Strategies for Shifting Trends in Car Buying
Cox Automotive Marketing Partnership (CAMP) Marketing Team
As we enter the new year, let’s reflect on the changes that shaped the automotive industry in 2023. Discover how the surge in new car buyer satisfaction paves the way for upcoming trends and opportunities and explore what your brand can focus on this year to help car buyers navigate their journey.
The 2023 Cox Automotive Car Buyer Journey results were derived from surveys of 1,966 consumers who bought or leased a new vehicle from August 2022 – September 2023.
Buyer Shift: Consumers have a more open-minded approach due to lingering sticker shock.
While new buyers express satisfaction with expanded vehicle choices, the challenge of sticker shock remains. As a result, fewer new buyers start off with a specific vehicle in mind,
As shoppers become more curious, those who haven’t made up their minds will depend on interesting and helpful content to guide their research. In fact, 90% of new shoppers looking to buy a car plan to use content to learn about new vehicles.2
Tip: Invest in retention and conquest marketing campaigns that highlight vehicle features and technology so that your models stand out from the rest.
Buyer Shift: Third-Party Sites Gain Growing Influence in Vehicle Purchase Decisions
Third party sites proved to be the most resilient and influential online source, with their influence continuing to grow. (Dealer and OEM sites closely follow.) New buyers attest to their trustworthiness, reliability, and unbiased objectivity, solidifying their position as the go-to source in the automotive decision-making journey.
Highest Attributes By Site1
With 61% of new buyers influenced by content2, make sure your brand is where shoppers seek information. As the preferred destination for make and model insights2, our content is recognized as the most trustworthy3.
Buyer Shift: New vehicles are gaining ground with new audiences! Multicultural buyers are accounting for a higher percentage of new vehicle sales across all categories. Content marketing holds the key to shaping their preferred vehicle.
The new vehicle market depends on wealthier households, as seen in the increasing average annual income of buyers. In 2023, multicultural buyers became a larger part of new car sales, and millennials took over the luxury vehicle segment. It’s important to tailor content for these audiences, as they believe content influences their vehicle choices.
Top Content Marketing sources that influence vehicle choice
Among Multi-Cultural New Shoppers/Buyers2
(% high influence)
- Consumer ratings and reviews
- Online video reviews from an expert
- Online test drive videos from an expert
Tip: Customize your content strategy for a diverse audience, acknowledging the strong impact of videos – especially online video reviews and test drive videos from experts.
We hope these tips will help you continue to reach and influence car shoppers in 2024 and beyond. To learn more about the results of the 2023 Car Buyer Journey and other Cox Automotive studies, contact your Cox Automotive representative.
1. 2023 Cox Automotive Car Buyer Journey Study, Released January 2024
2. 2023 Cox Automotive GfK Content Influence Study
3. 2023 Pollfish Awards and Accolades Survey, May 2023