Sophus3’s ‘2018 Digital Car Buyers’ report too big to be ignored?


Sophus3’s ‘2018 Digital Car Buyers’ report too big to be ignored?


London, Tuesday 27 February: In time for the UK’s March new registration plate change, Sophus3, Europe’s leading automotive digital market and consumer intelligence provider, has released its annual report into online consumer behaviour on car brands’ websites.


Based on a record 1.3 billion interactions in France, Germany, Italy, Spain and the UK, it is the most comprehensive European automotive online analysis ever, providing a complete picture of car-buying trends and intentions at a pivotal time for the industry.


Some of the report’s most interesting insights are highlighted below. The full report can be downloaded at


  • 17% more website visits than in 2016 delivered a record 1.27 billion visits: Sophus3 recorded just 514,000 web visits in 2007, showing the growing reliance on ‘digital’ in a decade
  • On average it costs €3.9 in marketing to deliver each of the 1.3 billion web visits, yet just one in a thousand visitors request a test-drive, meaning each test-drive costs at least €3,900 on average to generate
  • 59% of all web traffic was via smartphones or tablets. 2017 also saw, for the first time, a phone subscription (Apple iPhone X) cost more than car repayments (Suzuki Celerio 1.0 SZ2)…the automotive industry is morphing into ‘mobility’ in more ways than one
  • The average number of car brands considered is 6 compared to 4 in 2015 and 2.5 in 2007. This suggests a great opportunity for new entrants into established market segments
  • 35% of visitors to car websites looked at SUV pages, up from 24% in 2016. Despite this dominance online, SUVs made up 30% of sales by segment indicating the SUV market still has significant room for growth
  • A staggering 960 million car brand films were viewed on YouTube, yet just 1.7% of web traffic came via social media: there is clearly lots of work to be done within digital marketing departments to convert this audience
  • Luxury (and Lada) led the way in car sales’ top 10 movers in 2016 with McLaren (+221.3%), Tesla (+83%) and Aston Martin (+65%) ahead of Lada (+59%) in terms of percentage gains
  • 3.5 million: the total sales of the top 20 models sold in 2017. A massive 41% down on the total sales of the top 20 in 2001


Scott Gairns, Sophus3 managing director, said: “Online traffic in 2017 to car brand websites saw its biggest year-on-year increase since 2009 as the European car market returns to pre-crisis levels of sales. All indications are that the European car industry has the potential for a much-needed market resurgence. However, challenges lie ahead in the short and medium term, especially in the UK and for brands reliant on diesel.


“Sophus3’s role is to help the car industry understand consumer behaviour behind the numbers and therefore improve engagement with their visitors online. We love numbers at Sophus3. But most of all we love putting them into the context that helps clients deliver their target numbers through an improved online experience for car buyers. We help provide a return on experience as much as a return on investment.”


Sophus3’s ‘Digital Car Buyers in Numbers’ report is presented annually at their established and highly-regarded automotive Forum now in its 16th year. Held in London, the Forum focused on the company’s eDataXchange collaboration, a unique online analysis and data-sharing project that provides over 30 automotive brands, and leading automotive media publishers, with insights into market and digital marketing performance.


Press Contact: Mark Harrison
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