Comscore study reveals key factors driving auto industry recovery
In Comscore’s latest State of the Automotive Survey, Comscore interviewed respondents who intended to buy or lease a new or used vehicle (“stewards”) to understand how COVID-19 has changed the landscape of car buying and contributed to changes in consumer behavior.
Although a third of the applicants said they expected the pandemic and the resulting economic situation to delay their research and subsequent buying schedule, not all buyers were turned off. Comscore found that 55% of applicants said they did not expect any schedule changes due to COVID and 27% said the pandemic had not changed their vehicle purchase plans at all. In fact, 13% of applicants expected their research timeline to shorten due to new offerings and customer support available for new vehicles, changes in COVID-19 case levels, and their sentiment. to be less safe in more public modes of transport.
Auto buyers and sales in the United States both saw a strong recovery in their april 2020 low, mainly due to a combination of actions taken by automakers to support and incentivize consumers financially as well as the enduring interest and flexibility of more affluent consumers. Those least economically impacted by the pandemic remained in the market to buy at their convenience and take advantage of the offers.
Beyond financial support, car manufacturers have enabled their dealer networks to adopt new safe and convenient services to ensure consumer comfort and alleviate potential obstacles in their journeys. Perhaps the most promising new offering, new “online retail experience” sites and tools have been launched by several automakers for consumers to shop, get quotes, find loans, buy and set up home delivery, all from the security and convenience of their home. Almost half of applicants (48%) in 2020 were interested in buying and purchasing a car entirely online, an increase of 10 points from 2019.
This renewed interest has resulted in a strong influx of traffic to online shopping domains launched or expanded by various car manufacturers in response to the pandemic. Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (now Stellantis) launched “DriveFCA.com” in april 2020, later moving to branded e-Shop domains. Through december 2020, the number of unique visits to the FCA online store domain has increased by 214% since its launch.
“Despite the economic impact of the pandemic, consumers remain ready to buy, even larger purchases, like vehicles, as long as they are motivated in the right way,” said Dennis bulgarelli, Vice President, Automotive, Comscore. “This means that in the short term, automakers must continue to strategize and innovate to meet the distinct needs of different types of consumers. Even if life begins to return to “normal”, consumers will have adapted new habits, preferences and expectations regarding services. available – and they probably won’t appreciate a revocation of the now standard amenities. Brands across the spectrum – automakers being no exception – will need to be ready and informed to continue to deliver value. “
For more information on consumer automobiles, download the “Impact of COVID-19” infographic. Comscore will continue to monitor these changing consumer habits on its Coronavirus Insights Hub. To learn more about how Comscore can provide you with personalized information, contact us today.
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