More Female Car Buyers Means Changes in Marketing
Women are different than men. We all learned that when we were young, and we’re reminded of this every day as adults. Whether it’s at work, at the mall, or in our own homes, we’re constantly reminded that men and women aren’t the same.
So, why has it taken the automotive industry so long to determine that female car buyers are different than male car buyers?
Sure, everyone knows that women buy and drive cars, but that doesn’t mean women have the same priorities, interests, or concerns as men. Finally, research is being published to promote the idea that female car buyers require different sales and marketing approaches.
The Number of Female Car Buyers is Rapidly Increasing
It’s undeniable that the automotive industry, especially the local sales field, has traditionally been a male-dominated area. But, just because The National Automobile Dealers Association says 91% of car salesmen at franchised dealerships are men, that doesn’t mean all vehicle buyers are men these days. Times are changing.
Consider some of these statistics on the growing influence of female car buyers:
- In 2013, women accounted for 39% of car purchases (Source: J.D. Power).
- The 2010 total number of female drivers in the US surpassed the male driving population (Source:University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute).
- Women are “making the final decision on more than 60% of new car purchases,” asserted president and chief executive of Nissan, Carlos Ghosen, in a July speech.
- The amount of women with driver’s licenses in the US now outnumber men with driver’s licenses (Source: Frost & Sullivan).
- Women influence between 85% to 95% of all car purchases, based on reports from dealerships. (Source: director of brand and reputation strategy for Cadillac, Melody Lee).
Research on Female Car Buyers Shows A Need for Revised Marketing Strategies
Studies have repeatedly shown that what women look for when buying a car is very different than what traditional male buyers were interested in. Car salespeople need to understand this.
According to Kelley Blue Book studies, women focus on the following aspects when deciding on a car: ride and seat comfort; fuel economy; safety and dependability of the vehicle. A car that has a lot of power isn’t much use if it doesn’t handle well. That doesn’t mean women don’t like a good-looking ride. But, they’re more likely to buy a sporty hatchback in a vibrant color than a red turbo-charged roadster.
Even the approach of female car buyers differs from men’s. Almost 80% of women consult the internet for research before making an automotive purchase (Source: She-Economy). And, 82% of women prefer to buy rather than lease a new vehicle (Source: Kelley Blue Book). Although men get their recommendations from expert reviews, women trust the recommendations of their friends and family over strangers.
It’s all about knowing your customer.
Unfortunately, here’s the statistic the automotive world should find most upsetting: 74% of women surveyed admit to feeling misunderstood by car sellers (Source: Forbes).
It’s time dealerships, salespeople, and marketers started delivering to the automotive and emotional needs of women. For more than 100 years, car dealers have operated in the same manner, despite an increase in female car buyers. Successful sales is all about approaching the customer in the right way. Otherwise, be prepared for potentials buyers to pass you by.
Dawn Carberry is the digital marketing manager and the head blogger for the Haddad Automotive Group, located in the city of Pittsfield in Western MA. The Haddad Auto Group includes Haddad Toyota, Haddad Subaru, Haddad Hyundai, and Haddad Nissan new car dealerships, and Haddad of South County used cars.