Millennials Shaking Up North American Automotive Sales
Global site engagement up by 9% in Q2 2018, indicating higher purchase intent
NEW YORK, Aug. 08, 2018 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — IgnitionOne, a global marketing technology and data analytics provider with a focus on the automotive sector, released its analysis of Q2 trends in the automotive industry, highlighting the continued dominance of SUVs across customer engagement, site visits and leads in North America, as evidence points to the increased influence of millennials upon buying habits.
According to the report, the US automotive market is leading the push for growth, with site engagement increasing by 25% in Q2 compared to the same period in 2017. This growth is likely due to a combination of a stronger marketing initiatives from automakers this quarter, with an increased focus on personalized site experiences and retargeting tactics.
Despite a slight dip in visits to automotive websites overall (-2%), the IgnitionOne report also highlights an increase in better quality traffic fueled by higher customer engagement with 2018 launch vehicles and updated models.
Year-on-year (YoY) comparisons also show that, despite a 6% drop in site visits via desktop, mobile continues to play a significant role in the automotive customer journey. Although mobile visits for North America remained consistent YoY, the report shows a 21% increase globally in mobile site visits.
The availability of fuel-efficient SUVs coupled with shifting customer preferences toward more spacious vehicles seems to be driving the dominance of SUVs within the market. The car segment is pacing to hit a 60-year low according to Automotive News reports – as a result, many automakers are ceasing production on sedans and shifting focus toward electric vehicles and fuel-efficient SUVs.
According to IgnitionOne, customers in the millennial age bracket are continuing to spearhead this growth in mobile engagement, in part because more than one quarter1 of these younger audiences are now totally reliant on smartphones for online access.
Millennial customers in particular are also more inclined to plan and research2 their auto purchases over a longer period (19.9 weeks) compared to Baby Boomers (15.7 weeks). J.D. Power anticipates that by 2020, millennials will be responsible for 40% of new car sales overall.
“The growth of millennial spending power is forcing many industries to evolve their thinking around sales and marketing, with automotive no exception,” said Will Margiloff, CEO at IgnitionOne. “As the industry combats uncertainty around the impact of tariffs on their production costs, the dealers who fare strongest will be the ones that use their digital assets to garner a better understanding of new and emerging audiences. Millennials should be increasingly central to their marketing efforts in the coming 18 months.”
Mobile marketing remains a key focus for the global auto sector, with increased investments in responsive sites, social strategies and personalized site experiences to capture key moments in the customer journey. As the industry prepares for uncertain economic headwinds and the impact of pending tariffs on the sector, IgnitionOne’s auto report provides some comfort for automakers and dealers with the overall increase in site visitor engagement.
- Global site traffic has grown 4% since Q2 2017, primarily driven by high growth in the LATAM market.
- SUVs continue to dominate market share in North America, proving to be highly popular in a quarter with relatively stable fuel prices.
- Within the overall SUV segment, leads for small SUVs are outpacing leads for standard SUVs.
- Moves by auto manufacturers to reduce sedan production align with the decline in interest in compact cars, with Q2 site visits dropping by 2% compared to Q2 2017.
- The number of leads for electric vehicles (EVs) grew by more than 30% YoY in EMEA. Similar trends in the US show a 14% increase in EV leads year-on-year.
“The auto industry is transforming at a rapid pace with technological advances and evolving customer preferences,” said Rachel Pierson, Global Director of Strategic Accounts at IgnitionOne. “Automakers face the challenge of producing more sustainable and fuel-efficient SUVs to meet demand, while selling currently available inventory. Personalizing the customer experience with targeted offers will be key to capturing market share in the second half of this year, particularly with millennial buyers.”
Based on first-party data gathered from more than 350 automotive manufacturers and dealer websites across more than 50 countries, the Automotive Industry Report looks at global car trends including website visits, visitor engagement, and cumulative leads. The proprietary IgnitionOne Score™ models and defines, in real-time, each site visitor’s propensity to convert, based on the individual’s level of engagement and on-site behavior.
IgnitionOne’s leading Customer Intelligence Platform empowers marketers to find and engage their most valuable customers across channels using a data-driven approach. By focusing on cross-channel scoring and robust personalization, IgnitionOne’s technology provides real-time, actionable insights for smarter marketing decisions and omnichannel engagement to maximize overall results. IgnitionOne is one of the largest independent marketing technology companies in the world, currently scoring over 600 million users monthly in 75 countries and powering more than $60 billion in revenue each year for leading brands, including General Motors, CenturyLink, La Quinta and Acer, as well as advertising agencies such as 360i, GroupM and Zenith Media.
Kite Hill PR, Kayla Engebretsen