It has come to our attention that consumer buying behaviour in the Irish car sales industry is shifting. Current reports indicate a steady decline in new car sales, whereas the volume of used car sales is on the rise. We wanted to investigate this further and find out exactly what impact this could potentially have on the key players in the auto industry. The first question we need to ask is whether there is sufficient information to suggest a significant change.
Overall Sales Figures Suggests: Yes
It was the Irish Times newspaper that first reported on the decline of new car sales. Their report highlights a 13.8% drop on all new car sales compared to last year, with diesel-powered cars suffering a higher 16.6% drop. Further information from the Society of the Irish Motor Industry highlights the same correlation in registration numbers as well. Registration of new cars has fallen by 10.3%, whereas registrations of used imports has risen by 35.6%.
The message is clear; customers are moving away from spending money on the latest automobile models and are settling for used vehicles. Used cars, when kept in good condition, perform just as well as new models and cost, on average, a lot less. This can be cited as the main motivation behind this sudden migration in consumer preference. Steep car prices and locked incomes contribute to the need for cost-effective alternatives.
But what are people saying?
For a start, it is evident that there’s an increased search for used cars
One news article is not enough to convince us, so we’ve referred to one of the most reliable sources out there: Google Trends. If there’s a significant change in consumer behaviour, it’s going to be reflected in what people search on Google. We’ve kept an eye on all relevant keywords for the car sales sector and discovered that “used cars” has grown in popularity as a search term in Ireland. The same can be said about any keyword combination of “used cars”. “North country used cars”, “Dan Seaman Used Cars” and more are receiving impressive boosts in search.
In short, the automotive industry is experiencing a substantial shift as more and more people turn to used car dealers and individual sellers.
Carzone.ie backs this claim in a survey it conducted in the first half of the year, although in a more roundabout way. The survey asked respondents how often they changed their cars. The answers are more than illuminating:
- Roughly 50% of all respondents answered that they change their car every 5 years;
- On the extreme end of the spectrum, 7% admit to doing so every 2 years;
- 60% of all respondents reveal they’re considering purchasing a car;
- 59% intend on selling their current car within the year.
You can imagine all these cars have to find a new home. Supply meets demand – and the rest is a 101 lesson in economics. These are the conditions that drive the market right now, and car dealers who have a large stock of used cars for sale can take full advantage. It’s time to shift gears and enter the online world, because…
Customers Are Moving Their Shopping to the Digital World (Yes, cars too!)
Carzone.ie has registered over 67 million searches in a five-month period – that should be reason enough to invest in an extensive online presence. Not convinced? You should read our findings about consumer behaviour during Black Friday. The one day in the year that normally means intense crowding at physical locations has almost completely moved to online shopping. Customers are turning to the Internet for bigger purchases out of convenience. Cars are just the latest product to make that list.
Online, customers can easily narrow down exactly what they want in a vehicle, weigh all options with care and take little to no time doing so. If you spend most of your days working at an office, finding the time to visit physical dealerships during the initial stages of purchase is close to impossible. Customers want to make the visit to their dealer count, so they do all research remotely.
Decision making has now been relegated to the wild expanses of the Internet, and you can profit easily with the right marketing tools and mechanisms.
Tailored Display Ads Always Close the Deal
Buying a car, especially one that has been previously used, is a big decision to make. Even the more affordable deals are considerable investments, so converting clicks to purchases takes a little longer compared to household electronics, for instance. Persistence is key and it’s why display ads tailored to interested buyers is the way to go.
How does this technique work? Once someone clicks on a deal for a used car, an ad for the same car is going to follow this potential customer across sites and platforms for a period of 30 days. Roughly a month is considered the time it takes for a person to decide on buying a car. Right! So now that the clock is ticking, dealers have ample opportunities to convince a potential customer that this is the deal for them.
However, simple repetition is not going to do much. You need a competitive edge – an incentive. Throw in free road tax, free year’s servicing or a cashback offer (if we’re talking about a national dealership). Cars, no matter how economic, demand resources and come with additional expenses, so any offer to alleviate the cost of car maintenance is going to be a decisive factor in your favour. Sweeten the deal, find new ways to reach your target audience consistently and you’ll find your car parked in a new garage in no time.
What’s the Secret to Successful Display Advertising?
The one-word answer is transparency. Show your car in the best possible light. The main rule when purchasing a vehicle is to look at every single detail. Obviously, since your customers are going to be researching online, you need the next best thing to the physical car, which is high-resolution pictures. Photograph your cars from every angle and make sure that there’s sufficient light. You don’t want to let customers think you’re hiding something.
The rest can be done by a professional. The good thing about display advertising is that it’s a very affordable option and has a fast return on investment. Sales-Promotions can take you through the steps for setting up a promotional campaign over a period of time. As the client, you have creative control over the details, while we work to stretch the value of your budget. Your FREE consultation gives you the blueprint for kicking your conversion rate into high gear. Give us the word and we’ll put the pedal to the metal.