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Automotive: what influences our decisions?

by Noelle Stevens - Trade Marketing Director // 21 Jan 2019

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With the 97th edition of the Brussels Motor Show for Cars, Motorcycles and Utility Vehicles in full swing, IPG Mediabrands Belgium set out to understand the factors that influence the purchasing process. 

The automotive sector posted very good results in 2018 with more than 550,000 new vehicles registered, 80% of which were private cars (source: Statbel). It’s clear that new and innovative mobility solutions offering alternatives to private cars, such as car or bike sharing solutions, still need to convince. That said, various redefinitions of access for “Low Emission Zones” should give a serious boost to changing the current mentality, and also to the replacement of the automobile fleet.

We surveyed a panel of nearly 500 working Belgians from the ages of 25-54 years old. The survey revealed that nearly 10% of them are already searching for a new car or intend to buy a new one this year. In other words, we can expect no fewer than 350,000 new registrations for this target market alone! Clearly, Belgians continue to favour the automobile as their primary mode of transportation.

We can, nonetheless, see a “de-dieselisation” trend in favour of gasoline motors and hybrid and electric models, which grew by 39% and 41.1% last year. This trend should be largely confirmed in 2019.

ecars

 

What influences our decisions?

First of all, it’s the cars themselves that inspire us. In fact, our study has shown that the cars circulating on our roads are the primary source of inspiration for 58% of respondents. TV, radio and daily newspapers are also touchpoints which actively participate in generating consumer interest.

The different channels leading to purchases

Of course, each step of the purchasing process corresponds to a preferred channel. Once interest is generated, the consumer moves on to the consideration step. It’s during this step that Belgians research the most information. First off, 96% of respondents automatically turn to articles published in magazines or on specialist websites. 81% of them attach special importance to their social circle’s opinions. Search engines and car brand websites also prove to be a source of information for more than 60% of them.

Once they’ve established their shortlist, consumers meet with dealers to compare offers and ask for a test drive. This is the case for more than 70% of the panel surveyed. Use of a car configurator and the information available on a brand’s website also influence the final purchasing decision.

Distinct differences exist between men and women. The latter are more responsive to special offers in mailings (59% vs. 49%) while men prefer comparison websites (50% vs. 35%).

Top 3 touchpoints leading to purchase 

automotive touchpoints

Brussels Motor Show 2019

Motor show crowd

This week-end, we had the pleasure of flaning at the Brussels Motor show. This yearly event is, once again, an enormous success and attracts a large crowd. Most brands declare their ambitions in the field of the electric cars by exhibiting their latest innovations in that field. The broad offer represents today a real alternative to conventional engines.

motor show wearemobility

A specific area is dedicated to the Mobility (#wearemobility) highlighting many alternative to the personal car.  The autonomous cars intrigue but do not create enthusiasm. This view is shared far beyond our borders. On the occasion of the last one CES which took place in Las Vegas early January, a group of panelists debated the complex reality the autonomous vehicles (AVs) have to face today. Excitement for the imminent arrival of self-driving cars is palpable on the show floor this year, yet regulatory hurdles and safety concerns remain for the future of mobility to truly take shape. The panelists agreed that the mobility industry needs to cautious with their messages to consumers, lest over-promising results in damaging consumer trust in AV technology overall. Public skepticism remains high towards autonomous vehicles that means the industry must take active measures to manage the public perception on AVs.

The official results of the Motor Show 2019 we will learn more about the trends that really seduce the Belgians. The appointment is booked.

Tags: Marketing; advertising; automotive; touchpoints; mobility

ipg media brands - Belgium