Technology trumps color among car shoppers, survey says


Do you hear the sound of car-buying preferences shifting?

Chances are that you do – loud and clear – as technology drives the change.

“In-vehicle technology ranks increasingly higher for consumers as they consider must-have and desired features in their car shopping,” said Michelle Krebs of Autotrader.

021116 SC Technology trumps color among car shoppers, survey says

An online survey of 1,012 U.S. new-vehicle shoppers conducted for Autotrader by KS&R Inc. reported “nine out of 10 consumers likely to purchase a vehicle in the next year said they already have or plan to research the latest technologies as they shop for a new vehicle.”

And more than three-quarters of would-be buyers surveyed (about 77 percent) said that a vehicle with all the technology features they desire is more important than the vehicle’s color.

“Consumers increasingly desire cool technologies as they are exposed to them, educated on their use, and as automakers improve their ease of use,” said Krebs.

So, what are the technologies that trump color and other features in the purchase decision?

Here’s what Park Associates marketing intelligence firm said:

  • Access to maps and navigation
  • Access to emergency or roadside assistance features
  • The ability to make or receive voice calls
  • The capability of viewing vehicle performance or maintenance information
  • Access to music apps
  • The ability to browse the web

And don’t forget USB charging ports, which surfaced in the Autotrader survey.

“With the exception of smartphones, no other device touches so many points in a person’s life as the car, from home to work to family and community interaction,” said Jennifer Kent of Park Associates. “Car-generated data will increasingly enrich connected solutions outside the car, while also offering an interaction touch point for those external solutions from within the car.”

So important is technology, it appears, nearly two-thirds of shoppers said they would switch vehicle brands to have all the technology features they desired in their next vehicle, Autotrader’s survey said.

“That puts automakers under intense pressure to anticipate and offer the technologies consumers desire or they risk losing them to a brand that delivers,” Krebs said.

Even technology that is difficult to use apparently is acceptable to shoppers surveyed by Autotrader.

“Ease-of-use of vehicle features is not a key deciding factor for car shoppers, with (70 percent) saying they would still consider a vehicle they liked if the technology was perceived to be too hard to use,” which is up from the survey a year earlier, when half said they still would consider such a vehicle.

Strong evidence that the sound is getting louder.