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Global Auto Buyers are Clicking Websites Before Clicking Seatbelts
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Global Auto Buyers are Clicking Websites Before Clicking Seatbelts

Sixty-five percent of online consumers across 60 countries plan to buy a new or used car in the next two years, according to new findings from Nielsen’s recent Global Survey of Automotive Demand. That adds up to a lot of potential car buyers, all of whom are trying to wade through the multitude of sources for automotive research. These consumers are increasingly turning to online sources when shopping for a car. Findings from another recent study (Nielsen’s Media Consumption Survey from 2012-2013 in 11 countries) show that consumers find online advertising is most helpful when shopping to buy a new vehicle.

“As consumers seamlessly shift viewing between screens, so too must our marketing strategies,” said Pat Gardiner, president of Nielsen Automotive. “But a one-size-fits-all strategy doesn’t work when it comes to messaging across platforms. Adjusting to how different audiences use media is critical for maximum impact.”

Nearly half (46%) of all respondents say that automotive advertising via websites is “very helpful” when buying of a new car, compared with 42 percent who deem advertising on TV very helpful, followed by 32 percent for magazines, 29 percent for newspapers, 21 percent for mobile and 20 percent for radio ads. Online methods resonate most strongly in India, where nearly three-quarters (74%) of respondents find websites very helpful, followed by Brazil (69%), China (60%), Thailand (58%) and Russia (51%).

More specifically, 65 percent of all respondents in the 11-country survey voted automotive brand websites most helpful when considering an auto purchase, with India (80%), Thailand (79%), China (77%), Brazil (73%) and Russia (73%) exceeding the average. Professional product review websites, which include trusted sources like Consumer Reports and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, are most helpful for 41 percent of respondents. Third-party informational websites like Edmunds and Kelley Blue Book, as well as dealership websites, were each voted most helpful among 38 percent of total respondents. One-third of all respondents (34%) find social media sites most helpful, with those in Russia (73%), China (49%) and India (43%) exceeding the average. About one-fourth (23%) say video sites with product demonstrations are most useful.

So how do you ensure that your media mix is effective in reaching your potential customer and not lost in the marketing wasteland? Know your customers—where they are, how they research their purchases and what platforms they find most helpful.

Other findings include:

  • Insight into who potential car buyers are, where they live, and how to appeal to them.
  • Global trends in auto alternatives.
  • Quick-reference country scorecards.

For more detail and insight, download Nielsen’s global survey of automotive purchase intent.

About the Nielsen Global Survey

The findings in this survey are based on respondents with online access across 60 countries. While an online survey methodology allows for tremendous scale and global reach, it provides a perspective only on the habits of existing Internet users, not total populations. In developing markets where online penetration has not reached majority potential, audiences may be younger and more affluent than the general population of that country. Additionally, survey responses are based on claimed behavior, rather than actual metered data.

About the Media Consumption Study

The Nielsen Media Consumption Study was conducted in 2012–2013, and polled more than 85,000 consumers in 11 countries using a combined online and offline methodology. The countries in the study include: Australia, Brazil, China, France, Germany, India, Italy, Russia, Spain, Thailand and the U.K.