Automotive Trends: What We’ve Discovered from Car Buyers This Year (So Far)

The automotive industry is recovering from recent challenges, with many multinational automobile manufacturers witnessing automotive trends and sales bouncing back to pre-pandemic levels. With a recovering and booming automotive industry, we are seeing shifts in consumer behaviors. 

Today’s consumers aren’t just looking for a vehicle with a luxury interior and heated seats, they’re looking for a vehicle that meets their needs with flair, and they want to customize everything down to the purchasing process. 

As drivers hit the road and visit their local dealership, here’s what they’re looking for in their new and improved purchasing journey.

6 Key Consumer Behavior Trends

1. Consumers Crave a New Purchasing Experience

According to recent surveys, 29 percent of automotive consumers are actively seeking VR or partially virtual purchase processes. Car buyers welcome digital vehicle tours and sales. 

Rather than walking from dealership to dealership, the average consumer is turning to test drives from the comfort of their own home. The transition to a digital purchasing experience is expected to evolve with the introduction of more sophisticated vehicle assimilation technology. 

In February, Abarth became the first manufacturer to launch Virtual Reality (VR) test drives from the comfort of the consumer’s home, with Volvo following close behind to introduce mixed reality test drives. 

2. Commuters Seek Health and Wellness Features

The average commuter spends a little over an hour each day commuting to work, adding up to an estimated 5.8 hours of driving a week and 279.8 hours each year. 

In light of the pandemic and a societal focus on health and wellness, industry experts expect to see a rising number of connected vehicles manufactured with health and wellness in mind such as air purifiers and massage seats, predicting a compound annual growth rate of 25 percent through 2025. 

3. Drivers Are Sizing Up and Thinking Big

Globally, automotive trends have shifted to a preference for mid-size vehicles. In January, mid-size vehicle registrations increased by 56 percent, displacing a portion of sedan purchases. 

This increase can be attributed to any number of factors, including added safety features, new connectivity features, or the desire for a car equipped to handle outdoor adventures after spending a year cooped up inside.

4. Car Sales Are Going Green

EV vehicles are both environmentally conscious and great for your budget as they eliminate the need to fuel up. Due to their practicality and California’s new zero-emission vehicle mandates coming into play, forecasts indicate a 70 percent increase in annual EV vehicle sales by the end of 2021. In addition, these sales are expected to climb to a 10 percent overall market share by 2025.

Consumers want more EV vehicle options within their budget. The dealerships that adapt to meet this need are the dealerships that will capture the consumer dollar. 

5. The World Looks Better in Color

In a survey distributed among 4,000 participants, 88 percent of drivers identified color as a key factor in vehicle purchasing decisions. Even more, 46 percent of respondents indicated that color is very or extremely important in their purchasing decisions. 

Despite many drivers owning gray vehicles, the most desired vehicle colors respondents identified were black, blue, and red. 

6. Consumers Prefer More Digital Touchpoints

Recent research shows that 40 percent of car owners indicate willingness to abandon brand loyalty to purchase a vehicle with the advanced connectivity features they want. Today, vehicles with WiFi, vehicle diagnostics technology, GPS-enabled vehicle recovery systems, IoT technology, and other connectivity features are standard. 

Drivers want to connect their phones to Apple CarPlay, let their kids watch cartoons in the back seat, and get text alerts for service scheduling when their vehicle needs maintenance. 

Placing Connectivity in the Hands Drivers

While you can’t re-manufacture your entire lot of cars to follow automotive trends, there are ways to provide your consumers with the connectivity they desire. Elo GPS provides drivers with real-time location tracking, 24/7 theft protection, and smart alerts. Leverage connectivity technology to deliver a smarter connected car experience and drive more sales out the door. To learn how Elo GPS equips your dealership to meet new consumer behavior trends and grow your business, schedule a demo.