COVID-19 Halted Otherwise Healthy US Auto Show Season

Rochester Michigan, June 1, 2020 – Foresight Research’s recently released report on attendance at US auto shows reveals that until COVID-19 forced an abrupt end to the season in early March, attendance was actually on the rise over the previous year.  According to the 2019-20 Auto Show Season Attendance Report ©, out of 46 US shows Foresight measured consistently in both years 61% resulted in higher year-over-year attendance while just 13% of shows had fewer attendees this year.  Even given the cancellation of ten shows at the end of the season (including New York, one of the country’s best attended auto shows), more than 5.3 million American households attended an auto show last season.  Given an average 1.6 people per household attending, this translates into over 8.6 million consumers attending.

“Over the past two years auto shows have taken an onslaught of negative press after some brands – particularly German luxuries such as BMW, Audi and Mercedes-Benz – scaled back or ended their show presence,” says Christopher Stommel, Foresight Research’s President.  “Some brands shifted marketing dollars toward smaller, more targeted events, especially for their new vehicle launches.  But no matter how or where new product is launched to the press, it is still the local auto show where the largest number of consumers are going to first experience that vehicle.  And the data shows that when a brand is absent, the consumer will take a closer look at the competitive brands who are on the show floor, and those brands end up benefiting with increased reach and consideration.”

Foresight Research has been the leading provider of independent, third-party consumer data on US and global auto shows since 2008.  During each traditional October-to-April US Auto Show season, Foresight surveys nearly 20,000 households in 55 markets where auto shows are held, and publishes syndicated reports on show attendance, visitor profiles and key show experiences that drive new vehicle sales and ultimately represents the ROI of auto show investment.