'Driving Change in Luxury Automotive' Trends Report
Whilst the pandemic may have stopped many automotive HQs in their tracks, the luxury sector has continued to thrive - with car manufacturers such as Bentley and Rolls-Royce reporting record sales and deliveries.
In the first quarter of this year Rolls-Royce recorded the best results in its 116-year history, delivering 1380 cars, 62% up on 2020 and surpassing its previous best from 2019, Autocar reports.
The bespoke commission side of business – playthings for the ultra-elite – is booming, says the company. This news is echoed at Bentley: not one customer of the company’s limited 12-issue run of the £1.5 million Bacalar reneged on purchase.
Elsewhere, the British brand delivered 11,206 vehicles in 2020, up 1.8% year-over-year — and the highest output in its 101-year history.
“Let’s just say we began 2020 with the strongest order bank since 2003—and we started this January with 50% more orders than last January,” said Bentley CEO Adrian Hallmark.
“Our sales right now are some 30% above last year, even bearing in mind last year was a record,” Hallmark continued. “It would take an even bigger asteroid than the Covid one to knock us off track again.”
Should we be surprised? Historically, data shows that the luxury sector is one of the fastest to bounce back when a crisis subsides, and pre-Covid, the luxury vehicle market was buoyant. A Future of Global Luxury Vehicle Market Analysis report predicted luxury car sales would grow at an annual rate of 35% from 2019-2023.
But while this figure does not appear to have changed, the way the ultra-wealthy purchase automobiles has. As with much of the luxury goods industry, the crisis has forced high-end car brands to rethink their digital experience and implement effective eCommerce strategies.
Aston Martin Design Director Marek Reichman agrees: “The pandemic forced all of us to change the way we live our lives and this of course has a knock-on effect on how people look to experience and purchase cars,” he says. “Some of those changes – internet based searching and purchase – were happening anyway but they have been accelerated by the pandemic. This means that it is now more important than ever for customers to trust in brands and have a great internet experience so they trust in the online purchase process.”
According to Stylus, in the US, 61% of buyers are now open to buying vehicles online – almost twice as many (32%) as before the pandemic. But this requires a service and user experience capable of diminishing the hard sell, and boosting trust. From live demos, contactless deliveries and concierge-style assistance, to opportunities via personal-tracker-style payment plans, transparency, neutrality and support are key.
Post-Covid, the ways in which we live our daily lives has rapidly evolved evolved so it’s to be expected that this would be reflected in the way that the ultra-wealthy purchase their vehicles too. Some of these changes were already in motion, but were amplified by the pandemic, such as an increase in internet-based search and purchase. Globally, the attitudes and personal identities of the luxury consumer are evolving.
So how do Luxury car brands meet the altered needs of their consumers? What values and experiences do consumers now seek from brands? And how do these brands compete in a changing market?
Although originally written pre-Covid, many of the themes in this report remain just as relevant and vital, if not more so, for luxury car brands and the future of luxury automotives as they have only been accelerated by the pandemic.
How to approach a changing market with strategic partnerships.
The importance of rapidly-developing technologies and the digital experience.
How ideas of luxury are changing.
How brands can strategize to align with the values of their consumers.
Why sustainability should be a priority for luxury brands.
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