How to Find & Interpret Car Buying Trends in the Digital Age

car buying trendsThe best way to keep a leg up on the competition is to stay familiar with car buying trends—a task made simple in the digital age

You’ve just started your career as a sales representative at a prestigious dealership. You’re determined to become a top seller in your first year, something you know you can’t do with expertise in your dealership’s offering alone. To surpass other sales reps, you need to know what’s going on in the broader world of auto sales. You need to be familiar with car buying trends locally, nationally, and even globally, if you want to reach the top.

Where to find car buying trends in the digital age

More and more people are shopping for cars online. The good news is, the internet also offers dealers a glimpse into car buying trends. Fee-based sites like Experian Automotive provide dealers with research and insights that paint a clear picture of auto market trends, including analyses of both vehicles and the people who buy them.

This service is particularly valuable because of the consumer profiles available within. After all, you can’t expect to be a top sales representative if you don’t first know what your customers want.

Another data-driven source for car buying trends comes from the Wall Street Journal’s auto sales section. Full of charts and numbers, WSJ focuses more on cold hard facts than it does on interpretation, which leaves dealers free to draw their own conclusions about what’s selling and what isn’t.

For more in-depth looks at car buying trends, sites like Wards Auto,, and deliver information drawn from much smaller, more specific nets. These detailed trend analyses are for not only understanding the current market but also for spotting your own trends that can help you keep a leg up on the competition.

The value of knowing

Now that you’ve got some data on car buying trends, you might ask yourself, what’s the point? What good does it do to know which size cars are selling the best, or which brands have seen the greatest increases and decreases in sales?

The answer is simple: If you know what’s trending, you can tailor your business to adhere to those patterns. For example, if large-size SUV sales have increased by 20% over past year while small-size SUV sales have dipped by the same amount, you’ll naturally want to focus your sales efforts on the former.

And once you’ve narrowed down the top sellers, you can research the demographics of who is buying those vehicles. Statistics on SUVs may hold true for suburban or rural areas, but big city sales might be completely different. Knowing trends is the first step towards understanding your customers, which is ultimately the information you’re after. After all, statistics won’t do you any good if they aren’t relevant to your particular market.

Expertise gives you the edge

A firm grasp of car buying trends not only gives you the advantage when planning your sale strategies, but it also builds trust with your customers. In the showroom or on the lot, demonstrate your knowledge to your customers, and they’ll appreciate that you’ve done your homework.

Buying a car is a huge investment for people, and they’ll love knowing that they’re working with someone who understands both their needs and how the auto market can best meet those needs at an affordable price.

Expertise also allows for more effective upselling. If someone comes in looking for a family sedan, but you truly believe based on your market research that an SUV would be a better choice, explain why. If the customer thinks you’re just trying to make a bigger sale, they’re likely to shut down and even lose some faith in you as a sales rep.

On the other hand, if you provide hard empirical data that speaks to a customer’s needs, the difference in dollars and cents becomes less important as long as it’s still within their budget.

Stats over slick-talking

At the end of the day, hard data on car buying trends is going to increase your revenue far more than fast-handed sales tactics. You not only educate your customers and show them the value of what you’re offering to them, but if you do it right, you’ll create customers for life. And there’s no better way to shoot to the top than that.

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Patrick H.
Patrick H.