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65% Online Consumers Worldwide Will Consider Buying New Or Used Car Within Two Years

6 minute read | April 2014

48% of the respondents indicate that ‘passion for driving’ plays a role in car purchase: use and status also have an influence

NEW YORK – 15 april 2014 – 65% of online consumers worldwide are considering buying a new or used car within two years. This is according to research by Nielsen, a global leader in marketing information. Demand for cars will be strongest in Latin America (75%), Middle East and Africa (75%) and Asia-Pacific (72%). More than half of North Americans (56%) and half of Europeans (50%) expect to buy a new or used car in the next 24 months.

Of the 32 markets studied in Europe, the purchase intention in the Netherlands is the lowest at 31%. “That means an ultra-competitive market for automakers who have to compete for the favor of a smaller number of potential customers,” said Eleni Nicholas, Nielsen Senior Vice President Automotive in Europe.

“In developing a marketing strategy, it is vital to make connections between global automotive demand, consumer sentiment and media consumption behavior so that the right consumers connect with the right car brands,” said Pat Gardiner, president of Nielsen Automotive . “Unsurprisingly, the markets in Asia-Pacific and Latin America offer tremendous growth potential for the automotive industry. Whether this potential is actually used depends to a large extent on marketers. They must be able to identify those potential buyers, understand them and respond effectively to their requirements and wishes. Online platforms in particular offer unique opportunities to reach these buyers.”

Nielsen’s global automotive demand survey (Nielsen Global Survey of Automotive Demand) involved more than 30,000 respondents in 60 countries. The aim was to gain insight into where the demand for cars is greatest and to discover which emotional and financial motives have the most influence on the purchase intention for a new or used car. These findings have been integrated with the results of a study (in eleven countries) on media consumption behavior. That study aimed to determine through which media platforms car advertising works best and which websites best help car buyers in their search for a new or used car.

In Asia-Pacific, new car purchase intent is highest at 65%, while 7% of respondents said they want to buy a used car within two years. Respondents in Latin America said 47% want to buy a new car and 28% a used car. That compares to the Middle East and Africa (45% new and 30% used) and North America (34% new and 22%). In Europe, on the other hand, more respondents indicated that they would buy a used car (28%) within two years instead of a new car (22%).

“Marketers need to move away from a number of assumptions about the factors that affect new or used car buyers or first-time car buyers and consumers who already own a car,” Gardiner said. “If they understand the factors that influence the buying decision, they are much better able to tailor their marketing strategy to the unique needs of car buyers in their market.”

Whether new or used cars, purchase intent is highest in developing countries such as India (83%), Brazil (82%), Indonesia (81%), Thailand (79%), Mexico (79%), and China (78%).

Online advertising and online content are doing well with car buyers

Consumers indicate that online advertisements have the most influence in the new car purchase process, according to the Nielsen Media Consumption Survey (2012-2013) that was conducted in 11 countries.

Nearly half of respondents (46%) indicated that online advertisements are a great help when considering buying a new car. For television advertising this is 42%, followed by magazines with 32%, newspapers with 29%, 21% for mobile and 20% for radio. Online ads are most effective in India (74%), followed by Brazil (69%), China (60%), Thailand (58%) and Russia (51%).

According to Nielsen’s research, car manufacturers’ websites (65%) are the most informative sites for buying a car, followed by review sites (41%), other third-party informational sites (38%) and dealer sites (38). %). One third of the respondents worldwide use social media the most and about a quarter use video sites with videos about the product.

“Globally, online is evolving as a platform to reach buyers,” Gardiner said. “Car buyers are also increasingly looking to the own sites of car brands (OEM)-branded sites, which means that marketers need to pay serious attention to the effectiveness of these owned media.”

‘Passion for driving’ influences car sales

According to the Nielsen survey, besides financial aspects, the passion for driving is the most important driver for buying a car for 84% of the respondents. Meeting a need for transport (63%) or the car as a status symbol (62%) are other motives that stimulate the demand for cars.

Compared to the global average of 62%, the Dutch view the car much less as a status symbol (18%) and much more as a means of transport (74%). The passion for driving, on the other hand, is also high among Dutch consumers, just like in the rest of the world (73%).

“Car manufacturers are very aware of the emotional aspects that play a strong role in car buyers. The key for car brands lies in getting that message across to the right target audience,” says Gardiner. “If auto marketers know that status is important to consumers, then sales efforts should focus on that. The same applies if ease of use, financial motives or the passion for driving is important to a car buyer.”

Nielsen’s data shows that the passion for driving among existing car owners is the top reason for buying a new car in Asia-Pacific (86%), while 75% also rank status and a means of transport (69%) as important motivation. The passion for driving is also the main driver for existing car owners to buy a new car in the Middle East/Africa (85%) and Latin America (83%) as well. Status is clearly less important in both regions (69% Middle East / Africa; 49% Latin America), followed by having a means of transport (56% Middle East / Africa; 44% Latin America). In North America (51%) and especially Europe (42%) the car is not necessarily seen as a status symbol or as a reason to buy a new car. The passion for driving is high in both regions (80% North America; 82% Europe), use is the second motivator (71% North America; 56% Europe).

Over de Nielsen Global Survey of Automotive Demand

The Nielsen Global Survey of Automotive Demand was conducted between August 14 and September 6, 2013. More than 30,000 online consumers in 60 countries in Asia-Pacific, Europe, Latin America, Middle East, Africa and North America participated in the survey .

The sample is based on age and gender quotas per country, based on the internet users in each country. The data has been weighted to ensure representativeness for internet consumers. The maximum margin of error is +/- 0.6%. This Nielsen survey is based solely on the behavior of respondents who have access to the internet. Internet penetration varies by country. A minimum internet penetration of 60% or a minimum population of internet users of 10 million is used for reporting the research results. The Nielsen Global Survey, including the Global Consumer Confidence Index, has been conducted since 2005.

Over de Nielsen Media Consumption Study

The Nielsen Media Consumption Study was conducted in 2012-2013. More than 85,000 consumers in eleven countries (Australia, Brazil, China, France, Germany, India, Italy, Russia, Spain, Thailand and the United Kingdom) participated in the survey, which was conducted both online and offline.

Over Nielsen

Nielsen Holdings N.V. (NYSE: NLSN) is a global marketing information and research company with a leading position in marketing and consumer information, media and reach research, online intelligence and mobile measurement. Nielsen is active in approximately 100 countries and has headquarters in New York in the United States and Diemen in the Netherlands. For more information, go to


Berry Punt, Marketing Manager, +312084316212 Berry.Punt@nielsen.comStephanie Manning, Digital Marketing & Outreach Manager, +31 (20) 3988238