Women are progressively dominating the car-buying process, latest research by Frost & Sullivanreveals. Ther are more women than men on the road in the United States, a trend that is also being forecasted for Europe. However, 50% of women globally are dissatisfied with their vehicles, while 74% of women feel they are misunderstood by car manufacturers. Frost & Sullivan’s upcoming analyst briefing will address what this growth in power for female car customers means, an understanding of its immense potential, and how industry players should respond.
Women are set to become a larger and more influential consumer segment than men, driving OEMs to launch specific models targeting women. “As women become the dominant car buying segment, auto makers and suppliers need to change their product development strategy”, advises Olivia Price-Walker, Frost & Sullivan Visionary Innovation Senior Consultant. “The rise of the female car purchaser is impacting OEM strategy and broadening some car categories. We believe OEMs will win by developing products and strategies that are directed at women.”
As a matter of fact, OEMs like Nissan, Ford, and Volkswagen have already begun aiming new vehicle models at women. Smaller city cars started the trend followed by traditionally male categories such as luxury and SUVs. Simultaneously, OEMs are reacting to the global mega trend for health and fitness, by equipping vehicles with climate control systems for fine dust and ionising systems to filter out viruses and spores, high quality interior panelling, and ergonomic seating.
The research for this study has identified eight key design trends of female consumer vehicle preferences:
• A customized, spacious cabin
• High visibility around the vehicle and a sunroof
• Green credibility and low CO2 emissions
• Intuitive controls
• Wellness features
• High quality materials (e.g. leather seating)
• Auto assist functions (e.g. park assist and sensorial doors)
• Personalisation options (e.g. special pedals for long heels)
The consciousness of the female buyership does not end in the showroom: Currently one of the lowest global industry averages for diversity at 18 percent, the automotive industry will proactively hire women at all levels. By 2020, leading OEMs will have an average of 25 percent female workforce and 15 to 20 percent at management level. Further evidence of the growing importance of women as a key consumer group are workshops and ‘ladies evenings’ hosted by luxury OEMs in the United States and the United Kingdom. In Japan, female friendly dealerships provide nursing rooms and spacious children’s play areas while customers are greeted by female staff – sales and mechanics. The online landscape offers female oriented review sites assisting women with accessing information and transparency on car buying (Truecar), car reviews, and driving tips (VroomGirls).