While quality and affordability are regarded as key decision factors when purchasing a car, America’s growing group of millennial consumers are most likely to consider brands that fit with their personal image instead, according to Cambridge Analytica, a data analytics and behavioral communications provider
“Finding brands which fit their personal image was the largest growing factor amongst millennials when compared to older respondents,” Cambridge Analytica Data Scientist Tom Richardson said via email when Auto Remarketing asked about the study’s findings.
Fitting personal image was found to be the largest differentiating factor between the youngest consumers and older car buyers, he said.
Cambridge Analytica found this and several other trends following its study which examined American car buying habits across key demographics.
About a third of millennials surveyed said fitting personal image was “extremely important,” while only a quarter of all respondents said the same, according to the study.
Last summer, Cambridge Analytica asked 3,018 respondents to consider the following set of factors: fits with personal image, affordability, high quality, driven by celebrities, brand reputation, made in the USA and environmentally friendly.
“When dealing with younger customers we might advise dealers to use a sales pitch based on matching an individual’s style and perhaps offer small personifications/bonus extras with the cars,” Richardson explained.
According to the study, Audi is the most desired brand amongst the millennials surveyed and Lexus and Honda ranked the lowest, which suggests the two brands don’t align with a millennial’s personal image.
Car owners vs. non-owners
The study also found that car ownership status rather than age is the best predictor when identifying shoppers who rate environment as important.
While environmental impact was found to be generally less important than both affordability and quality, 10 percent of respondents without a vehicle said they consider environmental factors extremely important.
Those without a car also consider affordability to be extremely important more often than quality. The group is 10 percent less likely to rate quality as extremely important and about 6.5 percent more likely to rate affordability as extremely important, according to the study.
Similarly, respondents who already own a car told Cambridge Analytica they are mostly interested in vehicles that offer higher quality than what they currently own.
Men vs. Women
High quality and affordability were the most important factors for both men and women.
But while a majority of both genders agree that the two factors are extremely important when choosing a new car, about 10 percent more women than men believe affordability, in particular, is extremely important.
Additionally, men are almost two times more likely than women to select BMW as their most desired brand, according to the study.
Other luxury brands such as Mercedes and Lexus were also found to be favorite brands for men.
Women were found to desire Japanese economy brands like Honda and Toyota most, while they significantly favor the Jeep brand more than men. Meanwhile, 7.6 percent of the women surveyed chose the American brand as their favorite compared to just 4.5 percent of men.
Interestingly, Audi was equally as popular with both genders: 7.8 percent of men chose the brand and so did 7.8 percent of women, according to the study.
Cambridge Analytica’s study was conducted online in June 2016, “when most people began talking about 2017 car models,” Richardson added.