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Four Wheeled Indicators of Growing Confidence in Recovery? New Survey Shows Nearly One-Third of Consumers Likely to Purchase a Vehicle in 2013

buying a car (select to view enlarged photo)

LOS ANGELES--March 25, 2013: SocialVibe, the pioneer in engagement advertising, today announced the results of its February 2013 survey on consumer behaviors, perceptions and attitudes. This edition focused on Americans' relationships with their automobile. The survey found that a high percentage of digital consumers are also auto enthusiasts, and use their automobiles as an avenue for personalization – naming, customizing and posting about them on social media channels.

“Understanding consumer behavior around automobile purchasing is extremely important for marketers in this space”

The SocialVibe survey revealed four key findings surrounding digital consumer's behaviors, perceptions and attitudes towards the automotive industry.

Automobiles are Personal:

The SocialVibe survey confirmed that automobiles are very personal. In fact, a quarter of consumers surveyed report having named their automobile, and 19 percent or more have personalized their vehicle's look or feel. With respect to social media, 20 percent have "liked" a vehicle manufacturer on Facebook, 15 percent have either posted pictures of their automobile online or shared an auto ad with others and 10 percent have followed an auto manufacturer on Twitter or pinned an automobile on Pinterest.

Digital Consumers are Also Auto Enthusiasts and Buyers:

Of those consumers surveyed, 23 percent indicated that they watch NASCAR and 17 percent watch the Speed Channel. Additionally, nearly a quarter (21 percent) of those surveyed classified themselves as an automotive passionate or enthusiast with respect to how often they discuss automobiles.

Regarding the purchase of vehicles in 2013, almost one-third (29 percent) indicated that they are likely to purchase a vehicle this year, and an additional 27 percent are on the fence (may or may not purchase a vehicle in 2013). When looking at frequency of purchase, more than half of digital consumers (55 percent) are making vehicle purchases every three to eight years.

"Understanding consumer behavior around automobile purchasing is extremely important for marketers in this space," said Jamie Auslander, Director of Research, SocialVibe. "Given that one-third of consumers are likely to purchase a vehicle this year, automobile manufacturers have a unique opportunity to interact and engage with these intenders in a way that impacts the very personal nature of automobile choice."

Brand Loyalty:

When considering satisfaction with their automobiles, an astounding three-quarters (74 percent) of consumers are "extremely" or "very" satisfied with the car, truck or SUV they drive most often. Satisfaction among the most adopted brands is highest for Nissan (88 percent), followed by Chevy (87 percent), Hyundai (85 percent), Ford (82 percent) and Toyota (80 percent).

Although satisfaction is high, 22 percent of those surveyed are looking to switch automotive brands. Interestingly, the SocialVibe survey found that loyal brand following is nearly consistent across top manufacturers, with only slightly higher loyalty among Honda owners, where 41 percent said they "probably" or "definitely" won't switch brands. The likelihood of switching automotive brands is greatest among Chrysler (28 percent), Dodge (24 percent) and Toyota (23 percent) owners.

Consumer Preference:

The study also revealed that when thinking about their next vehicle, a mere 33 percent are committed to buying new, and almost half (45 percent) of those surveyed intend to purchase a used vehicle or are interested in a certified pre-owned (CPO) vehicle. With respect to brand, the highest intender group desired a Ford (15 percent), followed by 13 percent for both Honda and Toyota, and 11 percent for Chevy.

When asked what is most important when thinking about purchasing a new automobile, the survey showed that reliability and dependability are the most important, followed by gasoline efficiency and safety. Interestingly, while consumers value miles per gallon gasoline efficiency, they rank alternative fuel last when trading-off between automotive attributes, which suggests that while they desire efficiency, they aren't necessarily focused on alternative fuel vehicle purchases.


SocialVibe conducted research used in this study during February 2013. The company surveyed consumers while engaged on the streaming music, social gaming, loyalty and Wi-Fi sites they frequently visit and use. The survey was designed to measure the perceptions, attitudes, and behaviors of SocialVibe's audience towards automobiles. Respondents opted in to participate in a multi-question survey activity and were provided with an online social gaming currency or similar type of incentive for their time.

The survey closed with 814 completed interviews by SocialVibe's audience of 101MM consumers.

SocialVibe combines the power of an extensive network of premium online and mobile partners, a large, 750x500 rich media ad unit, and innovative new placements such as value exchange and interstitials to deliver proven results for brands and marketers. This combination is one of the most powerful in digital advertising, driving industry leading results like five to 10 times the engagement of display, 60 seconds time spent, 80 percent-plus completion rates and more than 15 percent lift in key brand metrics, including consideration and purchase intent.