Polk: Older Buyers More Loyal

According to research firm R. L. Polk & Co., regardless of age, consumers are consistently more loyal to Asian makes, versus European and domestic brands. Too, owner loyalty increases as the owners get older.


The industry average for loyalty is 44.4 percent, meaning that that percentage re-up with the same brand. The average for U.S. brands for 2006 models was 43.5 percent, and for Asian brands it was 47.6 percent. European brands stood at 37.3 percent.


While owners ages 65 and older typically rate the highest for brand loyalty (50.5 percent), Polk data shows they only represent 13.4 percent of new owners returning to market for another new vehicle. over 75 percent of those returning to market are between 35 and 64 years of age, which accounts for a core buyer base to most brands.


"Automakers and their marketing partners should consider these findings when communicating with different age groups," said Lonnie Miller, director for industry analysis at Polk. "While it can't be taken as a cause and effect issue, there's definitely a strong relationship between the age and the degree of loyalty we see to a given brand."


For the 2006 model year, more than 6.5 million new-vehicle-owning households in the U.S. were examined for their loyalty, conquest, and defection buying behaviors. For more than ten years, Polk has based its loyalty insights from its Manufacturer Loyalty Excelerator(TM) programs, combining registration, demographic, and opinion data, representing an industry standard.


"As consumers age and progress through different vehicles, it makes sense that they learn more and have more meaningful experiences that would cause their loyalty to increase," said Miller. "However, strong levels of cross-shopping are not always valuable to consumers, depending on the experience. In the end, this can help brand loyalty."

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