New Cars.com research proves what many men already know. Women take longer to purchase than men. The survey results also indicated that they’re more sophisticated car shoppers, researching before they get to the dealership and seeking out vehicles that fit a certain set of practical buying criteria.
Not only are their buying practices more sophisticated, women are influencing 85 percent of new vehicle purchases in the U.S. and leading 62 percent of the overall sales.
Before pulling the trigger, women seek out information on a vehicle’s snow worthiness, safety features, overall cost, and how its cargo and seating configurations fit with their lifestyle. Where do they seek that information? From other women. “Women want to hear from other women who are in the same lifestyle phase as them,” said Amie Lindaas, Sr. Manager, Research & Insights, Cars.com. “Women want to hear from other like-minded women.”
The car buying process usually leaves men lusting over sports cars and trucks.Photo by Getty Images
Cars.com research indicates that women,
in general, take full advantage of all the information at their fingertips. Just 20 percent start with a set of cars that is familiar to them when shopping. Though they have an idea of what they’re looking for, 40 percent of women say that they’re open to different makes and models. Men are more set in their ways with 59 percent reporting that they usually know what make and model they’re shopping for and prefer to search for their new vehicle by that make and model, rather than broader categories.
As they aim to make a practical purchase, women tend to shop for more traditional models from stalwarts of the industry like Chevrolet, Ford, Nissan, Toyota, and Honda. Men are more aspiration-focused in their buying decisions and that’s reflected in their Cars.com searches, where luxury brands BMW and Mercedes-Benz in their top five.
Search behavior for women indicates that they look for lower cost vehicles with key clicks on sedans and SUVs. Men tend to search for trucks and Ford Mustangs on Cars.com.
Men and women also differ in the features they see as being important in a new vehicle. A higher percentage of men believe that a backup camera, smartphone integration, available audio package, Wi-Fi hot spot, Android Auto, panoramic roof, Apple CarPlay, smartwatch integration, and a vehicle entertainment package are important. More women believe that automatic emergency braking is necessary.
The research also reveled that test driving and getting detailed pricing is more important to women than men.