37% of car buying decisions influenced by kids

More than three quarters of parents (78%) claim that having kids forced them to buy a new car. And nearly four in ten (37%) say that children go on to influence decisions to buy their next car.

These were the key finding of research carried out for Auto Trader, the UK’s largest digital automotive marketplace, in August, pooling the views of 1,000 parents and children aged between 5 and 11. The aims were to look at what parents and children looked for in their perfect family car – and to what extent children influenced their parents’ buying decision.

Findings pointed to a number of differences in the success of pester power. More than half of Londoners, for example (55%), said they were likely to be influenced by their children, compared with just 24% in the North East. When it comes to the sexes, the research suggests dads should probably be the target of lobbying. 39% of dads said they were open to influence compared with 33% of mums.

“A substantial amount of research has been done looking at how the decision of the car buyer can be influenced and at what stage in the buying journey,” commented Nathan Coe of Auto Trader, “but few have really considered the role that children play, or the influence of pester power. If one of the kids doesn’t like the shape or colour of your next car, or it doesn’t come with plug-in for an i-Pad, then you’d better be prepared for some serious pestering!”

Overall, colour is the most likely area for successful persuasion by children (26% influenced their parents’ choice of colour). Children are most likely to push for red (28%), followed by blue (21%), black (14%) and pink (13%). Perhaps unsurprisingly boys tend to favour red cars (28% v 23%) and girls preferred pink (26% v 1%). However, only 2% said they’d prefer a white car, despite white being the most popular new car colour, according to SMMT new car sales data.

Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT): new car registrations by colour 2014

 http://www.smmt.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/sites/2/Colour-2014.jpg

Children also influenced their parents in terms of the comfort (13%), size (12%), design (12%) and entertainment systems (9%) fitted to their new car. Safety however – top of the list of priorities for parents (27%) – was one area where parents tend to go it alone.

After safety, parents were most concerned with the size and space of the new car they were buying so they could get extra boot space or more seats (25%), how comfortable it would be (23%) and how reliable (19%) – entertainment systems were only considered important by 2% of parents.

For children however, their top ten wish list in a family car included glamour features like turbo buttons, ejector seats and flame filled exhausts, perhaps unsurprisingly alongside entertainment systems.

Coe continues: “Car retailers are becoming more aware of the need to cater for children on the forecourt, both in terms of providing entertainment for them whilst their parents are looking at cars, and actively pointing out features that they would be interested in, like in-car entertainment systems. As the technical specifications on new cars continues to advance, kids will only become more interested in the car they are transported about in.”

Is mum or dad a better driver? Overall, more children in the survey pointed to their dads (54%). However when it comes to dropping off at the school gates, mums rule the playground: 55% voted for them compared to 42% who said they’d prefer their Dad to drop them off.  More than two thirds (79%) of parents would claim they are better drivers compared to their partner.

When asked to consider their favourite superhero car, children went mad for the Batmobile. It topped the chart for all ages from 5 through to 11, other than for kids aged six year – they chose Lightning McQueen from the Cars’ films.