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Car Purchasing Process - Canada - May 2015

“The challenge for automotive manufacturers is multi-faceted with bottom line results relying on factors such as attracting new customers to a brand, for example Millennials, who are less car-dependent than in previous decades and who rely on mobile technology in their everyday lives. Additionally, automotive brands face production uncertainty in Canada and the fallout that occurs with vehicle recalls.”
– Andrew Zmijak, Research Analyst, Consumer Behaviour and Social Media

This report looks at the following areas:

  • Reaching Millennial car buyers
  • Increasing vehicle ownership in Canada through immigration
  • There’s something about Quebec
  • Social media can combat negative press concerning manufacturer recalls

With a number of technological improvements enhancing the car buying research process, and the competition within the automotive sales market being very aggressive, the car buying consumer has never been as informed as he or she is today.

This report explores how auto manufacturers, car dealers and affiliated media such as car research and vehicle inventory websites can compete in an increasingly competitive space, particularly for players looking to pick up incremental sales or those looking to defend their current share of the marketplace.

The primary focus of this report will be based on the results of Mintel’s exclusive research and focuses on the car purchasing process; including the vehicle purchase decision, vehicle purchase period, the type of vehicle consumers intend to purchase, vehicle purchase motivations, the research process, the use of research resources and mobile devices used in the car purchasing process. As well, trends/innovations, issues and insights, and profiles of major automotive research resources are explored.

For the purpose of this report, Mintel defines car purchasing as the act or the intended act of buying a new, used, or certified pre-owned (CPO) vehicle.

Types of vehicles referenced in this report include the following: compact, crossover, mid-size, SUV, full-size, pickup truck, subcompact, van, luxury, and sports car.

 

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Table of contents

  1. Introduction

      • Definition
        • Abbreviations
        • Executive Summary

            • Market Drivers
              • Canada’s population is aging and will continue to do so in the coming years
                • Figure 1: Population aged 65 years and over in Canada, historical and projected (% of total), 1971-2061
              • The consumer
                • Most Canadians are planning on purchasing a vehicle(s) in the next 3 years
                  • Figure 2: Planning vehicle purchase in next 3 years, February 2015
                • Canadians are not waiting long term for their next vehicle
                  • Figure 3: Purchase period of next vehicle(s), February 2015
                • Most consumers are planning to purchase a new vehicle
                  • Figure 4: New, used, or certified pre-owned, February 2015
                • Life stage is the biggest determinant of vehicle choice
                  • Figure 5: Classification of vehicle intend to purchase, February 2015
                • Mileage of vehicle and fuel economy are key purchase motivators
                  • Figure 6: Reasons for purchasing next vehicle, February 2015
                • The test drive remains top in the car purchasing process
                  • Figure 7: Type of research planned before next vehicle purchase, February 2015
                • Manufacturer website(s) the key research resource
                  • Figure 8: Likelihood to use research resources, February 2015
                • Researching cost and reviews are most commonly done via mobile device
                  • Figure 9: Purpose of mobile device use in the car purchasing process, February 2015
                • What we think
                • Issues and Insights

                    • Reaching Millennial car buyers
                      • The facts
                        • The implications
                          • Increasing vehicle ownership in Canada through immigration
                            • The facts
                              • The implications
                                • There’s something about Quebec
                                  • The facts
                                    • The implications
                                      • Social media can combat negative press concerning manufacturer recalls
                                        • The facts
                                          • The implications
                                          • Trend Application

                                              • Return to the Experts
                                                • Green and Lean
                                                  • Prepare for the Worst
                                                  • Market Drivers

                                                    • Key points
                                                      • Demographic overview
                                                        • Canadian population count
                                                          • Figure 10: Share of population of Canada, by territory/province, 2014
                                                        • Canada’s population is aging and will continue to do so in the coming years
                                                          • Figure 11: Population aged 65 years and over in Canada, historical and projected (% of total), 1971-2061
                                                        • Immigration and ethnic diversity in Canada
                                                          • Figure 12: Region of birth of immigrants, by period of immigration, Canada, 2011
                                                        • Economic overview
                                                          • Overall negative impact of lower oil prices on the Canadian economy
                                                            • Figure 13: Canada’s GDP (% change), by quarter, Q4 2008-Q4 2014
                                                            • Figure 14: Household disposable income and savings rate in Canada, Q4 2008-Q4 2014
                                                          • Wealth distribution in Canada
                                                            • Figure 15: Canada median net worth, by province, 2012
                                                          • Canada’s employment rate has been steady, however, high levels of household debt and consumer confidence may impact car purchasing
                                                            • Figure 16: Canada’s unemployment rate, by gender, January 2008-January 2015
                                                          • Household debt in Canada
                                                            • Consumer confidence wavers with falling oil prices
                                                              • Figure 17: Consumer Confidence Index, monthly, January 2008-January 2015
                                                            • Key economic indicators suggest cost of car maintenance has been stable
                                                              • Figure 18: Monthly movements in selected major components of the Canadian Consumer Price Index, seasonally adjusted, March 2010-March 2015
                                                          • Who’s Innovating?

