Who drives the purchase decision?

If we look at today’s marketplace, it is obvious that women are a significant and growing group for the automotive industry


If we look at today’s marketplace, it is obvious that women are a significant and growing group for the automotive industry with equally significant purchasing power. New research from the Department for Transport (DfT) confirms this with Government data showing a surge in the proportion of female car owners with more than two out of five cars in the UK now owned by women drivers. Women are the registered keepers of 10.6 million private cars across the country, representing 41% of the overall total on Britain’s roads.

Interestingly, the DfT’s findings also point to a sea-change in car ownership over the last 20 years, when only 32% of the nation’s cars were the property of female drivers. However, in the past two decades, the number of cars owned by women has jumped at a rate of 66%, while the corresponding increase for male drivers was just 23%.

it is obvious that women are a significant and growing group for the automotive industry

Step inside the showroom and according to M2W just 7% of front-line management, sales and service adviser positions in motor retailers are occupied by women. This continuing lack of women in customer-facing positions within motor retailers also poses a perception problem, as it can indicate to female buyers that their voice and perspective is not characterised in the dealership or by the vehicle brand represented. While many dealers and manufacturers can rightfully argue that they have taken great strides to remove male dominated attitudes from their businesses that deter female car buyers, other less enlightened ‘bad apple’ retailers continue to taint the hard work and positive steps taken by the industry as a whole.

In terms of finding new ways to address these negative perceptions and reduce the risk of alienating female customers, dealers with a proactive and up-to-date online presence have a golden opportunity to secure the trust of female buyers and ultimately their business.

Research by online retailer Buy a Car found that the number of women purchasing vehicles from its site has grown by almost 70% in 2017, compared to the same period in 2016. With online car sales up by nearly 50% this year overall, it is clear that women are the largest driving force behind online car sales growth in the UK. With research consistently showing that women are less comfortable than men in the traditional showroom environment, it is clear that women are increasingly turning to the convenient and low-pressure online car buying experience. The research also found that women were twice as likely as men to say they’re comfortable buying a car they have never test driven and that they were more likely to think about its environmental impact, so more open to purchasing an electric vehicle.

Gaining trust and offering a compelling added value proposition to all customers is equally important for third-party brands in the showroom, such as Autoglym. As a leader in car care for over 50 years, we work with motor retailers across the entire car market, helping them secure incremental business by taking advantage of the strength of the trusted Autoglym brand. As a result, LifeShine can add real value to dealers.

To discover more about LifeShine, call us on 01462 677766 or email lifeshine@autoglym.com.


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