For car buyers who attend, auto shows are just as influential as digital marketing

Rochester, MI July 25, 2017 – Digital marketing remains the most impactful automotive marketing channel overall, influencing more new car and truck buyers than 12 other channels in the auto marketers’ toolbox, according to a new study by Michigan-based automotive research company Foresight Research.  However, digital’s dominant position is rooted in its wider reach rather than its effectiveness;  the study reveals that auto shows are actually as effective as digital in influencing buyers’ purchase decisions among buyers engaged with each activity.


Based on surveys with 5,500 recent U.S. new car and truck buyers, Foresight’s 2017 Auto Show Immersion Report TM found three times as many buyers had read digital auto content prior to their purchase as attended an auto show in the same period.  But comparing those two groups, auto show attendees were just as often influenced by their show experience as digital users were by the digital content they consumed.


“This underscores the power auto shows bring to the marketing mix,” said Christopher Stommel, President of Foresight Research.  “When buyers attend an auto show, more than half are influenced by that experience during their subsequent purchase decisions.  And if you can get them into a ride and drive while they are there, the show’s influence increases by nearly 30%.”


The study confirms that auto shows provide a highly desirable audience for marketers:  buyers attending auto shows:

  • Are younger, and 25% more often first-time new vehicle buyers
  • Are more often luxury brand buyers
  • Are far more car-connected – using multiple automotive communications and participating heavily in experiential marketing
  • Are an invaluable source of downstream word of mouth – advising twice as many other people about new cars and trucks they should consider, recommending their purchased brand twice as often and posting or blogging 75% more often online about their new vehicle


Aside from entertainment (which is also important), buyers are motivated to attend auto shows to see what’s new in the marketplace:  “Looking across metrics such as reasons for attendance, most important brand display elements, influential messages received from the show and many others, it is evident that auto shows influence buyers because that’s one of the few places outside the dealership where they can see and experience newly introduced production vehicles as well as concept cars.”  Stommel says.  “Properly executed, that show experience can pay handsome dividends to any brand.”