What Do Women Drive? Car Decisions
When It Comes to Getting a Vehicle, Females Are Making the Call
As new parents, my husband and I are forced to make more decisions in a day than I probably made as a single woman in a month – very few of them remotely memorable and many not even expressed in spoken word.
Is that a “come now” cry from the kiddo or is it of the “hear me now, deal with me later” variety? The tiny human is trying to conquer the stairs again; do you wanna follow her on this journey or should I?
However, when I break these decisions down a little more, one thing becomes clear: the big-ticket items come to mama (ahem, me).
Should we get a surfboard? Uh… nope.
Should we move into a new place? Maybe.
Should we get this car? Strong yes.
In light of all of the decisions that end up in my lap, I started to wonder: It can’t just be me, right? I’m not some power-hungry arbiter of all things domestically consequential, am I?
The good news: Turns out, I’m not. Not at all.
In fact, women drive 70%-80% of all consumer purchases, according to Forbes. The research shows that we're the ones who decide where we're going to live, where the family goes on vacation, and which cars those in our households end up driving.
Speaking of cars, 62% of new ones were purchased by women – alongside females influencing fully 85% of vehicle purchases. And while we at Fair think it’s smarter for a lot of reasons to lease an affordable used vehicle through our app instead of borrowing five figures for a brand-new one, the point is this: No matter how you get your wheels, women are most likely making the final call on it.
“Women are taking the lead in around 80% of car-buying decisions. This is why companies like Ford have specifically tailored some of their marketing campaigns towards women, given their significant portion of the purchasing market,” Anna Baker, personal finance expert and founder of LogicalDollar, told Fair.
So with the data demonstrating the critical role that women play in deciding their family’s mobility picture, why do women like me still find it so difficult to go into a dealership? And why is the vast majority of auto marketing still geared more toward men?
In my opinion, it’s because car companies still really don’t know what to do with women. The marketing is off. The in-person dynamics at the lot are very often weird. And if you’re a Black woman like me, there’s a whole host of other factors coming in to play that can make a day at the dealership one heck of a downer on a Saturday.
So what can be done to appease the female auto customer? Here are a couple of my suggestions:
First, don’t make assumptions about us. Not all women want luxury vehicles. Not all moms want to transport their kids in a minivan. And not all women are bad drivers. The minute assumptions are made, the car-buying experience is bad and we’re pretty much out the door. Try a different approach and listen.
Second, market to women. If women have been proven to be the decision-makers when it comes to big-ticket items like a car, then perhaps we should be communicated with as such. Studies show that we aren’t all about what the vehicle looks like on the outside. In fact, we’re much more interested in what the car feels like. Is it safe? Is it comfortable? Will my three dogs (or cats if you roll that way) fit in the backseat?
And, lastly, women shouldn’t have to pay more for a car just because we hold a second X chromosome. Did you know that women pay on average $200 more for a vehicle than men? True story, but it shouldn’t be the case. If our financial stats are the same, shouldn’t we pay the same as a man?
Of course, a lot of this stuff happens to women in activities well outside of getting a car. Which is why I personally prefer to get most of my stuff via app, where I’ll be charged fairly and not be subjected to weird vibes – or made to feel like I don’t belong simply because I’m a woman.
There’s no question I look forward to the kind of societal changes that will make some in-person consumer situations more comfortable. But in the meantime I’ll keep wielding my considerable clout as my household’s de facto treasury secretary where I’m most comfortable: on my phone.