Figures released recently from a survey carried out by the Motor Manufacturers and Traders show that the number of women drivers has gone up over 20% in just 10 years and has increased at twice the rate of male car ownership over the same period.  Maybe surprisingly, this increase in women owners has come despite the fact that many feel that they are marginalised by the motor industry as a whole. The women drivers who make up a third of the drivers on British roads say that everything from car advertising to their treatment in car dealerships leaves them feeling like second class motoring citizens. 

Times they are a-changing

Another thing that is changing is the cars that are being brought and with the increase in women buyers this may be something that is showing their influence on the purchase of cars.   For example more cars with automatic transmission are being bought with a rise of over 70% in the period from 2007 to 2017. Although the lion’s share, or should that be the lioness’s share of the car market is still dominated by the sale of smaller cars, multi purpose cars have seen great increase with sales up 90% for this kind of vehicle. 

female car owners have gone up,
20% in 10 years.

The women have it

Despite all these trends however, a Daily Mail survey of 1200 of their readers came up with the fact that when a couple were making a decision about buying their new car, in 9 out of 10 cases the women made an equal or even the sole decision about the model that was bought, as a couple.   However despite this overwhelming proof of the influence women have, less than a third of the women responding to the survey said that they felt that car adverts were ever aimed at them. We found this very surprising and it seems very strange that the motor industry would ignore this very important and growing sector of car buyers.  On the other hand, almost 50% of men felt that car advertising did have a message for them. In the survey even the male respondents overwhelming thought that advertising by car campaigns was not aimed at women.

Dealership raw deals

In the same survey women said that their experience in the car dealership was not great either.   In the survey some 21% of women said that they found the experience a good one almost half the number of men who were asked the same question about how comfortable they felt in the car showroom.  We have all heard the cringe worthy things that are said to women like “would you like to come back with your other half?” Clearly that is not going to wash any more.

Backward in coming Forward

It is surprising perhaps; that the motor industry who are usually never slow to gain an advantage should be so far behind the curve when it comes to targeting and catering for women in their advertising campaigns and car selling techniques. Car technology is continuing apace with many advances especially in safety like autonomous braking in an emergency and intuitive speed control.  Then there is the extra comfort that often comes as standard, great WIFI connectivity, instinctual satellite navigation and great heating and air con. Add to that greater fuel efficiency and we can come to the conclusion that car ownership is more economic than ever. These are all things that appeal to the discerning woman motorist, so why are dealerships and campaigns not capitalising on it and making more of a play for our business? 

I am sure that somewhere in the bowels of some advertising agency, plans are afoot to better represent and appeal to car buying women customers.  With the survey figures that we have seen, it is clear that the female car buyer is on the rise and that focus needs to be on selling to them as much as it is on selling to the traditional car buyers – men.  At OWO we are watching for the green shoots that show that the motor industry are taking us more seriously and appreciating our buying power. After all, figures don’t lie!  

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