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Black Consumers' Attitudes toward Car Buying - US - June 2015

“Currently at more than $1 trillion, Black spending power is expected to climb by 2019 – and growth continues to outpace that of Whites, despite lower incomes. Black consumers’ love for cars, the role they play in shaping their image, attraction to technology, and high receptivity to advertising makes them a prime target for marketers.”
Tonya Roberts, Multicultural Analyst

This report covers the following areas: 

  • How do Blacks feel about the car buying process?
  • What are some resources Blacks turn to when shopping for a new vehicle?
  • Which brands are on their consideration list? Which brands would they definitely not consider?
  • How brand loyal are Blacks?
  • What should manufacturers consider including in advertising messages?

The Black population represents roughly 13% of the US population, and more than $1 trillion in spending power. The growth in the Black population and buying power continues to outpace that of Whites. Despite having lower household incomes (driven by a higher percentage of single households), Black consumers spend on average about the same as other consumers on vehicles. Blacks are very image conscious and believe strongly that what a person drives says a lot about them. Their vehicle is an extension of who they are, and they look for vehicles that are not only stylish but also well equipped with the latest advancements in technology.

Black consumers lead very different lifestyles and have different family dynamics from mainstream America. They are highly receptive to advertising that not only speaks to them on a personal level but also on a cultural level. Marketers that are winning among them are brands that have been building a long-standing relationship. Blacks are very image-driven, and what they drive says a lot about them. While styling is important, Blacks also rely on technology innovations to send a message that they are smart, tech-savvy, and serious about protecting what matters the most – their family, which is why safety innovations are very appealing. At the same time, the majority own the latest personal tech devices, and they are looking for vehicles that help them to stay connected and integrated with these devices. At the end of the day, Blacks are looking for a vehicle that gives them conveniences and a sense of control through its safety and security features.

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Table of contents

  1. Overview

    • What you need to know
      • Definition
        • Data sources
          • Abbreviations and terms
            • Abbreviations
            • Executive Summary

                • Market drivers
                  • Leading companies and marketing strategies
                    • Brand Analysis: Ford
                      • Brand Analysis: Toyota
                        • The consumer
                          • New vehicle consideration is up, interest in trucks is strong
                            • Figure 1: Blacks' expected car buying timing, by gender and age, January 2015
                          • Financial needs and emotional wants motivate search
                            • Different tactics may be required to reach the right consumer
                              • Blacks are positive about shopping, especially those ready within two years
                                • Figure 2: Correspondence analysis – Black consumers' attitudes toward the car shopping process, by Blacks' expected car buying timing, January 2015
                              • Ford, Toyota, and Nissan among top three brands considered
                                • Figure 3: Top 10 vehicle brands that Blacks are seriously considering, January 2015
                              • Asian and domestic owners less likely to switch to European imports
                                • Figure 4: Loyalty among European, Asian, and domestic owners, January 2015
                              • Blacks willing to pay more for safety technology, education needed
                                • Safety is critical, but more personal and cultural connection will attract Millennials
                                  • Blacks want connectivity and integration with their personal devices
                                    • What we think
                                    • Issues and Insights

                                        • Safety technology not enough to woo Black Millennials
                                          • The issues
                                            • The opportunity
                                              • Financing is the elephant in the room
                                                • The issue
                                                  • The opportunity
                                                    • Brands without targeted efforts are suffering
                                                      • The issue
                                                        • The opportunity
                                                        • Trend Application

                                                            • Trend: Make it Mine
                                                              • Trend: Prepare for the Worst
                                                                • Trend: Life Hacking
                                                                • Market Drivers

                                                                  • Key points
                                                                    • Lower gas prices may pump more into truck and luxury car sales
                                                                      • Reverse migration likely to add fuel to fire in Blacks’ love for cars
                                                                      • Leading Companies and Marketing Strategies

                                                                        • Key points
                                                                          • Technology and Innovation
                                                                            • Brand Analysis: General Motors
                                                                              • Brand Analysis: Mercedes Benz
                                                                                • Strong commitment to Blacks pays off, Ford and Toyota are examples
                                                                                  • Brand Analysis: Ford
                                                                                    • Brand Analysis: Toyota
                                                                                      • Black advertising clusters and automotive intenders
                                                                                        • Cluster #1: Cultural Activists (53% of the Black population)
                                                                                          • Cluster #2: Cultural-listics (28% of the Black population)
                                                                                            • Cluster #3: Cultural Advocates (19% of the Black population)
                                                                                            • The Opportunities