                                                            • Key points
                                                              • Electric and hybrid technology striving for the masses
                                                                  • Figure 19: BMW i3 email advertisement, January 2015
                                                                • Fuel efficiency of vehicles is on the rise
                                                                  • Auto technology shaping the future for drivers
                                                                    • Multicultural marketing gaining ground
                                                                      • Figure 20: Kingsway Toyota, Toronto, Ontario, Direct Mail, 2014
                                                                      • Figure 21: Stampede Toyota, Calgary, Alberta, direct mail, January 2015
                                                                  • Automotive Websites and Resources

                                                                      • Internet resources are tops in the car purchasing process
                                                                        • Figure 22: Likelihood to use research resources (any likely), by age, February 2015
                                                                      • Third-party research resources provide consumers with a consolidated source for local new/used vehicle inventory
                                                                        • Major vehicle research resource profiles
                                                                          • Autotrader.ca
                                                                            • Autos.ca
                                                                              • Autoblog Canada
                                                                                • Car and Driver
                                                                                  • Carproof.com
                                                                                    • Consumer Reports
                                                                                      • Driving.ca
                                                                                        • Edmunds.com
                                                                                          • Kelley Blue Book
                                                                                            • Motor Trend
                                                                                              • Wheels.ca
                                                                                              • Social Media – Car Purchasing Process

                                                                                                • Key findings
                                                                                                  • Market overview
                                                                                                    • Key social media metrics
                                                                                                      • Figure 23: Key social media metrics, May 2015
                                                                                                    • Brand usage and awareness
                                                                                                      • Figure 24: Brand usage and awareness for selected automotive manufacturer brands, February 2015
                                                                                                    • Interactions with automotive brands
                                                                                                      • Figure 25: interactions with selected automotive manufacturer brands, February 2015
                                                                                                    • Social media activity and campaigns
                                                                                                      • What we think
                                                                                                        • Online conversations
                                                                                                          • Figure 26: Online conversations for selected automotive manufacturer brands, by day, May 20, 2014-May 20, 2015
                                                                                                        • Where are people talking about automobile brands?
                                                                                                          • Figure 27: Online conversations for selected automotive manufacturer brands, by page type, May 20, 2014-May 20, 2015
                                                                                                        • What are people talking about?
                                                                                                            • Figure 28: Topics of conversation around selected automotive manufacturer brands, May 20, 2014-May 20, 2015
                                                                                                        • The Consumer – Purchase Decision

                                                                                                          • Key points
                                                                                                            • Most Canadians are planning on purchasing a vehicle(s) in the next three years
                                                                                                              • Figure 29: Planning vehicle purchase in next 3 years, February 2015
                                                                                                            • Males more likely to be definite about their vehicle purchasing plan
                                                                                                            • The Consumer – Purchase Period

                                                                                                              • Key points
                                                                                                                • Canadians are not waiting long term for their next vehicle(s)
                                                                                                                  • Figure 30: Purchase period of next vehicle(s), February 2015
                                                                                                                  • Figure 31: Purchase period of next vehicle(s), by gender, February 2015
                                                                                                                  • Figure 32: Purchase period of next vehicle(s) within the next year, by presence of children, February 2015
                                                                                                              • The Consumer – Vehicle Purchase Intention

                                                                                                                • Key points
                                                                                                                  • Most consumers are planning to purchase a new vehicle
                                                                                                                    • Figure 33: New, used, or certified pre-owned, February 2015
                                                                                                                  • Male over-35s are most likely to purchase new vehicles
                                                                                                                    • Figure 34: New, used, or certified pre-owned, by gender and age, February 2015
                                                                                                                • The Consumer – Vehicle Purchase Consideration

                                                                                                                  • Key points
                                                                                                                    • Lifestage is the biggest determinant of vehicle choice
                                                                                                                      • Figure 35: Net classification of vehicle intend to purchase, February 2015
                                                                                                                      • Figure 36: Classification of vehicle intend to purchase, February 2015
                                                                                                                  • The Consumer – Purchase Motivations

                                                                                                                    • Key points
                                                                                                                      • Mileage of vehicle and fuel economy are key purchase motivators
                                                                                                                        • Figure 37: Reasons for purchasing next vehicle, February 2015
                                                                                                                      • Larger households with children are in need of another vehicle for the family
                                                                                                                          • Figure 38: Need another vehicle for the family, by household size, February 2015
                                                                                                                      • The Consumer – Research Process

                                                                                                                        • Key points
                                                                                                                          • The test drive remains top in the car purchasing process
                                                                                                                            • Figure 39: Type of research planned before next vehicle purchase, February 2015
                                                                                                                          • Quebecers are less interested in most vehicle research
                                                                                                                            • Figure 40: Type of research planned before next vehicle purchase, Quebec vs overall, February 2015
                                                                                                                          • Suburbanites are more interested in most vehicle research
                                                                                                                            • Figure 41: Type of research planned before next vehicle purchase, suburban vs urban, February 2015
                                                                                                                        • The Consumer – Research Resources

                                                                                                                          • Key points
                                                                                                                            • Manufacturer and dealer websites are the go to source
                                                                                                                              • Figure 42: Likelihood to use research resources, February 2015
                                                                                                                              • Figure 43: Likelihood to use research resources, 18-44s vs over-45s, February 2015
                                                                                                                            • Those newer to the country are more research-savvy
                                                                                                                              • Figure 44: Likelihood to use research resources, by birth location, February 2015
                                                                                                                            • Quebecers continue to exhibit research-phobic behaviour
                                                                                                                              • Figure 45: Likelihood to use research resources, Quebec vs overall, February 2015
                                                                                                                          • The Consumer – Mobile Device Use in the Car Purchasing Process

                                                                                                                            • Key points
                                                                                                                              • Researching cost and reviews are most commonly done via mobile device
                                                                                                                                • Figure 46: Purpose of mobile device use in the car purchasing process, February 2015
                                                                                                                              • Canadian men are more likely to use mobile devices during the car purchasing process
                                                                                                                                • Figure 47: Purpose of mobile device use in the car purchasing process (select), 18-44s vs over-45s, February 2015

                                                                                                                            Companies Covered

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

                                                                                                                            Car Purchasing Process - Canada - May 2015

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