Does Foot Traffic Predict New Car Sales? Signs Point to Yes.

December 18, 2018

Americans love their cars: General Motors’ chief economist predicts 2018 will be the fourth straight year that new vehicle sales top 17M. The nation’s biggest automaker – with its portfolio of brands including Chevrolet, Buick and GMC – sold nearly 695K cars in Q3 2018. Toyota sold just under 635K cars for the runner-up spot. Ford Motor Company, with 607K cars sold, rounded out the top 3.

At Gravy Analytics, we use pseudonymous mobile location data to measure consumer visits to millions of places and events – including auto dealerships. We wondered if our location-derived foot traffic data for leading automakers would match up with their sales rank. Would our data be a good indicator of actual new car sales? Using data from Q3 2018, we analyzed average daily visits to major auto brands across the US to find out. 

Does Foot Traffic Predict New Car Sales? Signs Point to Yes.

What did we learn?

With a few exceptions, the more foot traffic a brand received, the more new cars they sold.

Foot Traffic & Sales at Car Dealerships – Q3 2018

MakeFoot Traffic Rank% Q3 Foot TrafficSales Rank% Q3 New Car Sales
General Motors120.50%116.96%
Ford Motor Company215.76%314.82%
Fiat Chrysler410.73%413.78%

What else did we find interesting?

Certain brands – like Toyota and Subaru –  seem to turn visitors into buyers at significantly higher rates. Other brands, like Volkswagen and BMW, have higher foot traffic but comparatively lower sales. 

What can marketers do with this information?

The biggest challenge is often to get potential customers in the door. Once they’re in-store, the onus is on the sales representative to sell – which depends on their sales skills but also on the in-store experience, financing options and the car itself. What could industry marketers learn from automakers who excel at bringing consumers in the door – as at GM or Volkswagen? What could they learn from brands like Toyota and Subaru to improve their own rates of conversion?

If location intelligence can help to predict new car sales, just imagine what it could do for your business. For more information, contact us today.

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