Saturday, June 01, 2013

Marketing efforts that focus on drivers 55 to 64 years old should have the highest probability of success per driver

I sense that the auto industry knows the fact I am about to tell you but is in a state of denial about its consequences. I think it hopes that if it sticks its head in the sand for long enough the situation will change. I think the auto industry is living in cloud cuckoo land.

A heavyweight pieces of research from the US has concluded that - and I quote:

Currently in the U.S., individuals between 45 and 54 years of age purchase the largest number of light-duty vehicles. This is because this age group contains the largest number of licensed drivers and because the probability of buying a vehicle per licensed driver is relatively high (but not the highest). The second-ranked age group in terms of purchased new vehicles consists of those between 55 and 64 years of age.
This group is ranked high because the probability of purchasing a vehicle per licensed driver is the highest of all age groups.

The present findings suggest that marketing efforts that focus on drivers 55 to 64 years old should have the highest probability of success per driver. The emphasis on his relatively older age group is further supported by the expected continuation of the graying of the general population and the consequent continuation of the increase in the number of older licensed drivers.
Looking at car ads and car design, would you think that the 55-64 year old is the most important market for the industry? I don't think so.

At least one senior executive in the car industry seems to be getting the message.

Volvo CEO Stefan Jacoby declared that his cars, laden with safety systems and other gadgets, are too complex for most of Volvo’s customers.

Jacoby cited a study, which claimed that 75 percent of Volvo customers didn’t know the full potential of their cars. Citing Apple as an example, Jacoby said

“Our cars are too complicated for the consumer. Our intention is to have an intuitive car that lets the driver actually feel like he’s in command.”

As I stated in my previous blog posting, designers get kicks from complexity. The car industry is no different.

Now if you think, for a nano second or two, about the impact of physiological ageing on how 55-64 year olds use cars you can see that it becomes an important factor. How many car manufacturers do you think take this into account. Not many. Not enough. Dick Stroud

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