It is an interesting time to be in the automotive industry. Like many industries, the COVID-19 pandemic has shaped current automotive marketing trends, buyer preferences, prices, and more.
In fact, the industry is still feeling the effects of the pandemic. There have been supply chain issues, and production disruptions as automakers face the global scarcity of semiconductors.
Additionally, online shopping experienced tremendous growth. About 42% of car buyers today prefer shopping online. Although, according to a report by Capital One, about 44% of people prefer a hybrid online and in-person approach when buying a car.
Buyers have the chance to shop in various places, including car dealerships, online, and through private sellers. With all of these options, how can you be sure that your dealership is getting the most exposure?
To stay ahead of the curve, it is important to be aware of the latest automotive marketing trends and statistics. We will look at the 2022 auto industry outlook and dive deeper into top automotive marketing trends.
How is the automotive industry doing in 2022?
Despite the pandemic, the automotive industry is still experiencing record sales, although it is slowing down slightly. The demand for new vehicles is still high. However, vehicle prices are also at an all-time high.
The Consumer Price Index Summary reported that transaction prices, what customers actually paid for their vehicle, increased by 12.2% in January compared to a year ago. When looking at used and new car sales separately, the price increase is even more substantial. Used car prices were a reported 40.5% higher than January last year.
According to a report from Edmunds.com, 8 out of 10 people (82%) paid over the sticker price for a new vehicle. Last year, only 2.8% paid over.
As a result of these price increases, many buyers are carefully considering or rethinking their purchases. Additionally, the shortage of supplies has made inventory low, which has further added to buyer hesitation.
This is just a snapshot of what is currently happening in the automotive industry. Let’s take a look at some of the automotive trends.
8 Automotive Marketing Trends and Predictions
In the current automotive market, it is important to stay informed of the latest trends and future predictions. Here are some of the top automotive marketing trends for 2022:
1. Mobility as a service will continue to grow
According to a new report, the worldwide shared mobility market is estimated to reach USD 188.43 billion by 2030. This means that there will be a lot more people using ride-hailing, car-sharing, and other mobility services.
Increased fuel prices, as well as growing city populations, are just a few reasons why automakers are reconsidering where they fit. Some predict that private car ownership will decline. In that case, manufacturers are looking at other revenue streams beyond car sales.
For instance, Tesla and Polestar have partnered with ride-sharing company Uber. While other auto companies have invested in their car rental operations or mobility services. Research from McKinsey suggests that new business models that go beyond car ownership could expand automotive revenue by 30% or an additional $1.5 trillion.
2. Increased interest in electric cars
Electric cars are becoming more and more popular, with many people interested in buying them. In fact, a recent study shows that 40% of people consider buying an electric car as their next vehicle. High gas prices further add to the appeal of electric cars.
Electric still won’t make up a significant portion of road traffic, but there is increased consumer interest. You may want to consider electric vehicles in your inventory. At the least, you may want to be prepared for questions potential buyers might have about electric cars.
3. Rising custom and pre-orders
One way auto manufacturers and dealers are managing the short supply and high demand is by offering pre-orders. In some cases, customers are ordering new vehicles months ahead vs. buying what is available on the lot.
A new study from Cars.com found that nearly half (41%) of all buyers plan to pre-order their next vehicle. Of those survey respondents, 16% pre-ordered a new vehicle in the past, and 98% of those enjoyed the experience so much that they’d do it again.
With the semiconductor supply crisis, many car shoppers are ordering their vehicles ahead of time so that they can get the car that they want without having to wait.
Companies like Tesla have had a lot of success with custom and preorders. In fact, Ford announced a business model shift to focus on bringing more customers into the vehicle ordering process. The change to a build-to-order model is set to take effect in 2023.
In the U.S., the auto manufacturer—in partnership with dealerships—has already launched Ford Express Buy, an online-only way to buy a Ford vehicle. Although it is only available for a select number of models, more vehicles are expected to roll out in the near future.
This will, in turn, shift a substantial amount of marketing spend to focus more on the customer experience.
4. More vehicle listings with video
Automotive marketing trends show that many dealerships use video in their vehicle listings. Videos are more engaging and can show potential buyers more information than a still image. In a recent study, over 75% of car buyers consider video the most useful type of content when shopping for a vehicle.
Video is a great way to show off the features of a car, as well as the interior and exterior. Videos can also be used to answer any questions that potential buyers might have.
5. Growing focus on third-party cookie alternatives
With the recent changes to third-party cookies, many dealerships are looking for alternative ways to target potential customers. Some of the available options include first-party data, contextual targeting, and behavioral targeting.
First-party data is data that is collected by the dealership itself. This can be done through website visits, newsletter sign-ups, and even car test drives. Contextual targeting is another option that uses information about the user’s current surroundings to target them with relevant ads. For example, if a user is searching for a car on a website, they might see an ad for a dealership that is located nearby.
Finally, behavioral targeting uses information about a user’s past behavior to target them with relevant ads. For example, if a user has previously shown interest in a certain type of car, they might see an ad for that car on a different website.
6. More investment in digital advertising
The automotive industry’s digital ad spending is projected to reach 19 billion by 2023. More and more people are using the internet to research and purchase cars. As a result, digital marketing will continue to be important to your overall business success.
Social media will still play a significant role. A study by Facebook showed that about 63% of car buyers identified their new vehicles on social media. According to Facebook for Business, another 77% say that posts on social media move them towards making their car purchases.
As the cost of traditional linear television ads increases, the return on investment decreases. In the coming years, we expect to see more ad dollars put towards social media, connected TV, and other digital ads.
7. Focus on mobile marketing and optimization
Google estimates over 60% of auto-related searches come from mobile devices. With more and more people using their mobile devices to research and purchase cars, dealerships will continue to focus on mobile marketing. This includes creating mobile-friendly websites, optimizing for search engines, and using retargeting ads.
More importantly, mobile marketing is most successful when combined with a holistic marketing strategy. Measuring ad campaign performance can be tricky for the auto industry, with brands and dealers sometimes running campaigns in siloes. We’ll see more tools and brands focusing on bringing their customer data and marketing analytics together on one platform.
8. VR and AR
Virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) get a lot of buzz. AR and VR can be used for test drives, product demonstrations, and even marketing campaigns.
For example, BMW has been using VR to allow potential customers to test drive their cars without having to leave the comfort of their homes. This is a great way to get potential customers interested in the product, and it also allows them to see the product in action.
As you can see, many automotive marketing trends are happening right now. As the industry continues to grow, we expect to see even more innovations and changes. The uncertainty of the last few years has and will continue to inspire auto trends.
However, keeping up with all these trends can be hard, and that’s why Goodway Group is here to help. We have years of experience in auto marketing to help you stay ahead of the competition. Reach out to set up a consultation.