GfK Automotive Survey



This survey is intended to give the market insight into the various steps in the customer journey towards choosing a car, the changes in brand preference at each step and the importance of the various touch points and media at each stage of the journey. The survey enables us to identify accurately who is open to which brands at what stage of the journey and how we can reach these people.

For this project, 3,013* Belgians over the age of 18 were questioned in December 2016 about their plans to choose a car in the next six months (as the owner or driver of a company car) or whether they had done so in the last 12 months, with the latter group as a proxy for the final phase in the customer journey, the final decision. The data was collected through CAWI; recruiting was done on the basis of the Online GfK panel and was representative for Belgium.


Two thirds of the respondents who are planning to choose a car are still at an early stage. Only a quarter of them were sure or almost sure of which car they were going to choose at the time of the survey. In the media, we see variations in reach depending on the phase in the customer journey that the respondents are at. Throughout the customer journey, consumers add or dismiss brands and models until a stable shortlist is formed. The challenge for marketeers is to gain as high a position in the shortlist as possible in the preceding phases. Once the shortlist has been established, the challenge is to activate consumers.

Touch points such as open days and participation in trade fairs are important but only constitute part of the communication mix. Although the importance of social media varies from brand to brand, its impact remains limited. The use of ‘traditional’ media therefore remains important.

In the criteria for choice, four themes recur: safety, feeling good, reward (‘I’m worth it’) and freedom.

For brands that aim to reach consumers who currently put their brand in second or third position, i.e. brands that want to climb to the top of the shortlist, we see significant differences between media.

The results are available at top level as a general exploratory report and as a brand report. The Roularta Media research team would be happy to draw further insights from this study that are relevant to your brand and communication goal.

Conducted by: GfK Belgium

*Net sample after application of recruitment criteria.