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The automotive industry has been preparing for major change across all areas – from product to distribution and customer experience. We have witnessed many developments, but major events exogenous to the industry are forcing rapid, almost brutal, change. This is the opportunity that both original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) and consumers have been waiting for. The race against the product-market fit meter is on. But, to react quickly and effectively, it is important to analyze consumer behavior.  

Let’s look at the changes.

Private mobility

As consumers heeded governmental recommendations to maintain social distancing, it was no surprise that over half of French consumers abandoned or reduced their use of public transport. At the same time, micro-mobility in major cities increased – namely cycling and electric scooters. And so did car usage, with 13% of French consumers increasingly using their car to travel. The car remains the main mode of transport for 72% of French consumers, but this doesn’t mean they want more cars. It’s more challenging than that. 

Consumer responsibility 

Government incentives are a major driver to convert consumers to clean cars. Plus, the CAFE regulation has fixed the limit of CO2 emissions for new vehicles at 95g/km, providing further impetus for OEMs to rethink their product lineup and, more globally, their offer.

Consumers are taking note, as 74% of consumers say they are more sensitive to the environmental behavior of companies as a result of COVID-19. In tandem, the number of electric cars has increased 42-fold in 10 years in France, with 2020 representing a boon for the sector.

Second-hand purchasing has also witnessed a resurgence, as consumers’ interest in their environmental impact puts a spotlight on the brands they buy from. The success of platforms like Vestiaire Collective, Vinted and Le Bon Coin is testament to this sentiment, but it’s not limited to apparel. The trend has also found roots in the automotive sector, encouraged by the fact that financial uncertainty is often a dealbreaker for spending on such big-ticket items. 

Subscription and new business models

Experience is now more important than possession – a trend that already exists in many industries. We don’t buy DVDs anymore, but pay for a Netflix subscription; we don’t listen to music on CDs anymore, but pay for a Spotify subscription.

This is now a rule that applies to the automotive industry, with the acceleration of leasing offers, providing an all-in-one seamless experience. Based on a McKinsey study, new business models could expand automotive revenue by about 30%. In the short term, electric vehicles (EV) and hybrid cars will drive the most business. 

EV and hybrid car buyers

Is a prospective EV buyer similar to a hybrid car buyer? What are their needs? What are their passions? Ogury Active Insights helps brands to better understand consumers and inform their mobile branding strategy.

Here’s a glimpse of our main learnings: 

  • While both audiences are predominantly male and aged 35+, hybrid prospects are slightly older with a higher portion of 55+ (+10 pts vs EV segment).
  • EV prospects tend to be more urban, business savvy and masters of new digital tools. They use remote working apps daily and over-index on business and finance apps, and are keen on sports and healthy living.
  • Hybrid prospects spend time on the road. They have a high affinity with highway and parking apps, as well as oil price monitoring. They are less technology-oriented than EV prospects, and love outdoor sports.

Mobile is close and personal

Always within arm’s reach, mobiles are extremely personal and are the go-to device when consumers are looking for information. Time spent on mobiles increased in 2020, with over 45% of internet searches in France being made from a mobile. Mobile advertising is therefore a key tool to reach consumers in a relevant context. Moreover, mobile mix advertising ranks among the most influential media touchpoints along the purchase funnel, performing particularly high on brand contact, brand recall and brand appraisal, above desktop or social. Armed with unique persona insights from Ogury, and presented with increased opportunities to connect with their ideal audiences, advertisers can build an effective mobile branding strategy to reach and engage consumers. 

Ogury […] has enabled us to significantly adapt our audience targeting to reach our core target customer.

Julien Dobozs, Digital Media Specialist, Nissan

Want to know more? You can watch the replay of our Automotive Vertical Spotlight event in France.

And if you have any questions, feel free to get in touch

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