Study: Brochures remain valuable to car shoppers, more than social media

FARMINGTON HILLS, Mich. - 

While roughly 90 percent of car shoppers find printed brochures helpful when in search of their next vehicle, far fewer dealers feel the same, according to a recent study.

The Latcha+Associates' study that focuses on the car-shopping journey and the impact of marketing content such as printed brochures, found that just 32 percent of high-volume dealers and only 14 percent of low-volume dealers find printed brochures to be either extremely impactful or very impactful on driver's purchase decision.

Meanwhile, 61 percent of shoppers found them to be “somewhat helpful,” and 29 percent said they are “very helpful.”

After websites at 86 percent and automotive magazines at 30 percent, brochures are a top shopper touchpoint; 28 percent of shoppers report using a printed brochure, and 23 percent downloaded a brochure, according to the study.

Interestingly, the study also shows that at 26 percent, social media currently trails printed brochure popularity among shoppers.

Across gender and generation breaks, printed brochure utility is highly consistent as well. In addition to 88 percent of men and 91 percent of women, 88 percent of millennials, 89 percent of Gen X’ers and 94 percent of Baby Boomers said they find printed brochures either “somewhat helpful” or “very helpful.”

While printed brochures were found to be as important to dealers, many find printed brochures customized with dealer information beneficial, about six-in-ten salespeople (59 percent) that have seen customized brochures find them to be “very valuable.”

Additionally, among shoppers who have not used a printed brochure in your shopping experience, most said they were not offered one, (44 percent), followed by doesn’t help me compare vehicles (35 percent), and not enough detail available (27 percent).

When asked about what they think are the most important elements of printed brochures to shoppers, the study found that dealers feel brochures with information accompanying vehicle feature options, colors and drivers POV photos to carry the greatest value.

The most important printed brochure elements according to dealers include:

  1. Features and options, 55 percent
  2. Color and trim, 15 percent
  3. Specifications and dimensions, 14 percent
  4. Model line-up, 6 percent
  5. Photos, 6 percent
  6. Fuel economy, 4 percent

Latcha+Associates conducted its study comprised of focus groups, mobile surveys, phone interviews and in-person interviews with market research firm GfK.

“GfK used its vast experience and knowledge of location-based, mobile shopper marketing research to gather timely, relevant information on the impact of marketing content within the automotive purchase journey,” GfK executive vice president of consulting, automotive Dale Drerup explained in a news release introducing the study. “Combining that with Latcha's unrivaled automotive knowledge, we produced an objective, top-quality study detailing the different roles and value of marketing content throughout the in-market auto shopper’s path to purchase.”

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