Car Brochures - Consumer Sentiment

Goals

To establish examples of consumer preferences which would support the continued mass production of sales brochures and/or catalogs as they apply to new car sales.

Early Findings

In early 2020, Cox Automotive released a report titled "Reimagining the Automotive Consumer Experience" which analyzed survey responses from consumers about the future of the car buying journey. Highlights from that report include the following, though it should be noted that these metrics do not necessarily all support the need for a physical brochure:

  • "Seven out of ten consumers said the idea of a brand experience center, rather than a traditional showroom, was appealing."
  • According to Michelle Krebs, an executive analyst at Autotrader (owned by Cox Automotive), "trailblazer consumers, are most likely to embrace new technology and services, (and) will be the new mainstream consumer by mid-decade."
  • 89% "of dealers agree they must find alternative ways to sell and service vehicles if they want to survive."
  • "Today’s consumer still wants immersive, high touch experiences when researching vehicles."
  • "83% of consumers want to complete at least one step of the purchase process online."
  • "60% of consumers would use the time saved by moving parts of the purchase process online to get to know the vehicle more."
  • "61% of consumers want help from a product specialist instead of a salesperson."
  • 70% of consumers indicate that a brand experience center provides more information surrounding a new car purchase than a traditional dealership and 50% indicate that a brand experience center would sway their choice in brands.
Deloitte is unable to fully assess where the digital dividing line in car marketing. In fact, when assessing the implementation of digital strategies, they state "manufacturers and dealers differ in the outcomes they need from digital transformation at the retail level. Generally, manufacturers are looking to large digital investments to drive overall mobility strategies aimed at reshaping the way consumers engage with their brand. On the other hand, dealers are typically pursuing much more immediate digital solutions to drive operational efficiencies, reduce overhead, empower sales staff, and increase transparency while reducing friction in the sales process. Whereas manufacturers are investing to create omnichannel customer experiences, dealers are more focused on tactical solutions that integrate disparate data systems to ease information flow across the dealership."

  • "Results from the 2018 Deloitte Global Automotive Consumer Study indicate that, out of all sources of information, brand and dealer websites have the greatest impact on new car-buying decisions."
  • Additionally, given that "half of US auto buyers do not engage in any dealer cross-shopping after they first visit a showroom" and that "30% buy a vehicle the very same day they step onto a dealer’s lot", this provides little to support the continued production of new car brochures.
  • On the flip side, however, further analysis suggests that "vehicle shoppers across all generations prefer more “low-tech” information tools while they are in a dealer showroom." As such, this could be interpreted to absolutely support the continued production of new car brochures.

SUMMARY of EARLY FINDINGS

The initial findings indicate that there are likely insights along the customer journey that will support both the case for and the case against the continued production of new car brochures as a consumer marketing tool. As such, a definitive answer to this question is highly unlikely. However, it is suggested that tangential research continue to help establish data on both sides of the argument. This can be done by evaluating a combination of data, trends and consumer journey metrics within the industry, especially as it applies to the consumption on new car brochures.

Proposed next steps:

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