While this may be a rhetorical question, it is one that has existed since the beginning of time: what do women want? Women in the United States are gradually overtaking men on the roads and in showrooms. Many car commercials seem to appeal primarily to men, who purchase the majority of trucks and luxury vehicles. However, a recent study found that women exert influence in 84% of all car buying decisions, so it becomes important to evaluate what women value in a vehicle.
For the first time in history, there are more women than men in the United States with a valid driver’s license. Not surprisingly, women correspondingly drive more miles per year. By at least one estimate, women also purchase the majority of the vehicles sold in the United States. This paradigm shift should signal a change in direction for the automotive industry.
As the title of the book, “Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus,” would suggest, men and women tend to hold very different priorities when it comes to purchasing a vehicle. Men prefer more powerful and expensive vehicles than their female counterparts and are more likely to be conscious of a vehicle’s brand. According to Forbes, “While buying a new car, women are practical and tend to connect the purchase to the ideas of freedom and independence. They prefer small and maneuverable cars, but further give importance to design, spaciousness, safety, quality of materials, vehicle color and sustainability of the car.”
In past generations, men were typically the primary buyers and drivers in a household. The trend is beginning to reverse, however, especially with millennials. 53% of millennial car buyers are female, and millennial women are the most confident and informed generation of women in history. By some estimates, women already account for $80 billion in auto sales and that number will almost assuredly grow in the coming years.
Traditionally, the automotive industry has primarily been run by men attempting to sell vehicles to other men. In recent decades, this trend has changed as women have become more involved in the industry and have been increasingly responsible for vehicle purchases. Some manufacturers will likely continue to market vehicles that appeal primarily to men. It would be prudent, however, for manufacturers to take notice of the future of the market by providing vehicles that appeal to women as well. Qualities such as fuel-efficiency and affordability are not attractive to one gender exclusively. A stylish, reasonably priced, efficient vehicle could bridge the gap and have universal appeal.