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Is Mobile Reshaping Your Dealerships Marketing Plan For 2012

Girl on iphone

Nielsen recently released interesting data on the typical U.S. smartphone user. Targeting age and income, we learn that the smartphone is quickly transitioning from luxury to necessity.

Let’s dig into the numbers. Nielsen’s sample size is 20,000 mobile consumers, segmented by age and income. My three takeaways from the data.

  1. The younger generation considers a smartphone a necessity, including those just above the poverty level.
  2. When they can afford it, the older generation is adopting to new smartphone technology.
  3. Younger subscribers, new within the last 3 months, are choosing smartphones 8 out of 10 times. Compare this number with current subscribers of which less than 50% are smartphone owners.

Nielsen mobile Data #1

1. Younger generation: Smartphone = must have.

Let’s examine the 18-24 and 25-34 age group. While it’s no surprise that young high income earners choose smartphones, what should stand out is that 56% of 18-24 year olds and 43% of 25-34 year olds making less than $15k per year have a smartphone. That’s right, roughly half of young individuals surveyed who are only a few thousand dollars short of the 2011 poverty level of $10,890 made room in their budgets for the luxury known as a smartphone.

While income earners in the <$15k bracket should not be our focus demographic, I think there’s an important overall message:

The future generation considers smartphones a necessity. Period.

2. Older generation: I’ll adapt if I can afford it.

Age group 45-54 shows income earners in the $75k-$100k range opt for smartphones 51% of the time while 55-64 year olds in the same bracket choose a smartphone at a rate of 42%.

Takeaway? Smartphones aren’t just for the younger generation. Desirable demos in the older age bracket are increasingly considering this new technology essential.

Nielsen mobile Data #2

3. New subscribers are choosing smartphones rather than traditional mobile phones.

Nielsen’s graphic on smartphone penetration by age gives us an overwhelming look at new subscriber habits and their taste for smartphones.

Across all age ranges, new subscribers choose smartphones at a rate of 69% compared to 48% adoption for current subscribers. Segmenting the younger age ranges of 18-34 we see an adoption rate of 80%. That’s 8 out of every 10 new mobile phone subscriber between the ages of 18 and 34 choosing to purchase a smartphone over a traditional mobile phone. Wow.

I think this helps solidify the “trend” of smartphone penetration.

Compare Nielsen’s data to your dealerships and franchise’s demographics. Is the adoption rate high?

Compare your target age demo in the penetration by age graphic. How much have recent subscribers adopted smartphones compared to current?

Post your comments:

What steps has your dealership taken recently to cater to your customer on the go?
How has mobile shaped your marketing plan for 2012?

Ben Anderson - AKA "hair model Ben" is the President of AutoMotion, a leader in mobile apps for dealers. Ben is a regular speaker on mobile for many i...
  • J
  • March 7, 2012
OK -- I think we can concede that the non-smart phone can call-up the 8-Track for retirment advice...  Great info, Ben.  Thanks!
Wonder where "Pads" fit into this?  Setting aside the iGeeks, I can't see mainstream carrying smart-phones and pads simultaneously for their mobile needs.  Will Pads replace laptops and PC's?  Or will (maybe) Smart-Phones and Pads "merge" into one unit?
Ben, great insight with the graphs. We have been watching this trend now for over a year and a half on our website. We opted for the AutomotionTV app over a year ago. We are now realizing great success with the younger owners scheduling service with our App.
  • D
  • March 7, 2012
Ben, thanks for the article. Great insight and facts around mobile. I've personally have a strong focus on mobile for my dealerships ever since seeing a huge leap in mobile traffic in just the last 12 - 18 months.

I'm working with DealerOn to help upgrade our already well performing mobile sites while hoping to improve usability and even conversion.

Dealeron and UnityWorks media worked together to offer a mobile video solution almost a year ago. Consumers now have the option of watching our walk around videos and video specials that are compatible with just about every mobile operating system.

We added the Autorevenue mobile scheduler to our mobile sites 3 months ago. I figured we would get a few people here and there to use the feature but each month I'm surprised by the increase in numbers. Really surprised! I encourage each and every dealership to have a mobile service scheduler. It's a great message to push in your marketing and a great tool for your consumers.

I'm really excited to see where mobile goes in 2012 and how our industry responds.

As Mike mentioned, I've opted to try out the AutomotionTV app as well and looking forward to having it up and running soon. Some exciting possibilities no doubt.
  • D
  • March 7, 2012
A few stats from the Nissan dealer I work with:
% of mobile visits = 16.56%
Average mobile page views = 7.32
Avg time on mobile site = 4:22
With Android just beating iphone for position 1. But with ipad in Position 2. 
I started a thread over in the forums where other dealers can contribute their numbers....
Take the poll while you're there!
  • K
  • March 9, 2012
If you are not focusing on mobile, you are failing to see how the market is changing.  Great article Ben, much appreciated.
  • J
  • March 9, 2012
The younger gen would rather interact with their smartphone than drive.  Think about it.