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Automotive research to trace your road to recovery

March 02, 2022
Two mechanics stand under a car fixing it while holding a Microsoft tablet.

Sustainability drives high demand

You’ve likely heard many stories about the evolving consumer at this point. Consumer demands are changing, and the global climate crisis is shifting people’s priorities. In a recent study we completed with dentsu international on the Rise of Sustainable Media, 86% of consumers worldwide reported that they’re concerned about the climate crisis. In addition, 88% of consumers said they’ll make a sustainable purchase when given the option. One industry that’s followed the sustainability trend is in Automotive, and this trend and others are reflected in the Road to recovery: Navigating the Automotive landscape webcast, available now on-demand.

Sustainability is top of mind for automotive purchasers as well. We conducted a survey of 1,000 US consumers at the end of January 2022, focusing on individuals who purchased or leased a car within the last six months. We sought to understand what they were looking for and the journeys they took to select a vehicle. Buying a car is a big purchase, and while electric and hybrid vehicles often lead to long-term cost savings, the initial cost can cause sticker shock.

Regardless of this, sustainable vehicles are rising in popularity, and we uncovered some key differences between the conventional (gasoline vehicles) and non-conventional (hybrid and electric vehicles) automotive shoppers. One insight we discovered was first-time car purchasers are increasingly more likely to purchase an electric vehicle, followed by a hybrid, with only 14% of conventional car purchasers being new to the auto market.1 With nearly 1 in 3 electric car purchasers being first-time auto buyers, this could signal the start of a trend as more and more individuals buy their first car.1

Search is in the driver's seat with Automotive searches up 17%2

We have also seen that automotive search interest is at an all-time high. On the Microsoft Search Network, searches are up 17% versus 2020 and up an impressive 48% since 2019, our last normalized year.2 This search interest reflects the strong consumer demand that’s been heightened by the strained vehicle supply. This was also reflected in our survey: Search was the most used digital channel across both conventional (61% of purchasers) and non-conventional (56% of purchasers) automotive buyers.1 This means that most automotive purchasers are going to be present on search throughout their buying journeys. Even more, we found that they are also significantly more likely to click on a search ad than an ad from any other channel.1

All the way from browsing to comparing makes and models, engaging, abandoning, reengaging, and then finally buying online or in a dealership, there are many opportunities to reach automotive shoppers in their decision journeys. With multi-touch attribution growing and purchase decisions being made online, imagine if you could have personalized contextual ad experiences at every step of their decision journeys. This is what Microsoft Advertising is working to do with you across all the placements we offer, including Automotive Ads, to engage with your customers.

Drive results from search behavior trends with new on-demand insights

As made evident through first- and third-party research, the Automotive industry is rapidly evolving. To help automotive advertisers navigate the road to pandemic recovery and understand how the industry is recuperating, watch the Road to recovery: Navigating the Automotive landscape webcast.

Watch now for information on:

  • How you can steer the automotive customer experience.
  • How you can navigate the automotive consumer decision journey​.
  • How you can drive results leveraging search behavior trends with new insights​.
  • How you can fuel your digital transformation on the road ​to recovery​.

[1] Microsoft Advertising’s workday consumer research, January 2022.
[2] Microsoft internal data, US, January 2019 – December 2021.


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