Research by Think with Google examined shifts in the automotive industry using search and consumer survey data. The first shift that the researchers uncovered is that people who use car-sharing also buy cars. There has been great concern about the impact of car-sharing services on the auto industry. After all, according to Google query trends, searches for car-sharing services are up 59 percent from the previous year.
Respondents were asked about their car-sharing behavior. The results revealed that 22 percent of respondents that reported having used a car-sharing service within the past month planned to buy or lease a vehicle in the next year. In addition, 80 percent of the respondents who engaged in car-sharing behavior said they already owned or leased a vehicle. Of the consumers who had not used a car-sharing service, only 14 percent planned to buy or lease, and 71 percent already owned or leased.
The study also revealed another trend—that digital is leading the way when it comes to researching products. In the past, when on the market for a vehicle, many have read reviews in magazines, asked friends and family for advice, and visited various dealerships. However, today, consumers are leveraging search and YouTube for videos. This year, consumers spent an average of three hours more time researching than in the previous year. Approximately, 75 percent of this research has been conducted on digital. In fact, one in three adults in the United States watches auto-related content on YouTube at least once per month.
A final trend is that bold brands are thinking digitally. Brands such as Volvo, Tesla, and Jaguar tend to pursue the boldest, digital-first marketing strategies. For example, Tesla hosted a livestream of its Model 3 launch. This livestream logged over 300,000 online orders in the first week. Jaguar conducted homepage takeovers of espn.com, YouTube, Spotify, nytimes.com and others with its new F-Pace SUV. Volvo utilized Google Cardboard which provided a 360-degree viewing experience for their XC90 SUV months before the vehicle was in the showroom.