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Black Consumers and the Car Purchasing Process - US - June 2016

"Black consumers can be influenced by strategic marketing messages during the research and consideration phase of the car buying process as they seek information from multiple sources in their determination of type, make, and model to purchase. Demographics play a role in which resources are most likely to help guide them toward their choice."
- Fiona O'Donnell, Director - Multicultural, Lifestyles, Travel & Leisure Research

This report discusses the following key topics:

  • Black car buyers conscious of their image 
  • Many brands struggle to develop loyalty 
  • Blacks have greater appreciation for foreign cars over domestic

Mintel defines car purchasing as the act or the intended act of buying a new, used, or CPO (certified preowned) vehicle. Types of vehicles referenced include: all cars, station wagons, sedans, pickup trucks, vans, minivans, crossover utility vehicles, and SUVs (sport utility vehicles).

Readers of Black Consumers and the Car Purchasing Process – US June 2016 will learn what influences Black consumers’ decisions to buy a car, what they want in their next vehicle, which resources are they using to research, whose opinions they listen to, and what marketing strategies will be most effective are discussed. Attitudes based on demographics are explored in detail to show how marketers might best position services to the most lucrative segments of the market.

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Table of contents

  1. Overview

    • What you need to know
      • Definition
      • Executive Summary

        • The issues
          • Black car buyers conscious of their image
            • Figure 1: Impact of others’ opinions on Blacks regarding car buying, by gender and age, April 2016
          • Many brands struggle to develop loyalty
            • Figure 2: Blacks’ buying reference – Brand decided versus open, by age and household income, April 2016
          • Blacks have greater appreciation for foreign cars over domestic
            • Figure 3: Attitudes toward automobiles – Foreign versus domestic, Black versus all, October 2014-December 2015
          • The opportunities
            • Black consumers buying on their own and finding the process that works for them
              • Figure 4: Black car buyers’ responsibility for purchase, by gender, April 2016
            • Opportunity for car dealers to improve trust and stand out
              • Figure 5: Blacks’ attitudes toward car dealerships, April 2016
            • Blacks like to buy cars every two or three years
              • Figure 6: Attitudes toward automobiles – Black versus all, October 2014-December 2015
            • What it means
            • The Market – What You Need to Know

              • Six in 10 Blacks planning a car purchase in the next three years
                • Black car buyers conscious of their image
                  • Opportunity to attract Black consumers in luxury segment
                    • Steady economic growth points to consumer spending on cars
                      • Blacks’ unemployment down near prerecession level
                      • Car Purchasing Prospects

                        • Six in 10 Blacks planning a car purchase in the next three years
                          • Figure 7: Vehicle purchase intent, by Black versus all, December 2015 and April 2016
                        • Younger Black men are near-term buyers
                          • Figure 8: Blacks’ vehicle purchase intent, by gender and age and parent status, April 2016
                        • Eagerness to buy increases with income
                          • Figure 9: Blacks’ vehicle purchase intent, by household income, April 2016
                        • Car buying is an individual decision for many Black consumers
                            • Figure 10: Black car buyers’ responsibility for purchase, by gender, April 2016
                          • Young Blacks buying cars on their own
                            • Figure 11: Black car buyers’ responsibility for purchase, by age, April 2016
                        • Market Perspective

                          • Black car buyers conscious of their image
                            • Figure 12: Impact of others’ opinions on Blacks regarding car buying, by gender and age, April 2016
                          • Opportunity to attract Black consumers in luxury segment
                            • Figure 13: Attitudes toward automobiles – Black versus all, October 2014-December 2015
                        • Market Factors

                          • Vehicle age at record high suggesting future opportunity
                            • Figure 14: Average age of passenger cars and light trucks, 1995-2015
                          • Auto sales bubble potentially ready to burst?
                            • Ongoing economic strength bodes well consumer spending on cars
                              • Figure 15: Disposable personal income change from previous period, January 2007-March 2016
                            • Blacks make gains in employment
                              • Figure 16: Black labor force participation and unemployment rate, January 2007-April 2016
                            • Falling gas prices alter car buying demands
                              • Figure 17: US gasoline and diesel retail prices, January 2007-April 2016
                          • Key Players – What You Need to Know

                            • Toyota leads way in advertising to Blacks
                              • Lincoln lands product placement in popular hit Empire
                                • Luxury brands struggle to develop loyalty
                                  • Consumers may soon be buying cars online
                                  • What’s Working?

                                    • Toyota leads way in advertising to Blacks
                                      • Figure 18: Toyota, “Styling Lesson,” presented by Toyota Rav4 Hybrid, television ad, 2016
                                      • Figure 19: Toyota, “Away Game with Michael Smith: Trapeze,” presented by Toyota Corolla, YouTube video, 2015
                                    • Toyota-brand Lexus takes similar approach
                                      • Figure 20: “Lexus RX and Vernon Davis in The Ultimate Crossover: Redefined Dining” video, February 2016
                                    • Lincoln lands product placement in popular hit Empire
                                      • Past Chrysler campaign demonstrates sharp focus on Black community
                                      • What’s Struggling?

                                        • Luxury brands struggle to develop loyalty
                                          • Figure 21: Blacks’ buying reference – Brand/model decided versus open, by household income, April 2016
                                      • What’s Next?

