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Chicago Auto Show a top source for car-buying decisions: study

August 14, 2015
An examination this year of the nation’s auto shows indicates that the Chicago Auto Show tops its counterparts in every key measure of reaching the car-buying public.
While the argument that auto shows offer consumers what amounts to a one-stop, pre-shopping experience before they head to a dealership has largely been based on anecdotal evidence, the formal research study now confirms the strong link between attendance at an auto show and the likelihood of a new-vehicle purchase.
The study, "The Power of Auto Shows," was prepared by Foresight Research, a firm that counts several auto show producers among its clients, including the Chicago Automobile Trade Association. The study was released in July.
In the overall study, 57 percent of those attending an auto show said they intended to purchase or lease a vehicle within 12 months. In Chicago, that figure was 68 percent.
And consistent with their strong vehicle purchase intention, 78 percent of Chicago Auto Show attendees said they were influenced to visit in order to see newly introduced vehicles, and 63 percent to compare vehicles before a dealer visit.
While the Foresight Research study shows a strong correlation between auto show attendance and vehicle registrations, it also reveals how attendance can translate into word of mouth influence and how likely it is for an individual display to lead to the purchase of a particular brand.
Chicago Auto Show visitors this year spent an average three hours 52 minutes at the show, about 22 minutes more than the national average. Ride-and-drive participants in Chicago added another 21 minutes to their visit, Foresight Research found.
The study of the country’s major and secondary auto shows confirms several key points, specifically that auto shows:
• attract, educate and motivate shoppers to visit new-car and -truck dealerships; 
• generate action long after the conclusion of an auto show;
• provide deep engagement with vehicle brands and are pivotal to brand decisions for many buyers; and
• dovetail with digital marketing efforts as well as broadcast to assist consumers in their vehicle purchase decision.