Auto Shows to Maintain Influence over Consumer Purchase Decisions

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A key aspect of any auto manufacturer’s marketing mix is the auto show. These events have long served as showcases where manufacturers can tout their latest designs for reporters and consumers. But given the expense required to participate in an auto show, can a manufacturer expect a return on investment? According to Foresight Research, a market research firm, the answer is yes. After reviewing this topic for 5 years and surveying consumers on purchase habits, Foresight released its study and emphasized the following findings:

  • At least 1 in 5 new car buyers attends an auto show in the year preceding the purchase
  • The Midwest markets, with larger emphasis on auto shows, experience an even higher visit rate. Over 1 in 3 new car buyers in the Detroit and Cleveland markets has visited auto shows in the year preceding the purchase
  • Walking through the show and watching demonstrations influences 39% of the buyers either completely or partially when it comes to final brand selection
  • Auto show participants who are lucky enough to ride and drive a demo vehicle report even higher rates of influence: 54%

Steve Bruyn, President of Foresight Research, who notes that auto shows play an integral role in consumer purchase decisions says “consider the fact that a whopping 70% of auto show attendees who said they were influenced to purchase a new vehicle by the show recalled spending 30 minutes or more at the display of the brand they ultimately purchased.”

Based on these findings, it seems that auto manufacturers would do well to continue investing in auto shows as part of their complete marketing package.

[Research Reveals Influence of Auto Shows, Foresight Research, 2.9.2010]
Kathy Crosett
Kathy is the Vice President of Research for SalesFuel. She holds a Masters in Business Administration from the University of Vermont and oversees a staff of researchers, writers and content providers for SalesFuel. Previously, she was co-owner of several small businesses in the health care services sector.