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J.D. Power: Tech-Focused Car Buyers Consume Media at High Rates

July 30, 2015

WESTLAKE VILLAGE, Calif. — Consumers who shop for and purchase a vehicle based on its in-vehicle technology consume media — Internet, television and magazines — at high rates, according to the summer edition of J.D. Power 2015 U.S. Automotive Media and Marketing Report.

The report provides a comprehensive view on the factors that influence consumers’ new-vehicle purchases, as well as attitudinal, lifestyle, recreational and media consumption behaviors.

 More than four in 10 (43%) 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. These new-vehicle drivers embrace technology not only in their vehicles, but also as part of their lifestyle. More new-vehicle drivers who purchase based on technological features access the Internet on tablets (54%) and smartphones (69%) than those who don’t buy for advanced technology (46% and 63%, respectively). 

New-vehicle drivers who seek technology also consume media at high rates, spending more time on the Internet for personal use, watch more television and read more magazines than those who don’t seek technology. In fact, technology-seeking drivers are more likely to read a magazine through an app than those who don’t buy for advanced technology (33% vs. 27%, respectively).

"It’s important that auto manufacturers promote the technological virtues of their vehicles to consumers via the media they consume,” said Arianne Walker, senior director, automotive media and marketing at J.D. Power. “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.”

In-vehicle technology has become the new battleground for attracting, satisfying and retaining customers. While advanced technology in vehicles is often thought of in terms of smartphone connectivity, voice commands and navigation, many recent technological innovations help improve vehicle fuel economy, driving assistance, collision avoidance and safety.

The report finds that vehicles with advanced technology features are purchased at similar rates across gender and age demographics. By gender, 31% of men and 28% of women indicate one of the reasons they purchased their new vehicle was because it had the latest technology features. New-vehicle drivers who purchase based on the latest technology are also similar across age groups: 34 years and younger (31%); 35 to 54 years old (28%); and 55 years and older (31%). Notably, technology is now incorporated in so many aspects of a vehicle that it appeals not only to premium brand drivers or males, but also to the entire spectrum of new-vehicle buyers; therefore demographics are not sufficient to target technology seeking buyers.

Among premium brands, Lincoln, Infiniti, Cadillac and Audi have the highest proportions of buyers who cite “latest technology features” as a reason for purchasing their vehicle. As for non-premium brands, Mazda, Buick and Chrysler have the highest rates of buyers who purchase for the latest technology.

The study also found that drivers who cited advanced technology as a purchase reason spend an average of 33 hours a week watching television and list “The Walking Dead,” “The Big Bang Theory” and “The Voice” among their favorite shows. Younger new-vehicle drivers watch less television than older drivers on a weekly basis: buyers 34 years and younger (20 hours); 35 to 54 years old (24 hours); and 55 years and older (35 hours). Boomers (born 1946 to 1964) spend 32 hours weekly, on average, watching TV, and account for a large portion of the automotive market. Favored cable channels among Boomers (listed in alphabetical order) are the Golf Channel, Hallmark Channel, Oxygen, Syfy and TV Land.

Technology-seeking drivers also read an average of nine magazines, with high rates of reading magazines focused on wealth, science/technology and travel. Magazine readership has increased year over year, as new-vehicle buyers read an average of eight magazines in 2015 vs. seven in 2014. But the greatest increase in magazine readership year over year is for titles with content related to business/personal finance; wealth; men’s lifestyle/fitness/outdoor; travel; and women’s lifestyle.

J.D. Power also looked at drivers’ social media habits. Nearly 70% of new-vehicle drivers access social media websites or apps. Facebook is the most popular social media site accessed by new-vehicle drivers, followed by LinkedIn and Pinterest.

The 2015 U.S. Automotive Media and Marketing Report—Summer is based on a nationwide survey of 28,983 principal drivers of recently purchased or leased new vehicles. The report is based on drivers who acquired their vehicle between November 2013 and October 2014.

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