Mass media is “nearly obsolete” for some buyers


Market research company Polk has found that first-time car buyers barely use traditional media in assessing potential options, leading to a description of traditional media as “nearly obsolete” for this sector. Internet is the primary information source for 35% of these buyers, four times that for television, and eight times that for magazines. Sixty-five percent of vehicle buyers did so without any influence from family or friends, making their media information sources all the more important. As first-time car buyers are in the 18-30 age bracket, the bias to online media is not surprising. However the superior information search and multiple perspectives available online mean older buyers are increasingly dependent on online information for their high-value purchases. One implication is that specialist buyer magazines will find it very hard going as advertisers shift to where the buyers spend their time. Another is that classifieds, for cars and other high-value items, will continue their shift to online. Print classifieds will soon be considered archaic. The issue will become who owns the classifieds – traditional media players, or new players? This will be the subject of some of the research on the future of media my organization will be doing over the next months – more details soon.