How cars really get bought: Beyond the purchase funnel - new insights from digital ethnography

Neel Desor and Rob Ellis
Haymarket Worldwide and COG Research, UK


Buying a car is the second largest purchase most of us make, after a home. There are many well-established brands, and huge marketing budgets devoted to persuading us to choose one marque or model rather than another. There is also a range of specialist magazines advising us about choice and informing us of news, and television shows about cars get high ratings.

There has also been a substantial investment in market research, from initial concept research, car clinics and ride and drive sessions, customer satisfaction and post purchase surveys, brand evaluations and purchase intent and ad tracking studies.

Despite this investment in research many in the industry still felt there was more to be learnt about how consumers really chose cars, and how they found their way on or off the shortlist, and at COG and Haymarket we often encountered scepticism about whether research really addressed key brand choice issues.