MobilityResearch & Analysis

Mobility
Newly Released Research Reveals An Emergence of New Automotive Markets

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It’s Time to Act Fast. As a company that lives and breathes data, we turn to the numbers in times of uncertainty. When we need answers, we rely on data, not gut, to guide us for the smartest decisions. It allows us to gain full transparency into what’s working, and what's not, and in turn, act fast. In a world that has completely shifted to an online buying process, acting fast has never been more relevant. This shift in consumer behavior has highlighted for dealers and OEMs the splintered state of their digital infrastructure and placed a spotlight on solutions that serve a new wave of online shoppers. With digital sales in full motion, your dealership's website has become the most competitive space to win market share and shows that the battle for the sale, which used to take place in the showroom, is now taking place online. And we’re seeing this confirmed in the data.   New Market Segments are Emerging Post-COVID Interestingly, shopping engagement has remained robust during the 2020 pandemic. Specifically, new buying behaviors from markets that wouldn’t be looking for a car pre COVID-19, are now interested.  Here’s what we’re seeing: Single car suburban families may become two car suburban families With safety and hygiene top of mind, families that only owned one car will now be in the market for a second car so they can enjoy family trips in their private vehicle. Business commuters may return to driving for short-haul work trips With surveys showing that the majority of vehicle owners will rely first on their private vehicles for transportation, we can speculate that short distance business trips that used to be by plane will now be replaced with private vehicles. Millennials may buy a car earlier post-crisis Millennials are speculated to play a big part in automotive recovery from COVID-19. Millennials that hadn’t prioritized buying a car with the convenience of Uber or Lyft, are now looking into purchasing or leasing a car in the next five years.   These millennials, for example, represent 25% of the total US population , encompassing all those from age 21-38, a total of 82 million consumers . Car ownership in this demographic has been surveyed at 75%, with a skew toward non-urban consumers. The average first-time car buyer from this demographic is 29 years old and male . With a decrease in comfort with public transportation and ridesharing, it’s possible to envision an increase in buying interest from this demographic. A 5% increase in ownership would equate to approximately 4 million more shoppers in the market. Families may turn to road travel for vacations, rather than flights In a response to the psychological effects of COVID, families may be more inclined to avoid public transportation and take comfort in either taking a second car or using a larger vehicle - prompting them to update their current vehicle. According to a recent study by Cars, it's clear the industry is continuing in the stages of a rebound phase. Engaged shoppers in the final stages before making a purchase are up more than 5% week over week. This is not just hoping for a speedy recovery for the automotive industry, but it suggests that dealers need to prepare to engage these emerging markets. What worked pre COVID-19 will probably not be sufficient in a post COVID-19 era. How Will Your Dealership Recover? For many dealers, dominating your state by getting found online can become a complex operation, especially with a fluctuating market based on a number of factors including government rules, news coverage, CDC guidelines, and more.  With customers engrossed in an exclusively online research process -- even more than before--, your dealership needs to dominate the digital space. It’s about staying personal, staying present, and keeping up with your shoppers’ ever-changing interests. It will be critical for dealerships to intelligently identify, target, and engage online shoppers.  Out-adapting and out winning your competitors in this new space will require the most sophisticated, superior dealer technology.  Best Practices for a Quick Recovery  With emerging markets growing rapidly, traditional technology just won’t make the cut. Making data driven decisions no longer just means guesstimating where your marketing dollars should go, but really trusting automation and machine learning to bring your dealership to life in ways that a human simply will not have the bandwidth to maintain. Begin to utilize more with less While your advertising budgets may be limited, using AI-driven technology will do the dirty work of targeting your new shoppers effectively and efficiently - saving you time and money. Don’t let social distancing stop you Use the shift in consumer behavior to your advantage. Start investing in technology that facilitates a complete, seamless digital experience that your shoppers will already be expecting. With consumers becoming increasingly cautious and discriminating in how they choose to spend their time, make sure you act fast to engage these emerging markets. Access the full report here . 
Post Covid-19: You “Sell” Online, Now What?

