Who is Mary Meeker, and Why Does She Matter to Automotive Retail?

Mary Meeker is the Queen of the Internet. Or at least, that’s what Wired.com says. 

Okay. Maybe not. Meeker actually is a venture capitalist who happens to be one of the only universal points of agreement when it comes to discussing what’s next. Since the mid 2000s, she has published the mostly accurate and insightful annual Internet Trends Report – a voluminous presentation delivered rapid-fire and containing a treasure trove of data. Consider her the Thought Leader of the Internet, then, so much so that agencies study her report to direct their clients on future trends and digital marketers/retailers pick apart her findings to uncover competitive market advantages. Over the years Meeker has proved herself to be a savvy student of the space, and has identified key Internet trends, from disruption by Millennials to the onslaught of mobile and much, much more.

That’s why she matters to automotive retail, because the trends she identifies are likely to influence the common and normal shopping behavior of car buyers as they traverse the buying experience. In essence, how consumers use their online time (60% of car shopping time is spent on the Internet*) and how those behaviors evolve shapes their expectations and assumptions when they visit a dealership for a test drive.

To that end, we looked at Meeker’s 2017 report and found a few interesting tidbits that may well influence the way you create the online to in-store buyer’s journey for your dealership:

#1 Gamers

There are 2.6 billion online gamers in the world, up from 100 million in 1995, and their average age in the U.S. is 35. Smart dealers who include gamer-driven cues and influences are bound to create a more comfortable environment during the online and in-store experience.  

#2 Vocal Search

Twenty percent of search queries on Google’s mobile platform are done using voice instead of text, meaning that users are on-the-go and leveraging technology to fit search into their busy lives. They don’t have time or space to type out multiple search strings; they want an accurate voice search mechanism that pushes content to them without the hassle. It underlines the need for dealerships to create a faster and more efficient deal flow in order to keep pace with customer demands for efficiency.

#3 Mobile vs Desktop

Americans spend 5.6 hours a day engaged on digital media: Roughly 3 hours on mobile, and 2 hours on a laptop/desktop. Of course, it’s not surprising that mobile is dominant, but it is interesting how it seems to be a mobile “plus” behavior, compared to a mobile “only” practice. In addition, Meeker and Ginny Marvin at MarketingLand point out that mobile is driving retail change and informing the retail experience. At the dealership level, it’s yet another reminder of the importance of using the efficiency and familiarity of mobile technology in the showroom.  

All in, Mary Meeker and her team likely won’t help you sell more cars this month. But by reading their findings, you and your team can be better prepared for the way future customers approach the buying experience — which will empower you to create a deal flow that matches the evolving pattern of online consumer behavior. 


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