European Car Connections Strongest in Spain

Spanish automotive consumers displayed a major move to wireless searches, with 63% of all digital engagement on car brands’ online platforms coming through smartphones, significantly more than cellphone use in France (49%) and the U.K. (47%).

Paul Myles, European Editor

March 9, 2018

2 Min Read
Online car shopping clicks in Europe
Online car shopping clicks in Europe.

Data analysis of potential car buyers in Europe reveals Spanish browsers lead the way in engagement with automakers’ products through cellphones.

At the same time, consumers in the U.K. are shown as YouTube addicts and Volkswagen is tops in terms of online searches.

These are among the latest findings by automotive online specialists Sophus3 that analyzed nearly 300 million car-related clicks in fourth-quarter 2017 in Europe for its latest quarterly AMI Automotive Intelligence Report.

Spanish automotive consumers displayed a major move to wireless searches, with 63% of all digital engagement on car brands’ online platforms coming through smartphones. This was up 6% on the same period in 2016, supporting Spain’s growing new-car market, and significantly more than cellphone use in the U.K. (47%) and France (49%).

YouTube dominates online consumer engagement in the U.K. While there were 59 million visits to automotive websites, there were more than 92 million clicks on car brands’ YouTube videos in the same period. In Germany, total website visits hit 60 million, with just 39 million hits on car brands’ YouTube videos.

The French, however, are the busiest en masse on websites of the top five European Union markets monitored by Sophus3 with more than 64 million automotive website visits, outpacing Germany with 60 million, U.K. with 59 million, Italy with 57 million and Spain with 52 million.

Yet Spaniards were seen to be the European champions for active engagement online, recording more than 280 million online actions, a new quarterly record since this data analysis began 16 years ago.

Spanish auto enthusiasts also completed proportionally more online car configurations than in other markets – a new customer touchpoint for the car brands. They recorded a 30% completion rate compared with just 19% of Germans. The variety of brands visited by Spanish consumers online also was more varied than in all other markets.

Where the main German premium brands and Ford dominated web traffic in France, Germany, Italy and the U.K., the top three brands visited in Spain were Kia, SEAT and Peugeot.

The Volkswagen brand dominated European web traffic overall, supporting its market resurgence, followed by Ford, Audi and BMW.

Commenting on the findings, Scott Gairns, Sophus3 managing director, says: “We believe this provides as good, if not better, intelligence to car companies of consumer demand and future buying patterns than new car sales. Discovering online trends and seeing what does and does not work for the car brands online is an amazing adventure at such a significant time for the industry.

“My guess is that YouTube and mobile engagement will continue to focus attention and power new car research and even purchase soon.”

Sophus3’s full-year 2017 report will be presented at its annual automotive forum Feb. 22 in London.



About the Author(s)

Paul Myles

European Editor, Informa Group

Paul Myles is an award-winning journalist based in Europe covering all aspects of the automotive industry. He has a wealth of experience in the field working at specialist, national and international levels.

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