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By Ksenia NewtonDec 8
Published February 1st 2020
2020 will be a big year for the auto industry, not least because of increasing anxiety around climate change and the disruption Brexit could cause.
In our recent report on Consumer Trends for 2020, Brandwatch surveyed 8,000 people around the world and studied social posts around key topics and industries to see what shifts we could see heading into a new year.
Let’s jump into five of the trends we identified for the auto industry.
Note: If you want to get more detail on the data to look at more wide-scale trends, make sure to check out the report itself.
When we asked our respondents what attributes were most important for brands in the auto industry, quality was the most popular option with 30% of the vote. Affordability followed, with 21% of respondents choosing it as the most important attribute.
Quality can, of course, mean different things to different people and different markets. It’s important for auto brands to dig further into this and find out what aspects (security, aesthetics, reliability) are most important for their target audience.
For example, our survey respondents in Mexico were more likely than those in any other country we studied to choose ‘Personalization’. Meanwhile, respondents from Malaysia and Singapore cared more about ‘Innovative products or services’ in auto brands than those in other countries.
Brands must do their research to ensure the product they’re producing meets the quality standards in the regions and communities they’re targeting. There’s more to a car than getting from A to B.
Sustainability was not particularly popular when we asked consumers what attribute was important to them when choosing auto brands (only 7% of respondents picked it), although many people globally named renewable energy as one of the biggest transformative technologies of the next year.
This presents an interesting contradiction – while many think renewable energy will change the world in the next year, few of us are prioritizing sustainability when it comes to choosing auto brands. This could be because vehicles that don’t harm the environment are very much still in the minority, and could be seen as too expensive or not practically viable for consumers.
As climate change protests grow in number and size, it seems like the time is now for auto brands to move on this point. And, as we’ll see in trend number 5, one auto brand with a flair for sustainability is actually doing very well at generating interest from consumers.
Globally, friendly customer service was an important attribute, with 10% of people choosing it as the most important attribute for an auto brand.
When we looked at social data, negative conversation focussed mainly on people’s experiences when cars go wrong – dealerships, warranties, fixing things and things not working were big topics of discussion.
Clearly, when people are shopping for a vehicle, or when things go wrong with the vehicle they have, there’s an opportunity to garner favor with customers with warm interactions.
We were keen to find out what consumers thought of the prospect of self-driving cars as we head into 2020.
While many clearly think they’re a way off, we found that 9% of consumers globally think self-driving cars will be the most transformative tech of 2020. Meanwhile, of all the transformative tech we studied, self-driving cars are the third most hyped tech we studied on social.
Looking at responses by country, those in the US were most likely of all the countries to vote for self-driving cars, while responses from Spain were least likely of all the countries likely to choose this option.
Looking at the top performing auto brands across social and search in Q4 2019, we can get a clue on what the top performing brands of 2020 will look like.
Tesla blew the other brands out of the water in terms of their visibility across search and social and the growth of their following. Clearly, consumers are getting more interested in sustainability in the auto industry, even if they don’t currently value it over affordability and quality.