspirations of Luxury

Consumers at the prestige end of the market will stretch their budget for the right vehicle. German manufacturers rate highly among these buyers and continue to increase mindshare. BMW considerers increased 38 per cent (73,000) over the last year, finishing just outside the Top 10 most-considered brands. Prospective Audi buyers have risen 8 per cent to 56,000.

The number of Australians considering purchasing a vehicle worth $70,000 or more has increased by 14,000 (28%) in the last two years, according to emma. This growth is fired by the increase in the number of young families (with children under 17) in the market. They now make up 46 per cent of prestige car buyers – a 61 per cent rise on two years ago.

Types of car

Consumer appetite for Sports Utility Vehicles (SUV) is a trend that shows no sign of abating. The market for these cars has increased 13 per cent to 328,000, or 38 per cent of all new car buyers.

Medium-sized SUVs with a price tag of less than $60,000 appeal to 52 per cent of this buyer segment.

Brands On Shortlist

Toyota remains the most considered brand among all new car buyers. Nearly one-in-three consider a Toyota (265,000) – 57,000 more than the next most considered brand, Mazda (208,000).

There has been some significant movement among Toyota’s competitors in the battle for consideration.


Driving sales

Advertisers looking to reach new car buyers will find their target market with news media.

According to emma, 96 per cent (832,000) of consumers planning to purchase a new car in the next 12 months read news media. Its dedicated automotive sections provide a platform to reach buyers in an environment where they are looking for automotive information, inspiration and reviews.

Some 4.2 million consumers read newspaper automotive sections every month. They are 48 per cent more likely to be planning to purchase a new car in the next year than the average consumer, and 63 per cent more than non-readers.

But it’s not just motoring sections that reach this market. For example, readers of sports sections are 27 per cent more likely to want a new car in the next 12 months than non-readers.

News media is a key source of information to thousands of prospective car buyers. More than one-quarter of them (27%) cite newspapers as the single most useful source for automotive information and advice – second only to organic search.


emma™ conducted by Ipsos MediaCT, People 14+ for the 12 months ending  June 2016; Nielsen DRM June 2016, People 14+ only.

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