Are car companies missing an opportunity among female consumers? Recent data suggests they are: according to separate studies by the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute and the National Automobile Dealers Association, while female drivers now outnumber their male counterparts (105.7 million to 104.3 million), men represent 91% of salespeople at franchised car dealerships.
No matter how you want to look at it, that's a serious disconnect - especially when you consider the following 3 facts:
1. Women are extremely influential in the car-buying process
On paper, J.D. Power estimates that women accounted for up to 39% of car purchases in 2013. However, automakers have long understood the behind-the-scenes influence women hold on the final decision. The Wall Street Journal's A.J. Baime reports that Carlos Ghosn, president and CEO of Nissan Motor Co., recently stated that women are "making the final decision on more than 60% of new car purchases."
2. Women account for a majority of the powerful Millennial market
For both size and purchase power, the Millennial market has the automotive industry salivating. And women account for 53% of that market.
3. Women take a different approach than men to the car-buying process
Women aren't just buying (or at least influencing the decision to buy) new cars, though. They're buying them in different ways, focusing on different values and using different tools. As opposed to men, who've traditionally relied on expert reviews, recent research indicates that women are more likely to "crowd-source" reviews via social media, and consult peer-to-peer sites like AskPatty.com and Women-Drivers.com.
"[Social media] give women a voice that can impact brands like no other time in history." - Jody DeVere, CEO, AskPatty.com
What do you think? What brands have been most successful adapting their marketing strategies to women car buyers? Let us know in the comments below!