Influentials Talk about Automotive Brands

January 28, 2008

This article is included in these additional categories:

Agency Business | Automotive | Magazines | Newspapers | Television

Close to three in five “Influentials” (57%) know many people who are at least very knowledgeable about vehicles (compared with just 18% of “Non-influentials”), and they talk about vehicles mostly to family (60%) and friends (58%), according to a Harris Interactive survey.


Meanwhile, Non-influentials are less likely to talk about vehicles with family (38%) and more likely to talk with friends (65%).


Though Influentials talk to each other about vehicle choices, Non-influentials actively seek out advice from Influentials: Slightly more than half (55%) of Non-influentials initiate conversations about their vehicle choices with Influentials “always” or “most of the time,” Harris found.


Influentials are US adults who describe themselves as either “very” or “extremely knowledgeable” about vehicles. One in five US adults (19%) fit into the category, and  males (82%) are the vast majority.

Influentials have higher incomes, with more than half (53%) earning $75,000 or more, compared with 40% of Non-influentials. They are much more likely than ordinary consumers – the Non-influentials – to say they know many people who are also knowledgeable about vehicles.


Additional findings:

  • Influentials are more likely to indicate usage of traditional media (television, newspaper, magazines) as sources of vehicle information and are also more likely to use the internet as a source (63% Influentials vs. 36% Non-influentials).


  • However, Influentials are less likely than Non-influentials to rely on other people (family, friends, acquaintances) and are less than half as likely to use a dealership salesperson as a source of information (17% Influentials vs. 38% Non-influentials).
  • Non-influentials are equally as likely to get vehicle information from each of their top sources – friends/family members/acquaintances (40%), the internet (36%) and a dealership salesperson (38%).
  • On a seven-point scale about likelihood to change vehicle brand choice, 10% of Influentials are at the top of the scale indicating they are “much more likely” to change their vehicle brand choice as a result of conversations with Influentials, while only 2% of Non-influentials say so.


“While Non-influentials tend to rely on their shopping experience to make their final decision, we must be aware that Influentials can and do help determine which vehicles make it onto the shopping lists of Non-influentials,” said Stephen A. Lovett, Director of Automotive & Transportation Research at Harris Interactive.

About the study: This study was conducted online within the US, by Harris Interactive, between June 28 and July 18, 2007, among 690 adults ages 18 and over who acquired a new or used automobile in the previous 12 months or intended to acquire a new or used vehicle in the next 12 months. Results were weighted for age, gender, education, region and income and to properly represent US vehicle owners and intenders. Propensity score weighting was also used to adjust for respondents’ propensity to be online.


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