How Marketers Are Responding to Connectivity and Transformation in the Automotive Industry
Connectivity and digitalization are the number one key trend disrupting the automotive business. According to KPMG’s Global Executive Survey, executives ranked connectivity and digitalization as the #1 key disrupter for the industry until 2025, up from the #10 spot last year.
OEMS will need to get far savvier in understanding a consumer’s behaviors and what motivates them in choosing connected devices for their vehicles. Business models for both OEMs and dealerships will need to reflect these changes in order to target consumers with the right offers and features, and at the right price point.
An Overview of What Consumers Expect in Connected Vehicles
Drivers are demanding more access to connected services for their vehicles. An Accenture Connected Vehicle Survey asked survey participants to rate a variety of connected vehicle device features. Some key highlights from the report include:
Question: Rate the importance of having the following connected services in your vehicle:
Question: Which of the information technologies/driving support systems listed below would you like to use in your car?
Question: On a scale of 1 to 10 (10 meaning that in-car technology has the greatest influence over the car purchase decision and 1 meaning that the car’s driving performance has the greatest impact on the car purchase decision), what score would you assign for your view?
Which Demographics Do Connected Cars Appeal to?
Connected car features are having more and more influence in the type of vehicle a consumer ultimately chooses. But which consumer demographics are most attracted to these features and how can automotive marketers target these demographics.
Consumers today are more connected and connected cars will ultimately appeal to a wide variety of demographics. However, a wide range of studies show that demand skews towards younger demographics.
A report by automotive research company, SBD provides evidence that these connected systems are important to younger, more digitally oriented consumers and will likely impact their next vehicle brand purchase decision. Cars play a key role in supporting Millennials’ need to stay connected, and in a study by Autotrader.com, 72% of younger millennials indicated that a car is important to their social life. Style and features, especially technology, are critically important to them. For example, more than 70% of younger millennials cite technology and infotainment features as “must-haves” when purchasing a car. The top 5 desired features include:
- Navigation system
- Satellite radio
- MP3 Player
- Mobile Integration
Another study by technology and strategy company Lochbridge identified an age threshold of 45 years, above which receptivity to automotive connectivity drops off. Demand for “more apps” in the car is 36 percentage points higher among the under-45 crowd.
Overall, a study by McKinsey shows a clear trend that connectivity features are becoming more and more important to customers. According to the report, “The number of people who would switch from their current OEM to another manufacturer they trust if it was the only one that offered a car with full access to apps, data, and media, rose from 20 to 37 percent across all geographies within just one year. The fact that – within just one year – the number of people willing to switch car brands for connectivity has almost doubled shows that connectivity is evolving from a should-have to a must-have feature for every OEM.
At the same time, consumers’ willingness to pay for connectivity is increasing. We saw a positive trend in the number of people who would be willing to pay for connected services in their car, with approval rates for subscription-based payment models increasing from 21 to 32 percent globally in the past year.”
Target Connected Drivers Online and With Personalized Offers
In a recent JD Power study, 43% of premium brand drivers and 28% of non-premium brand drivers cite their vehicle’s latest technology features as one of the reasons they purchased their vehicle. But technology is not only a requirement of their cars, it’s a part of their lifestyle.
Connected consumers go online more on tablets (54%) and phones (69%) than the non-connected consumer, and by 2020 80% of consumers are expected to shop for vehicles across multiple devices. Accenture found that 75% of connected consumers would even consider conducting the entire purchase process online.
To reach these digitally-savvy consumers, dealerships and OEMs must target across a broad mix of digital channels, offer online scheduling of service appointments and promote the technical features of their vehicles on the channels thee consumers use. Arianne Walker, senior director, automotive media & marketing at J.D. Power said, “Targeting these technology seekers with the right messaging is critical to using marketing dollars efficiently to reach consumers who will actually buy new vehicles because of new technology.”
We still have the luxury of differentiating “connected customers” with “regular customers,” but this won’t last for long. Soon the tactics to attracting the modern consumer will be the only way to attract or retain customers at all, and automotive companies can’t waste any more time implementing a plan for when that day comes.