State of Automotive & Consumer Behaviors, week of 7/20
Monday, July 27, 2020
Key Industry Stat(s) of the Week
According to ComScore’s Sate of OTT report, there are now 69.8M homes in the US that used OTT in April 2020, an increase of 5.2M homes from April 2019. Furthermore, US homes consumed 102 hours of OTT content in April, which is 17 hours more than April 2019. (Source: MarketWatch, Comscore Releases 2020 ‘State of OTT’ Report Examining OTT consumption Across CTV, Ad-Supported Services, And More)
- It is more important than ever to consider OTT/CTV a part of your marketing channel mix.
A sentiment study by CarGurus found that 69% of consumers in June are planning to delay their next vehicle purchase as a result of COVID-19, which is down from 79% in April (Source: CarGurus, U.S. COVID-19 Sentiment Study June 2020)
- Of the consumers who planned to delay their purchase, 70% said they are actively researching vehicles during this time, which is up from 68% in April.
Another study, by Deloitte on how COVID-19 is changing the automotive industry, found that 47% of US consumers are planning to keep their current vehicle longer than expected. (Source: Deloitte, How the pandemic is changing the future of automotive)
IHS Markit forecasts US new light vehicle sales in 2020 will reach 13.3 million vehicles, and with 14.6 million forecasted for 2021. (Source: IHS Markit, Fuel for Though: The COVID Recovery)
IHS Markit also found that, of households returning to market this year, when compared to a year ago, were consumer who were more likely to:
- Own a light truck than a car
- Own a domestic vehicle than an import-branded vehicle
- Own a pickup than any other body style
- Live in a smaller DMA and a rural state
- Purchase vs. lease
Increase in Social Media Usage During COVID-19 Not Expected to Sustain Post-COVID
Although over half of Americans are spending more time social media during COVID-19, that increased usage is expected to return to usage levels that are closer to pre-COVID once the pandemic ends, with only 9% of US internet users ages 16-64 expecting to continue spending more time on social media post-pandemic. (Source: eMarketer, Uptick in US Adult’s Social Media Usage Will Likely Normalize Post-Pandemic).
- Until the pandemic ends, this could be good news for advertisers investing heavily (or disproportionately) in social media advertising. Social media accounts for an average 76 minutes a day out of over 6.5 hours a day that US adults spend on all digital media (Source: eMarketer, Average Time Spent with Media in 2019 Has Plateaued)
Subaru, Lexus Lead the Way in J.D. Power’s 2020 U.S. Automotive Loyalty Study
Subaru leads mass market brands for the second year in a row, with 60.5% of Subaru owners who chose a Subaru vehicle when trading in or purchasing their next vehicle, and Lexus led luxury brand with 48% consumer loyalty. (Source: J.D. Power, 2020 U.S. Automotive Brand Loyalty Study).
- Mass Market: Subaru (60.5%), Toyota (60.3%), Honda (58.7%), RAM (57.3%), Ford (54.3%)
- Luxury: Lexus (48%), Mercedes-Benz (47.8%), BMW (45.1%), Porsche (44.9%), Audi (43.4%)
Ford Already Sees Big Demand for New Bronco
- Dealership have already seen Bronco reservations exceed expectations, and the reservation page on Ford’s website even crashed due too much site traffic. (Source: The Detroit News, Ford executives, dealers report big early demand for 2012 Bronco)
Almost Half of American Car Owners Are Delaying Servicing their Vehicle
- A report by Hankook found that 48% of Americans are putting off maintenance appointments on their vehicles, which could have larger repercussions down the road. (Source: CBT News, Hankook Report Finds Car Owners Neglecting Service During COVID-19)
- Get in front of consumers with messaging that encourages them to service their vehicles, especially when many consumers are also delaying purchasing a new vehicle.
Inventory Levels Still a Concern for Many Dealers
- While COVID-19 cases are on the rise in many states, especially in the south, many dealer are also still struggling with low inventory levels due to plant shut-downs during March/April/May. (Source: The Detroit News, Auto dealers in states with new virus outbreak have a bigger problem: low inventory)
- A Chevy dealer in Texas said he’s taking ~61 new Chevy’s a month compared to the normal 281 new vehicles a month, with pickup inventory being hardest hit with just 11 trucks in stock compared to the normal 60-70 pickups.
Ford Recalls Nearly 26K Cars in North America
- Affected vehicles are 2016-2020 Lincoln MKX & Nautilus, select 2020 Ford Escape & Transit, and 2021 Ford F-650 and F-750 trucks. (Source: Fox Business, Ford recalls nearly 26k vehicles in North America)
Despite Improvement in June, Low Inventory Levels Still A Big Issue For Many Dealers
Even when showrooms started re-opening in May and June, dealership sales were still hamstrung by low inventory levels due to production stoppages from March to May. (Source: Automotive News, Desperate dealers see vehicles trickling in).
- Jonathan Smoke, chief economist at Cox Automotive, says, “We believe that at least June and July new-vehicle sales will be hampered by this lower supply. And with lower supply, the market will also see lighter incentives.”
Online Car Sales Increasingly More Common as Online Retailing Isn’t Going Away Anytime Soon
- Two-third’s of US consumers have indicated they are likely to buy a car online, with the other third of hold-outs consisting of baby boomers and truck buyers. (Source: S&P Global, US automakers accelerate online selling options during COVID-19 pandemic)
- Ford: With over 72% of Ford dealers in North America offering online sales, about 25% of Ford’s sales are now online.
- FCA: Leads generated from online tools now make up 20% of sales from FCA dealerships, with more than 95% of dealerships offering online tools to consumers.
- Overall, around 81% of all franchised dealerships in the US have online sales options as of May 31, up from just 66% in early April (Source: pymts.com, Are Digital Auto Sales the Shape Of The Future Or Just A Temporary Detour?)
Chevy Ending Production of Sonic; Now Only Two Traditional Passenger Cars Left in Chevy Lineup
- Born out of the 2008 financial crisis for more fuel-efficient, small, domestic vehicles, production of the Chevy Sonic will stop in 2020, leaving the Malibu and Spark as Chevy’s only remaining gas-fueled passenger cars (which some forecasters believe could be canceled by Chevy in the next 5 years). (Source: Automotive News, Chevy to drop Sonic, further scaling back passenger cars).
- Chevy will be using their new production capacity for the Bolt EUV, a larger utility version of their Bolt EV, which will start production in 2021.