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Let’s start with a few recent consumer sentiment and behavior data points. Some good news, some bad news for OEMs and Auto Dealers. IBM recently conducted a consumer sentiment survey in the U.S. to assess current and future forecasted feelings and behavior across many topics, including comfort in returning to a work office, healthcare, travel, movies, and more. We also specifically asked a few questions dealing with modes of transportation sentiment. The chart below is the “good news” for OEMs and dealers. The consumer sentiment greatly indicates a more favorable desire for a personal vehicle as the main mode of transportation going forward out of Covid-19 impact. There is also a neutral or positive reaction to private ride-hailing and rental cars. The inference in all of this is that consumers will want to have a “personal car” or ride that many people have not been in and out of right before their experience, or avoids many people sharing the vehicle or transportation at one time. This does not suggest a difference between new car or used car or how they either currently own or get access to the personal vehicle, but it’s rather just a strong indicator of the desire for personal vehicles as the main mode of mobility in the near-term future. Now the next question would be, does that mean there will be a rush out to acquire new and used vehicles by consumers as dealers begin to open? The short answer is, no, or not necessarily. There are other extraneous factors that obviously affect people’s mindsets about future expenditures, including acquiring a “new car.” The chart below indicates the impact on the consumer’s mindset about buying a vehicle. Obviously, health and safety concerns at the dealership, personal finance, and other buying services and mobility options all weigh in on the decision. In another question, not shown here, these factors also suggest that about one-third of consumers will have a slight delay of about four to nine months in their purchase process cycle due to the pandemic. So what does this all mean? None of these data points or charts by themselves suggest any one direction or answer. In fact, this pandemic crisis more than ever points to the fact that businesses need to move away from fixed cycle strategies and plans. There must be a more transformative, living strategy, that is always adapting and evolving, and led by consumer needs and expectations, not by the products and services we offer. Clearly, there has to be more online, on demand auto sales and service capabilities to meet consumers needs and expectations. There has already been a lot of news, maneuvering, push, and acceleration to move some or parts of the online car buying process to the online channel for both OEMs and dealers. Whether that be to get a quote, put down a deposit, or even full cycle “click to driveway delivery,” the components of the sale transaction have now picked up momentum to be more “no touch” or virtual, but is that enough? The answer is to NOT simply put the current customer sales and service engagement process online and think we have solved for their needs going forward. There must be more evolution, more engagement, more customer mobility journey needs met, in order to build a sustainable model. All the factors of what were already growing consumer expectations anyway, and the current business models disrupted immediately by the pandemic, only put more focus and relevance on the WHAT and HOW we as an auto industry will have to deliver mobility usage and vehicle services. The What The data above suggests, and many other studies support that people, especially younger consumers, are more interested in access to mobility than to ownership. Now, more than ever, there needs to be the safety, security, and feeling of “personal” or “personalized” vehicle access. This sentiment does not say that people want to buy and own a car for four to five years. It indicates they want a “personal vehicle” when they need it. Many factors play into that need. Going forward people may be working from home more, commutes may have shifted, they may not go to crowded places for a while, family transportation needs for school and extracurricular activities may have shifted, vacations and travel may change, they may need various forms of transportation and commuting to meet flexible lifestyle needs. Not to solve for all the needs in one simple plan, or technology, or business model, but providing for and meeting consumer needs in the near term and ongoing will have to consider newer offerings and services that could include: Personalized shopping assistance and vehicle requirement needs support. No touch (where personal contact is required) for sales and service vehicle processes. Omnichannel and in context consumer journey engagement and support. Flexible vehicle access options: Fleet / rental availability. Flexible contracts (finance or lease) in terms of time, usage and out clauses. Consideration for budget, mileage, commute drive transportation, and vehicle access options. Various subscription models that provide access to a mobility mode. Pick up and delivery and other experience centers outside of the dealership: Mobile services. Lifestyle and budget-driven configuration, not just product selection. Less new car vs. used car: Less departmental-centric approach and more customer-centric approach with the OEM and dealership as an entire platform to support. This is access to mobility. The “what” is mobility. Personal mobility. The consumer is mobile, not the vehicle. OEMs and Dealers need to support a consumer’s mobility journey, and be in the mobility ecosystem, not just in the auto sales industry. The How So the “what,” or mobility access, and acting as a customer mobility platform can sound overwhelming. But it is a must to view that North Star vision as the adaptive strategy to head towards. It can start with some simpler offerings and build up full capabilities as they become more real and prevalent. But some of the basic tools and engagement models must start now to 1) meet consumers’ expectations and changing sentiment, and 2) gain more information and insight to drive an adaptive, sense-and-respond approach to the future. Every engagement is a chance to learn, and the insight is often much more valuable than the transaction. Some of the first step considerations to move towards to assist with online and personalized experiences, and more mobility access options include: Guided shopping (leverage chatbots, virtual assistants, and A.I. to help people find what they are looking for, not what you are selling). Guided process to include more lifestyle, vehicle usage, commute, and budget considerations before selecting or landing on a vehicle. More full mobility packages that include flexible financing, mobility service packages, and other accessories or options to meet personal mobility and lifestyle needs Start driving business with new metrics to include customer lifetime value, engagement and experience frequency and quality, and share of mileage, not just the traditional transactional kpi’s. Look at more customer-centric metrics across the journey and across the dealership; not function by function, or department vs. department. Rather, a holistic view of the consumer. Consider every interaction more information and insight to guide the personal touch of that one customer, and as more direction for the future business and offerings needed as a whole from all the customer interactions.      Data and analytics as a business function, not an afterthought, Where possible, look to begin to implement flexible finance, lease, and subscription models for consumer access to personal vehicles or fleet of inventory. Not only will this help the consumer, but it may enable the OEMs, captives, wholesalers, and dealers to optimize the assets in terms of more availability and choices of vehicle age, mileage, condition, which can only be turned and optimized again in this very process. Summary There is a lot of unknown about the future, what we will sell, how we will sell it, and the consumer expectations going forward. But we do know we need to make the current process more omni-channel and personalized. We also know we need to think about the customer’s mobility journey, and not just as a transaction model. Most importantly, we need to learn from this pandemic disruption, that our strategy, our business model must be living, and adaptive, because we don’t know exactly what is next, but we do know -- our only chance to sustain is to put the customer-centric model first, and build our capabilities towards that.