                                                                                              • Key points
                                                                                                • Nearly three in 10 Blacks in market for new car in less than a year
                                                                                                  • Figure 5: Blacks' expected car buying timing, by gender and age, January 2015
                                                                                                • Financial needs and emotional wants drive vehicle intention and timing
                                                                                                  • Figure 6: Financial motivations for buying a new car within the next three years, January 2015
                                                                                                  • Figure 7: Emotional motivations for buying a new car within the next three years, January 2015
                                                                                                • Only two in 10 say finances are preventing them from buying a vehicle
                                                                                                  • Figure 8: Reasons why Blacks are not buying a new car within the next three years, by gender, January 2015
                                                                                                • Intention to buy new up from previous purchase
                                                                                                  • Figure 9: New versus used next vehicle intentions, by race/Hispanic origin, November 2013 - December 2014
                                                                                                • SUVs and crossovers are among top models Blacks want next
                                                                                                  • Figure 10: Types of vehicles Blacks are considering, January 2015
                                                                                              • Research Resources Used

                                                                                                • Key points
                                                                                                  • Websites, whether OEM, dealer, or third-party highly effective resources
                                                                                                    • Figure 11: Sources of information that Blacks use when shopping for a vehicle, January 2015
                                                                                                  • Different strategies required to reach Blacks of different generations
                                                                                                    • Figure 12: Sources of information that Blacks use when shopping for a vehicle, by generation, January 2015
                                                                                                • Attitudes toward the Car Shopping Process

                                                                                                  • Key point
                                                                                                    • Correspondence analysis
                                                                                                      • Methodology
                                                                                                        • Shopping for car evokes positive emotions, particularly among those shopping sooner
                                                                                                            • Figure 13: Correspondence analysis – Black consumers' attitudes toward the car shopping process, by Blacks' expected car buying timing, January 2015
                                                                                                        • Vehicle Consideration Set

                                                                                                          • Key points
                                                                                                            • European imports lagging Asian imports and domestics on ownership and consideration
                                                                                                              • Figure 14: Blacks’ interest in purchasing a domestic, Asian import and European import, January 2015
                                                                                                            • Toyota, Nissan, GM, Ford doing well, targeted efforts may be paying off
                                                                                                              • Figure 15: Top 10 make of vehicles that Blacks are seriously considering next, January 2015
                                                                                                          • Loyalty, Retention, and Defection

                                                                                                            • Key points
                                                                                                              • Only one in 10 Blacks own a European import, about four in 10 own domestic or Asian imports
                                                                                                                • Figure 16: Automotive brands Blacks own, January 2015
                                                                                                              • European owners more likely to go domestic than other way around
                                                                                                                • Figure 17: Loyalty among European, Asian, and domestic owners, January 2015
                                                                                                            • Attitudes toward Technology and Innovation

                                                                                                              • Key point
                                                                                                                • As technology evolves, dealer staff will be critical in education and driving the need
                                                                                                                  • Figure 18: Blacks’ attitudes toward automotive technology and innovation, January 2015
                                                                                                                • Three in 10 Blacks willing to pay more for safety features
                                                                                                                  • Figure 19: Impact technology and innovation have on willingness to pay more, January 2015
                                                                                                              • Desired Safety Features

                                                                                                                • Key points
                                                                                                                  • Blind spot warnings are leading safety feature Blacks want
                                                                                                                    • Figure 20: Blacks’ interest in new safety innovations, January 2015
                                                                                                                  • Safety technology less appealing to Black Millennials
                                                                                                                    • Figure 21: Appeal of certain safety features, by generations, January 2015
                                                                                                                  • Integrated technology has more appeal
                                                                                                                    • Figure 22: Appeal of certain technology features, by generation, January 2015
                                                                                                                • Desired Entertainment and Convenience Features

                                                                                                                  • Key points
                                                                                                                    • Two-thirds want a built-in GPS, cell phone laws may be a driver
                                                                                                                      • Figure 23: Blacks’ interest in convenience features, January 2015
                                                                                                                      • Figure 24: Interest in other convenience and comfort features, January 2015
                                                                                                                    • Blacks drawn to entertainment features that connect them to personal devices
                                                                                                                      • Figure 25: Blacks’ interest in entertainment features, January 2015
                                                                                                                    • Personal tech devices diminish appeal of some features
                                                                                                                      • Figure 26: Interest in new entertainment innovations among Blacks, January 2015
                                                                                                                  • Appendix – The US Black Population

