Description

“Current economic influences and supply chain disruptions have increased barriers for consumers looking to purchase a new or used vehicle. Automotive brands and retailers must cater to consumers’ changing needs and preferences, as well as focus on longer-term efforts for when consumers are ready to return to market. Moving forward, the car buying process will continue to evolve and include a changing role for dealerships and more personalization.”

– Gabe Sanchez, Automotive Analyst

This report covers the following issues:

  • The impact of COVID-19, inflation, supply chain constraints and other market factors on consumer behavior and the car purchasing process
  • Consumers’ research approach when shopping for a car
  • Attitudes toward the car buying process
  • How consumers view the future of car buying

Table of Contents

  1. Overview

    • What you need to know
    • This Report looks at the following areas
    • Definition
    • Market context
  2. Executive Summary

    • Top takeaways
    • Market overview
      • Figure 1: Total US unit sales and fan chart forecast of new and used light vehicles, at current prices, 2016-26
      • Figure 2: Automotive industry outlook, 2022-27
    • Opportunities and challenges
    • Wavering consumer confidence drives consumers to be more critical of their spending
    • Changing consumer behavior highlights importance of taking an omnichannel approach
    • Revisit the role of dealerships for younger consumers; expand into the virtual space
    • Key consumer insights
    • Consumers are most interested in purchasing new cars; used cars are most popular amongst younger consumers
    • In-person elements remain important, but consumers increasingly gravitate to online research
    • Consumer research of fuel/energy efficiency outpaces competitive pricing
    • Supply chain disruptions and economic influences drive worry amongst consumers, especially older consumers
    • Females indicate a discomfort in the car purchasing process
    • Consumers, especially younger consumers, expect the car purchasing process to evolve
  3. Market Size and Forecast

    • Supply chain disruptions and economic influences drive down sales
      • Figure 3: Total US unit sales and fan chart forecast of new and used light vehicles, at current prices, 2016-26
      • Figure 4: Total US unit sales and fan chart forecast of new and used light vehicles, at current prices, 2016-26
  4. Segment Performance

    • Used car sales make up the majority of sales in the US
      • Figure 5: Total US unit sales of new and used light vehicles, by segment, at current prices, 2019 and 2021
  5. Market Factors

    • Wavering consumer confidence drives consumers away from large purchases
      • Figure 6: Consumer Sentiment Index, 2007-22
    • Inflation, supply chain disruptions drive up the cost of new and used vehicles
      • Figure 7: Consumer Price Index, new vehicles and used vehicles, 2017-22
    • US government aims to address chip shortage
    • Gas prices raise concerns amongst consumers
      • Figure 8: US gasoline and diesel retail prices, 2010-22
  6. Competitive Strategies and Market Opportunities

    • CarMax aims to appeal to consumers’ changing preferences and approach to car buying
    • The opportunity: adapt and evolve
      • Figure 9: CarMax leverages star athletes to highlight the conveniences of online car shopping
    • Ford looks to educate consumers through their dealers
    • The opportunity: focus on education efforts internally and externally
      • Figure 10: Ford plans to educate employees through Electric University
    • Create experiences that go beyond traditional dealerships
    • The opportunity: leverage technology to drive engagement and interest
      • Figure 11: McLaren F1 team partners with Roblox to unveil race car, 2022
    • Further the ownership experience
    • The opportunity: provide consumers with opportunity to experience and enjoy their vehicles
      • Figure 12: Bronco Off-Roadeo offers unique experience
  7. The Car Consumer – Fast Facts

  8. Purchase Time Frame

    • Consumers may delay purchasing a vehicle in the short term despite optimism
      • Figure 13: Volvo highlights a commitment to their employees
      • Figure 14: Purchase intent, by generation, 2022
    • Parents indicate a sense of urgency in their purchase intent
      • Figure 15: Purchase intent, by expected life changes; parental status, 2022
      • Figure 16: The Car Mom reviews the Hyundai Palisade
    • Black consumers are most interested in purchasing in the short term
      • Figure 17: Purchase intent, by race and Hispanic origin, 2022
  9. Consideration of Vehicle Type

