Plate change and bonus season mean lucrative opportunities for motor brands this March

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Over 40 purchases per hour on mobile devices.

24% increase in searches in the Cars, Motorcycles & Vehicles category.

Over 23,000 searches per day for “Porsche”.

On average, a car is bought on every minute and, annually, interest peaks in March, according to our insights.

The UK’s annual bonus season and the March vehicle plate registration change mean that next month is prime time for automotive brands to engage shoppers making high-value purchases – last year, more searches were made in the Cars, Motorcycles & Vehicles category in March than in any other month of the year.

Mediacom’s Pauline Robson believes that March is an incredibly important time for brands in the automotive sector.

“By having a presence across both mobile and desktop devices, brands can communicate with shoppers from their first search to their final purchase – and every step in between. Those that can combine their mobile presence with behavioural insight and flexibility stand to have the most impact at this busy time.”

The data also reveals that the build up starts in the final days of February: in 2015, shoppers anticipating the plate change drove a rise of almost a quarter (24%) in searches in the category in the last three days of February.

To help marketers tap into this surge in interest, we have pinpointed two key shopper trends to look out for this year:

Motors go mobile

We expect that mobile will be one of the biggest battlegrounds for spend, as the consumer trend of “showrooming” - visiting a shop to examine a product before buying it online – continues and consumers become more confident buying big-ticket items on mobile devices.

There were over 40 purchases per hour on mobile devices in the Cars, Motorcycles & Vehicles category in the week that followed the plate registration change last year, demonstrating that mobile is now a dominant channel for motor purchases.

Bonus bounce

March also means ‘bonus season’ for a lot of UK shoppers, which could explain why higher-end car brands are popular at this time of year, with BMW and Mercedes the most searched for car brands in March 2015.

During the week of 23rd March 2015, when most of the UK banked their March pay cheques, recorded over 150,000 searches for luxury car brand “Porsche.” Equating to over 23,000 searches a day, this highlights the opportunity for smart brands to continue to engage shoppers with aspirational messages when they’re at their most flush.

As consumers become more comfortable making high-value purchases on mobile, there is a lot that motor brands can learn from other sectors as the automotive sector plays catch up. Brands that have visibility on mobile as well as desktop devices stand a better chance of capturing customers’ attention in all stages of the purchase journey.
Phuong Nguyen, Director of eBay Advertising in the UK

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