It’s no surprise that due to the economic fallout from the Covid-19 pandemic, sales of automobiles plunged by double digits. However, technical improvements and improved styling have opened the door for consumers to think about pickup trucks as their next automotive purchase. In fact, three out of the five top-selling vehicles in the U.S. today are pickup trucks

Last year, we saw some unique electric vehicles hit the market–including the wedge-shaped Tesla Cybertruck. Trucks are often considered inefficient gas-guzzlers, but that’s what makes them ideal for electrification–their size actually makes it easier to package with a large battery. New and upcoming EV releases include the Rivian R1T, the Ford F-150 Lightning, the GMC Hummer EV, the Toyota Tacoma EV, and of course, the Tesla Cybertruck.

Since today’s pickup truck buyers have specific purchase triggers, here are some insights that can help you understand the pickup path to purchase.

Microchip shortage is fueling the accelerated pickup path to purchase

We analyzed Quantcast’s first-party data to uncover insights about the pickup truck path to purchase and how top-selling pickup trucks are ranked and searched against competing models. With the microchip shortage impacting car availability, we have observed an increased urgency for buyers to make a decision before getting sidelined. Access to supply has dwindled, significantly decreasing the time it takes for a user to contact the dealership, with pickup truck buyers who considered payment options taking three fewer days before contacting a dealership.

Knowing that this customer journey is happening more quickly, it’s never been more important to tap into audience insights to learn:

  1. Who your audience is and how they buy: With Quantcast Measure, you can gain real-time insight and research into the demographic and psychographic makeup of your audience. You can then leverage those unique audience insights to fuel more relevant messaging, ad campaigns and content.
  2. Where you rank with competitors: Through Quantcast’s Quadrant Segment Mapping, you can understand how your car brand ranks among pickup truck competitors.

Pickup truck buyers’ journey has four key touchpoints

Here’s a look at what the online journey looked like for pickup truck buyers in recent months:

Quantcast Auto Industory Data Actions
  • Model search: Users browse for model-specific content (specs, gallery, inventory)
  • Promotion: Users view pages on current offers and incentives
  • Payment estimator: Users calculate their financial payments
  • Contact dealership: Users contact a dealer representative/book an appointment

Demographics: Aspirers vs. Intenders

Pickup trucks, like other car segments, attract aspirational buyers as well as core in-market intenders. This fact is reflected in the demographics at each buyer stage. Intenders who have contacted a dealership tend to skew mid-life (ages 30-44) compared to the aspirational site visitor who is younger (ages 21-29). Interestingly, the 21-29 year-olds tend to be more interested in promotions and payment estimator tools. This may be due to the financing process being potentially more complicated for the group, making them more receptive to sales and financing flexibility.

Quantcast Data Auto Buyer Data

Mobile phones are preferred device when shopping for pickups

Although mobile phones are the most preferred device type, Quantcast data shows that users aged 45+ prefer to use laptops and desktops when shopping for pickup trucks. This data point indicates that those 45+ prefer to use larger screens versus younger segments who may be more comfortable using a mobile device to quickly access information.

Quantcast Data Pickup Truck User Device

The Two Primary Paths to Purchasing a Pickup Truck 

There are two primary paths to purchasing a pickup truck: 

  1. The typical auto buyer, who directly contacts the dealership from the model information page
  2. The comparison shopper, who does a same-day online search of the make and model after a test drive.
Quantcast Data Typical Auto Buyer

Key competitive segment takeaways

  • Buying American: The Chevrolet Silverado, GMC Sierra, and Ford F-150 are the standard bearers within the US pickup truck market. US OEMs are the first stop for consumers interested in pickup trucks. Trucks produced by Japanese manufacturers display relatively low sales volumes and cater to a more niche audience.
  • RAM defies rules: While the RAM 1500 ranks lower in appeal and appears more niche than its main competitors (Silverado, F-150, Sierra), it displayed the second highest monthly sales volume, only beaten by the Ford F-150. The RAM 1500 also ranks as the #1 truck by several publications (Car and Driver Magazine, MotorTrend, and CarMax).
  • Mid-size mainstream: On average, light-duty trucks showcase a higher uniqueness score, while mid-size trucks display a higher average mass appeal. This means that mid-size trucks are deemed more “mainstream” within the overall pickup truck market.

Quantcast provides the keys to automotive success

To find out how we use our quadrant segment mapping methodology to segment pickup truck models and rank them against competing models, and to dive into our key competitive segment takeaways, download the complete US Automotive Insights guide. Discover an even greater wealth of automotive insights by visiting our Automotive Industry Expertise page. 

To tap into the power of unique real-time data to drive brand and performance outcomes for your automotive campaigns, get in touch with us.