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A new study released Tuesday by the industry group Auto Shows of North America found that auto shows influence the public’s car-buying decisions and can either help or hurt customers’ perceptions of the manufacturers who display their vehicles.

The study, commissioned by the group and conducted by Foresight Research, surveyed thousands of show-goers across the U.S. Its key findings include the fact that more than half of show attendees who purchased a new car or truck after the show said it influenced their decision.

“When people show up at a show, the days, weeks and months after, dealerships become busier places,” said Lou Vitantonio, chairman of Auto Shows of North America, said at an event in Detroit.

The study found that 57 percent of show-goers are in the market to buy a new car or truck in the 12 months after the show, and over one-third of attendees either added or subtracted brands from their list of potential buys based on their experiences at the shows. About 26 percent of attendees say they leave the auto show with their mind made up about what they intend to buy.

“Auto shows captivate people,” Vitantonio said in a statement. “They educate, entertain and amaze. Consumers know they can see a wide variety of new vehicle technologies, including those that will make them safer on the road, be kinder to the environment and provide them with a more entertaining experience. Plus, all of these can be found under one roof.”

On average, visitors spend three-and-a-half hours at a particular show. About 60 percent are men, and 32 percent are millennials — those age 18-34.

The thousands of attendees who walk through auto show doors are often more effective marketing tools than TV spots or social media posts, the study found. About 25 percent of attendees give car advice to six or more people; 18 percent of digital-influenced buyers give advice, while 14 percent of TV-influenced buyers give advice.

Vitantonio, who is also chairman of the Cleveland Auto Show, said he hopes the study will encourage automakers to continue investing in shows.

“Hopefully the information will be used to support (automakers) in making sure they’re getting the budgets and explaining why we’re spending the money and doing the things we’re doing,” he said.

Other facts from the study include:

About six of 10 people rate the auto show experience as excellent.

Three out of four show attendees preplanned some, most or all of the displays they visited.

About 70 percent of buyers who were influenced by a show talked to product specialists in displays where they are considering the brand.

mmartinez@detroitnews.com

(313) 222-2401

Twitter.com/MikeMartinez_DN

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