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Spousal influence trumps price on car purchasing decisions

The influence of a spouse or partner can be more influential in the car buying process than price, according to new research by data and marketing company Rocket Fuel.

The company’s own research showed 25% of people surveyed said their partner held the biggest influence over car purchasing decisions, compared to price at 22% and make/model at 15%.

Car dealer salesmen held the least influence at 2%.

Influence over car purchasing decision results:

Wife/husband/partner: 24%

Price: 22%

Make or model previously owned: 15%

Peer review in magazine or online: 11%

Parents: 10%

Friends: 5%

Advert: 3%

Dealer spokesperson: 2%

Other: 8%

The research incorporated analysis of 270 million advertising impressions across 43 automotive campaigns and a survey of 329 UK car buyers.

It revealed that while completing a car purchase online is not yet commonplace, 76% of Brits now take at least one digital action during their purchase journey for example booking a test drive, ordering a brochure or configuring a car.  

Who influences us?

While spouses and partners are the biggest influence for 25% of British car buyers, the older generation 55+ (84%) doesn’t care what their partner thinks about the car they will buy.  This is in sharp contrast to Brits aged between 35 and 54 who are more than twice as likely to be influenced by their partner than the over 55s.

Brand loyalty

Brand is most important to Alfa Romeo (36%), Audi (35%) and Mazda (33%) drivers when choosing a car.  However, it is Audi drivers who are the most loyal (61%), more than four times likely to have previously owned the same brand in the last five years than drivers of a Hyundai (15%).  Mercedes Benz and Alfa Romeo drivers were also highly likely to have previously owned the same brand of car.

The older Brits get, the more likely they are to stay loyal to their existing car brand.  Almost a third (29%) of over 55s cited make or model previously owned as the biggest single influence in their car purchase decision, twice as many as the younger generations.

Online influences

Millennials (84%) are more likely to research their new car online before purchasing it than any other generation (average 74).  And 41% of millennials found online videos the most useful type of advert during their research, just under a third more than any other age group.

While automotive websites are the biggest converters for people in the market for a large car, Brits in the market for mid-sized cars show higher conversion rates on dating websites.

People looking to buy a small car are 1.5 times more likely to shop around then Brits looking for mid-size or large vehicles and convert most frequently on mobile phone, shopping and gaming sites. 

Finally, the larger the car, the more ads you need to see before you convert.  Drivers of large cars need on average 14 number of adverts, compared to an average of 10 adverts for drivers of medium-sized cars and 9 adverts for drivers of small cars.   Buyers of larger sized vehicles also take longer to convert from online adverts with most converting after 1-2 weeks, compared to 4-7 days for mid-sized and smaller car drivers.

Dominic Trigg, Rocket Fuel’s SVP & MD Europe & emerging markets, said: “Digital clearly has a strong and growing impact on the consumer purchase path when it comes to buying cars.

“And what our research shows, is how significant it is especially for younger generations, who haven’t yet established such strong brand loyalty and are more strongly influenced by automotive advertising than the older generations.

“It also highlights that the moments consumers in the market for a new car can be most influenced, aren’t always the obvious choices – for example while visiting dating or charity websites.”

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