                                        • Consumers may soon be buying cars online
                                            • Figure 22: Scion online ad, 2013
                                        • The Consumer – What You Need to Know

                                          • Black consumers far more likely than the average to own just one vehicle
                                            • Younger Blacks open to any brand or model
                                              • Black women seeking word of mouth referrals
                                                • Blacks researching multiple factors online
                                                  • 18-44-year-old Black men seeking video reviews online
                                                    • Opportunity for car dealers to improve trust and stand out
                                                      • Black consumers choose vehicles with eye toward future
                                                      • Number and Type of Vehicles Owned by Household

                                                        • Most Blacks own a vehicle
                                                          • Figure 23: Vehicle ownership, by race/Hispanic origin, October 2014-December 2015
                                                        • Black consumers far more likely to own just one vehicle
                                                          • Figure 24: Number of vehicles owned/leased by household, Black versus all – Index to all, October 2014-December 2015
                                                        • Majority of Blacks own conventional cars
                                                          • Figure 25: Type of vehicle Black households own, by domestic and foreign types, October 2014-December 2015
                                                      • Plans for Purchase

                                                        • Black consumers, especially those aged 45-54, would rather buy new
                                                          • Figure 26: Blacks’ buying preference – New versus used, by age, April 2016
                                                        • Blacks planning to buy used may be disappointed
                                                          • Figure 27: Type of vehicle planning to purchase – New or used, Black versus all, October 2014-December 2015
                                                        • Younger Blacks open to any brand or model
                                                          • Figure 28: Blacks’ buying reference – Brand/model decided versus open, by age, April 2016
                                                        • Blacks less likely than whites to buy SUV, trucks, or vans
                                                          • Figure 29: Type of vehicle planning to purchase – Type, Black versus all, October 2014-December 2015
                                                        • Many Blacks unsure of whether to buy domestic or foreign
                                                          • Figure 30: Type of vehicle planning to purchase – Domestic or foreign, Black versus all, October 2014-December 2015
                                                        • Some allure to foreign cars among Black car buyers
                                                          • Figure 31: Buick Wedding Commercial starring the all-new Buick Cascada luxury convertible, March 2016
                                                          • Figure 32: Attitudes toward automobiles – Foreign versus domestic, Black versus all, October 2014-December 2015
                                                      • Research Resources

                                                        • In-person experience is key to purchasing process
                                                          • Figure 33: Blacks’ vehicle purchase research plans, April 2016
                                                        • Black men more likely to read car news and reviews
                                                          • Figure 34: Blacks’ vehicle purchase research plans – Men more likely, by gender, April 2016
                                                        • Black women respond to word of mouth
                                                          • Figure 35: Blacks’ vehicle purchase research plans – Women more likely, by gender, April 2016
                                                        • Black consumers want to know what goes on under the hood
                                                          • Figure 36: Attitudes toward automobiles – Interest in cars, Black versus all and indexed to all, October 2014-December 2015
                                                        • Research methods vary for new versus used buyers
                                                          • Figure 37: Blacks' research resources, by new versus used car most recently purchased, October 2014-December 2015
                                                      • Plans for Internet Research

                                                        • Blacks researching multiple factors online
                                                          • Figure 38: Blacks’ plans for using internet research, April 2016
                                                        • Pricing of more interest to women and older Blacks
                                                          • Figure 39: Blacks’ plans for using internet research – Price research, by gender and age, April 2016
                                                        • Younger Black women researching vehicle history
                                                          • Figure 40: Blacks’ plans for using internet research – Other research, by gender and age, April 2016
                                                        • 18-44-year-old Black men seeking video reviews online
                                                          • Figure 41: Blacks’ plans for using internet research – Read reviews, by gender and age, April 2016
                                                        • Already checking inventory, young Blacks perhaps would buy online
                                                          • Figure 42: Blacks’ plans for using internet research – Dealer, by gender and age, April 2016
                                                      • Attitudes toward Car Dealerships

                                                        • Opportunity for car dealers to improve trust and stand out
                                                          • Figure 43: Blacks’ attitudes toward car dealerships, April 2016
                                                        • Older Black women least trusting of dealers
                                                          • Figure 44: Blacks’ attitudes toward car dealerships – Select items, by gender and age, April 2016
                                                        • Young Black men willing to pay extra for better service
                                                          • Figure 45: Blacks’ attitudes toward car dealerships – Select items, by gender and age, April 2016
                                                        • More affluent Blacks willing to pay extra for service
                                                          • Figure 46: Blacks’ attitudes toward car dealerships – Select items, by household income, April 2016
                                                      • Attitudes toward Payments, Price, and Value

                                                        • Black consumers choose vehicles with eye toward future
                                                          • Figure 47: Blacks’ attitudes toward payments, price, value, April 2016
                                                        • Financial education provides opportunity to gain trust with young Blacks
                                                          • Figure 48: Blacks’ attitudes toward payments, price, value, by age, April 2016
                                                        • Fewer 18-34-year-old Blacks want a loan, but prefer dealers when they do
                                                          • Figure 49: Blacks’ buying reference – Loan versus full payment and financing, by age, April 2016
                                                        • For Blacks preferring loans, monthly payment most important
                                                          • Figure 50: Blacks’ attitudes toward payments, by preference for loan versus payment in full, April 2016
                                                      • Appendix – Data Sources and Abbreviations

                                                        • Data sources
                                                          • Consumer survey data
                                                            • Direct marketing creative
                                                              • Abbreviations and terms
                                                                • Abbreviations

                                                                Companies Covered

                                                                To learn more about the companies covered in this report please contact us.

                                                                Black Consumers and the Car Purchasing Process - US - June 2016

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