In Market Under-35 & Mobile Apps

59% of Under-35 Auto Service Customers Want Communications Via Mobile Apps

DMEautomotive survey reveals auto service customers open to variety of communications platforms; BUT majority of younger demo want contact through ALL platforms
Key Findings:
  • Over a third of consumers are open to receiving communications from their automotive service providers via each platform
  • Eighty-nine percent of those under 35 welcome contact via email; 85% via mail; 64% via text; 62% via live calls; 59% via mobile apps and 56% via recorded calls
  • Under-35 servicers use more forms of media, more intensely: 3 to 6 times more likely to scan QR codes, have a service provider mobile app, and turn to social networking sites, online video, blogs, etc. for maintenance research

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – DMEautomotive (DMEa), the leader in science-based, results-driven automotive marketing, today released its second report on how (and how frequently) auto service customers want to be contacted by dealers/providers, and the resources they’re now turning to in their vehicle maintenance research. The findings show that while all customers are receptive to a diversity of communications platforms, under-35 customers are strikingly receptive – wanting not only more frequent communications, but also wanting communications across all six possible platforms, with 59% welcoming mobile app communication.

“Multi-platform marketing has long been a buzzword, but this data reveals that for dealerships and service businesses, cross-channel communications are now a must,” said Doug Van Sach, Vice President of Strategy & Analytics at DMEautomotive. “Reaching younger customers is a whole new ballgame: they’re thirsting for communication, prefer it across many platforms, and are researching vehicle maintenance in many new digital places.”

Findings are based on a national survey of 2,000+ U.S. vehicle owners conducted by DMEa’s Strategy & Analytics division.

Key Findings:

How Customers Want To Be ContactedThe survey gauged how people want to receive communications from their service providers, how often, and was analyzed by customer age.

Over a third of consumers are open to receiving communications from their automotive service providers via every platform.  Not surprisingly, email and mail are the top channels preferred with more than 4 in 5 welcoming these methods of contact, and a solid majority wants communications via these channels at minimum every 2-3 months.  It’s critical to note that while consumers may be open to recorded calls and texts, businesses must be cautious when implementing these channels, given the rise in litigation and changes in the regulatory landscape.

While the percentages of those under 35 and over 35 desiring mail, email and calls are on par, those under 35 are roughly 2.5 times more open to mobile app notifications and almost twice as likely to desire text messages. In addition, across each platform, the under-35 customer desires more frequent communications (more than once every 2-3 months).

Mobile App Usage: Although mobile apps are an emerging technology without the near-universal adoption of email or texting, 59% of those under 35 (and 35% of all customers) welcome mobile app communications from service providers.  To contextualize this eye-opening data, the survey also captured customer usage of mobile apps overall, and the percentage who use an app from a dealer/service provider:

18-34 Over 35 Overall
Use mobile apps 74% 29% 44%
Use apps at least daily 55% 18% 37%
Have dealer/service provider app 14% 5% 10%

Those under 35 are roughly three times more likely to use mobile apps, use them daily, and have one from a dealer/service provider. And, with 6 in 10 of those under 35 using mobile apps at least every two days – and 3 in 5 of that segment welcoming service providers to reach them in this manner – mobile apps represent a uniquely powerful way to reach the next-generation servicer where they live: on smartphones and tablets. But only a small percentage of dealers/service providers now offer a mobile app.

The Maintenance Research Process: The survey also captured the resources service customers are using in their auto service research process:

Sources Used to Learn About Automotive Maintenance
18-34 35+
Twitter 6% 1%
Blogs 13% 3%
Online Message Boards 16% 3%
Social Networking Sites 18% 3%
Auto Store Locator and Review Websites 13% 7%
Auto Print Media 12% 8%
Online Video 23% 6%
Vehicle Review Websites 24% 13%
OEM Websites 24% 19%
Dealer/Store Websites 34% 21%
Service Centers 32% 33%
Family/Friends 50% 37%
Owners Manual 43% 61%

While the owner’s manual, family/friends, and service centers remain the top sources of vehicle maintenance info for both those over and under 35, those under 35 research harder, using every traditional and digital resource at higher rates than those over 35, with the exception of the owner’s manual. And the younger servicer is far more likely to use digital platforms: for instance, they’re 4-6 times more likely to turn to social networking sites, online video or blogs in their service info quest.

“Most service providers’ outreach is focused on mail and email, which the data shows remain imperative channels. But too many other ‘disconnects’ remain, with customers wanting communications through channels that dealers/service providers are not addressing,” said Van Sach. “This is starkly true with the information-hungry, under-35 customer, who is more likely to research service using every available on- or offline resource, and wants communications across more channels. These ‘all-platform’ consumers are trailblazing the behavior that other customer segments will likely– and that service providersmust – ultimately follow.”

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