self car driving
How Today’s Auto Marketers Can Connect With Tomorrow’s Self-Driving Car Owners

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Today’s automotive marketers face a unique challenge: They need to market cars to a growing audience of consumers who are eagerly anticipating the day that they no longer have to drive cars. As more self-driving car pilot programs take to the streets, the promise of this category of vehicle is rapidly taking hold with many of today’s car shoppers — despite the fact that such automobiles have yet to become commercially available. To connect with these forward-thinking consumers, automotive dealers and brands today need to be fundamentally repositioning themselves. They must seek a deeper understanding of the consumers they intend to attract. They must harness the “why” behind their consumers’ buying behaviors — the values and motivations that influence their opinions and drive their purchases in the auto industry. In a recent study, we tapped into our consumer intelligence marketing platform (covering more than 10,000 attributes across 185 million people in the U.S.) to better understand the values and motivations that drive today’s car buyers. A key segment that emerged in this research was an audience defined by its inherent comfort with the concept of a self-driving car. Here is an overview of the defining characteristics of this compelling group of consumers, as well as advice for connecting with them for current and future marketing and sales efforts. Consumers comfortable with self-driving cars Self-driving car consumers represent a promising group for car companies, with a wide age range between 18–44. They are also a wealthy group, many with a household income of more than $150,000. In addition, they’re willing to spend anywhere between $25,000 to $75,000 on their next car purchase. When shopping for a car, they do so with an eye toward innovation. For these consumers, features such as Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, and navigation aren’t just conveniences — they’re must-haves. In addition, this eye toward innovation extends to their own purchasing habits, as many would consider making their next car purchase online. Not surprisingly, these consumers say that self-driving cars would have versatile applications in their lives. These include getting to and from work, getting home after drinking alcohol, taking long trips, running errands, and taking their children to and from activities and daycare. When making car purchases, these consumers look for cars that not only enable them to express their individuality, but also create memories with other people. Both of these desires must be taken into consideration by today’s dealers and auto brands. When buying a car, these consumers are highly likely to be sharing their experiences online as they go. Perhaps the only noteworthy caveat about this wealthy, forward-thinking group is that it would also be willing to get rid of its cars if it were practical. This is likely due in part to the relatively high level of environmental awareness among these consumers, because most say they feel guilty when considering the impact of their driving habits on the world around them. How marketers can connect Auto marketers looking to engage with tomorrow’s self-driving car owners should do so with messages of authenticity. These consumers value straightforward information over vague showmanship. Likewise, marketing that focuses on a car’s role in allowing drivers to enjoy experiences with others is likely to resonate strongly. Messaging to this group should also focus on the underlying value of cars themselves, as many of these consumers would not own a car if they had the option. Reminding them that personal car ownership can aid in their connections with those around them is a theme that will speak to these individuals. In addition, because these consumers are so likely to share their car-buying stories online as they go, auto marketers must be exceptionally cognizant of the experiences they create for consumers. One bad encounter is likely to be broadcast well beyond that individual consumer. The upside, however, is that when one of these consumers selects an automobile, he or she becomes a spokesperson for the dealer and brand to a broader sphere of potential car shoppers. Auto marketers would be wise to give these consumers some added assistance in telling their tales. Note: The insights in this article are included in Resonate’s forthcoming “The State of Consumer Audiences” report, which provides an in-depth look at the consumer values and motivations that drive purchases in today’s most important vertical markets. The full report was released in late September. Please go to www.resonate.com for more information. Dave Jeyes is the senior product manager of Resonate ’s Consumer Intelligence Marketing Platform. He has spent the last eight years building and optimizing SaaS platforms for brands and agencies in analytics, e-commerce, and social media tools. Dave holds a master’s degree in human factors with a focus in human-computer interaction from George Mason University, and is obsessed with building easy-to-use SaaS solutions for marketers. When Dave’s not helping marketers gain a deep understanding of their customers and prospects, he enjoys hiking, fly fishing, trips to the wilderness to unplug, and fun socks.