                                                                                                                      • Key points
                                                                                                                        • Buying power
                                                                                                                          • Figure 27: Buying power trends among Black consumers, 1990-2019 (projections)
                                                                                                                        • Black buying power is growing at a faster rate than that of White consumers
                                                                                                                          • Figure 28: Changes in buying power, by race, June 2014
                                                                                                                        • Black buying power more than $1 trillion
                                                                                                                          • Figure 29: Top 10 states or areas ranked by share of Black buying power, 2014
                                                                                                                        • Top 10 states with highest buying power represent two-thirds of buying power
                                                                                                                          • Figure 30: Top 10 states ranked by value of Black buying power, 2014
                                                                                                                        • Population statistics
                                                                                                                          • Black population growing at a faster rate than Whites
                                                                                                                            • Figure 31: Population by race and Hispanic origin, 2010-20
                                                                                                                          • Children younger than 18 account for 26% of Black population
                                                                                                                            • Figure 32: Black population, by age, 2010-20
                                                                                                                          • Geographic concentration
                                                                                                                            • Majority of Blacks reside in the South; a different marketing approach may be needed
                                                                                                                              • Figure 33: Black geographic concentration, by region, 2010
                                                                                                                            • Population grows in the South, reverse migration may be occurring
                                                                                                                              • Figure 34: Top 20 states or areas with highest Black population and percentage change from 2000-10
                                                                                                                            • New York, Chicago, Philadelphia, Detroit, and Houston are top Black metros
                                                                                                                              • Figure 35: Top 10 cities with the largest population of Blacks, 2010
                                                                                                                            • More than 80% of Detroit’s and Jackson’s population is Black
                                                                                                                              • Figure 36: Top 10 cities with the highest percentage of Blacks [in millions], 2010
                                                                                                                            • Gender
                                                                                                                              • Figure 37: Men by race and Hispanic origin, 2009-19
                                                                                                                              • Figure 38: Women by race and Hispanic origin, 2009-19
                                                                                                                            • Generations
                                                                                                                              • iGeneration and Millennials represent nearly half of Black population
                                                                                                                                • Figure 39: Population of generations, by race/Hispanic origin, 2014
                                                                                                                                • Figure 40: Distribution of population by race and generation, 2015
                                                                                                                              • Black Families
                                                                                                                                • Blacks households outnumber other multicultural groups, most headed by women
                                                                                                                                  • Figure 41: Number of households in US, by race/Hispanic origin, January 2015
                                                                                                                                • Black households nearly four times likely as Whites to be headed by women
                                                                                                                                  • Figure 42: Household living situation, by race/Hispanic origin, 2014
                                                                                                                                • Only one-third of Blacks are married, compared to 50% or more of others
                                                                                                                                  • Figure 43: Percentage of married and not married people aged 18 or older, by race and Hispanic origin, 2013
                                                                                                                                • Blacks twice as likely never to marry
                                                                                                                                  • Figure 44: Marital status of adults aged 18 or older, by race/Hispanic origin, 2013
                                                                                                                                  • Figure 45: Marital status of Blacks, by age, 2013
                                                                                                                                  • Figure 46: Marital status of Black adults, by gender, 2013
                                                                                                                                • More than one quarter of Black households are headed by women
                                                                                                                                  • Figure 47: Household type, by race of householder, 2013
                                                                                                                                • More Black children born to unmarried women in 2012
                                                                                                                                  • Figure 48: Fertility rate, by race and Hispanic origin of mother, 2002-12
                                                                                                                                  • Figure 49: Percentage of births to unmarried mothers, by race and Hispanic origin of mother, 2002 and 2012
                                                                                                                                  • Figure 50: Households with own children, by race and Hispanic origin of householder, 2013
                                                                                                                                  • Figure 51: Who children live with, by race and Hispanic origin, 2012
                                                                                                                                  • Figure 52: Black households, by presence and ages of own children, 2013
                                                                                                                                • Households headed by father only increased since 2010
                                                                                                                                  • Figure 53: Family households headed by the father only, by race/Hispanic origin, January 2015
                                                                                                                                • Education
                                                                                                                                  • Majority of Blacks seek college, while others may be relying on entrepreneurship
                                                                                                                                    • Figure 54: Educational attainment of Blacks aged 25 or older, by age, 2012
                                                                                                                                  • Income
                                                                                                                                    • Blacks have lower household incomes, attributed to several factors besides occupation
                                                                                                                                      • Figure 55: Median household income, by race and Hispanic origin of householder, 2013
                                                                                                                                    • Average incomes up 17% in a 10-year period
                                                                                                                                      • Figure 56: Median household income for households headed by Blacks, in inflation-adjusted dollars, 2003-13
                                                                                                                                  • Appendix – Trade Associations

                                                                                                                                    Companies Covered

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                                                                                                                                    Black Consumers' Attitudes toward Car Buying - US - June 2015

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