MAX Consumer Insights surveyed over 3000 people between the ages of 25 and 55 to understand how interest in purchasing a vehicle for this core automotive buying audience has changed due to the coronavirus outbreak. While the details of the national study are covered in the original survey results, this article details the areas where survey results varied significantly by region from the national results. A summary of the regional differences are highlighted below.
Purchase patterns varied by region.
- Nationally, thirteen percent of people who were not originally in the market prior to the coronavirus outbreak entered the market to purchase a vehicle. In East South Central states eighteen percent of respondents entered the market while only eight percent entered from Mountain states.
- Residents of the Middle Atlantic and East North Central states were more motivated to purchase for health and safety.
- The Middle Atlantic was the region most interested in buying new cars while New England was the region most interested in late model pre-owned vehicles.
- East South Central residents were most likely to buy sooner than originally planned.
- East North Central residents were most likely to buy online now.
- South Central residents are most comfortable with the process just like it is, while New England buyers wanted to see modifications for health and safety.
See all of the data and details below for insights to the regional opportunities.
Entering the Market Post-Coronavirus Outbreak
Nationally, thirteen percent of respondents who were not initially in market prior to the coronavirus outbreak, indicated that they were now in market to purchase a vehicle within the next six months.
The top region for residents entering the market post-coronavirus outbreak was the East South Central group of states at eighteen percent of residents surveyed now interested in purchasing a vehicle. Four states make up this group: Alabama, Kentucky, Mississippi, and Tennessee.
Conversely only eight percent of residents the Mountain states: Arizona, Colorado, Idaho, New Mexico, Montana, Utah, Nevada, and Wyoming were now entering the market.
The rest of the state groupings were not significantly different than the thirteen percent overall.
Now, are you planning on buying a vehicle within the next six months?
Shoppers in the Middle Atlantic and North Central States were more motivated to purchase by health and safety than other regions.
While the primary motivation for buying a car across regions continued to be time to upgrade, there were significant differences on “for health and safety reasons.” Nationally nine percent of all shoppers indicated health and safety as a primary motivation. In the Middle Atlantic states including New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania, thirteen percent of respondents indicated health and safety as primary. In the East North Central states including Wisconsin, Michigan, Illinois, Indiana, and Ohio, twelve percent of respondents indicated health and safety as the primary motivation for vehicle purchase. Motivation driven by health and safety was lowest in the East South Central and West North Central regions with only five percent of respondents in these regions indicating health and safety at the primary motivation. These regions include: Kentucky, Tennessee, Mississippi, Alabama, as well as North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas, Minnesota, Iowa, and Missouri.
Now, what is your primary motivation for purchasing a vehicle?
Middle Atlantic shoppers were most interested in buying new cars while New England shoppers were most interested in late model pre-owned cars.
Interest in new cars for residents of the Middle Atlantic States was higher than any other region at thirty-eight percent of people indicating they would purchase a new vehicle versus the national average of thirty percent. Interest in 1-3 year old used vehicles was highest for residents of New England.
Prior to the coronavirus outbreak, what type of vehicle were you thinking about buying?
East South Central residents were most likely to buy sooner than originally planned.
Shoppers in the East South Central region were on an accelerated timeline with fourteen percent of people planning to purchase sooner than before versus five percent nationally.
Has your planned time frame to purchase a vehicle changed due to the impact of the coronavirus outbreak?
East North Central residents most likely to buy online now.
Nationally, once a shopper has located the car they are interested in, seven percent of people surveyed indicated they would purchase that vehicle online next. In the East North Central region a little over nine percent of people indicated they would be interested in buying online now. The highest of all of the regions surveyed.
South Central residents are most comfortable with the process just like it is.
The East and West South Central regions had sixty-two and sixty-one percent of resident respondents respectively indicate they are comfortable with the traditional process without changes. That is the highest of all of the regions surveyed and includes the states of Alabama, Kentucky, Mississippi, and Tennessee, as well as Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas and Louisiana. The national average was fifty-three percent.
Residents of the New England States of Maine New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, and Rhode Island cared most about enhanced safety procedures in the dealership with forty-four versus the national average of thirty-two percent.
Given current health and safety concerns, are you willing to purchase a vehicle through the traditional process in a dealership? Choose the answer that best represents your expected purchase
Dealerships are moving forward recognizing the unique challenges and opportunities in their local environment. Automotive retail has been core engine of our national economy and it is excellent to see it revving up to grow and support the local communities served.
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