    • Consumers looking to purchase in the short term are more likely to look to used vehicles
      • Figure 18: Consideration of vehicle type, by car purchase intent, 2022
    • Younger consumers show interest in used cars, but new cars are most sought after
      • Figure 19: Consideration of vehicle type, by generation, 2022
    • Black, Hispanic consumers demonstrate interest in used vehicles; Asian consumers interested in new vehicles
      • Figure 20: Consideration of vehicle type, by race and Hispanic origin, 2022
  10. Research Approach

    • Gen Z consumers spend a bit more time researching
      • Figure 21: Time spent researching, by generation, 2022
    • Consumers steadily shift to online research and away from dealerships
      • Figure 22: Pre-purchase research approach, 2022
    • Consumers leverage a variety of resources in their research
      • Figure 23: Carvana engages consumers with social road trip adventure
      • Figure 24: Research approach for next vehicle, by generation, 2022
    • A blend of in-person and online research provides the greatest reach
      • Figure 25: TURF Analysis – Research behaviors, 2022
    • Social media, auto shows are important to those buying in the short term
      • Figure 26: Bob Rohrman Kia Lafayette features positive dealership review
      • Figure 27: Research approach for next vehicle, by car purchase intent, 2022
    • Hispanic, Black consumers take less encompassing approach
      • Figure 28: Gabrielle Union features a Ford Maverick
      • Figure 29: Research approach for next vehicle, by race and Hispanic origin, 2022
  11. Types of Information Researched

    • Younger consumers research less; older consumers lean on past experience in pursuit of value
      • Figure 30: CarMax offers 24-hour test drives
      • Figure 31: TURF Analysis – Vehicle research, 2022
      • Figure 32: Types of information researched, by generation, 2022
    • Female consumers look to get the most out of their purchase; safety is a priority
      • Figure 33: Subaru ambassador features the Subaru Ascent
      • Figure 34: Types of information researched, by gender, 2022
    • Black, Hispanic consumers research car features the least
      • Figure 35: Types of information researched, by race and Hispanic origin, 2022
  12. Attitudes toward Auto Industry

    • Current conditions spur worry, stress amongst consumers
      • Figure 36: Capital One Auto Navigator aims to address consumer concerns
      • Figure 37: Attitudes toward auto industry – purchasing, by generation, 2022
    • Females have concerns when shopping for a car; industry must evolve to better cater to this consumer group
      • Figure 38: Nissan partners with Brie Larson to promote new vehicle offerings
      • Figure 39: Attitudes toward auto industry – experience, by gender, 2022
  13. Future of Car Buying

    • Consumers expect the car buying process to evolve
      • Figure 40: Future of car buying, by generation, 2022
    • Black, Hispanic consumers look to elements of convenience
      • Figure 41: Future of car buying, by race and Hispanic origin, 2022
  14. Appendix – Data Sources and Abbreviations

    • Data sources
    • Sales data
    • Forecast
    • Consumer survey data
    • Consumer qualitative research
    • Marketing creative
    • Abbreviations and terms
    • Abbreviations
    • Terms
  15. Appendix – The Market

      • Figure 42: Total US unit sales and fan chart forecast of new light vehicles, at current prices, 2016-26
      • Figure 43: Total US unit sales and fan chart forecast of used light vehicles, at current prices, 2016-26

About the report

This market report provides in-depth analysis and insight supported by a range of data. At the same time, introductory and top-level content is provided to give you an overview of the issues covered.

Market

Mintel provides a range of market information, frequently through the category level, including market size and forecasting, complete with market drivers that illustrate the forces that shape a category or market.

Consumer

Mintel’s proprietary consumer research provides our analysts with the attitudinal and behavioral data used to provide valuable insight to topical issues.

Brand/Company

Mintel provides overviews of the top brands and manufacturers, and uses consumer research to explore attitudes and reactions to brands, as well as insight into what will resonate with consumers.

Data

Market reports provide appendices of data to support the research and insight produced. Our tables of data are easily manipulated and downloadable to support your research needs and covers factors from consumer attitudes to market forecasts.

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