BMW, Mercedes-Benz, Tesla...Analyzing the marketing strategies of global luxury car brands

BMW, Mercedes-Benz, Tesla...Analyzing the marketing strategies of global luxury car brands

Although Japan is an automobile powerhouse with many domestic automakers, Western car brands are gaining popularity. In this research, we focus on global luxury car brands (Mercedes-Benz, Audi, Volkswagen, BMW, and Tesla) and analyze their customer profile and the strategies they use to attract customers in Japan.


Mercedes-Benz and Tesla website visitors are passionate about the brand

Let us now examine the five global luxury car brands, Mercedes-Benz, Audi, Volkswagen, BMW, and Tesla, by studying the data on visitors to each official website to determine how they are attracting customers.

This survey was conducted using Dockpit, VALUES' online behavioral data analytics tool that enables you to analyze competitor websites and research trends using behavioral data updated monthly within a browser.

Mercedes-Benz, Audi, Volkswagen, BMW, Tesla: Basic indicators
Period: May 2022 - April 2023
Devices: PC and smartphone

The table above shows the various indicators measuring the behaviors of visitors to each brand's official website. The table shows that the number of visitors to the websites of the four European brands, Mercedes-Benz, Audi, Volkswagen, and BMW, is around 2 to 3 million. The fact that all four brands have a history of 100 to 120 years and have always had a particular fan base may be a factor.

Mercedes-Benz, in particular, measured 11.1 page views per visitor and had an average time of 3 minutes and 9 seconds spent on the website, indicating that Mercedes-Benz’s website visitors viewed the most pages and stayed on the official website the longest among the four European car brands. The bounce rate was also low at 39.1%, suggesting that many of its visitors are passionate about the brand and visit multiple pages.

Tesla, on the other hand, is a relatively new brand and is unique in that it specializes in electric vehicles. Perhaps for this reason, Tesla has 1.1 million website visitors, about one-third the number of websites visitors to the four European brands. However, Tesla has the highest number of page views per visitor, with 14.3 page views, of the five brands and the lowest bounce rate of 38.6%, suggesting that it attracts high-quality visitors.

Audi continues to approach women

Next, we look at the gender of visitors to each brand's official website. The high percentage of males is a common characteristic for automobile brands.

Percentage of visitors by gender to the official websites of Mercedes-Benz, Audi, Volkswagen, BMW, and Tesla
Period: May 2022 - April 2023
Devices: PC and smartphone

Audi has the highest percentage of female visitors at approximately 27%, while Tesla has the highest percentage of male visitors at approximately 84%.

Audi's marketing efforts to reach out to women, including distributing content focused on women, such as product introductions and testimonials from female customers, and holding women-only events. It may be that the effects of these efforts may be coming to fruition.

European brands have the approval of people in their 40s and older, while Tesla is popular among younger generations

Next, we look at the age of visitors to each official website. Although there are some differences, the percentage of visitors in their 20s is low for all four European brands, while the percentage of visitors in their 40s, 50s, and 60s is high.

Percentage of visitors to the official websites of Mercedes-Benz, Audi, Volkswagen, BMW, and Tesla by age group
Period: May 2022 - April 2023
Devices: PC and smartphone

Compared to the other four brands, Tesla is distinct. There is a high percentage of visitors in their 40s, which is the same as the other brands, but the percentage of younger visitors in their 20s and 30s is higher than the other brands, while the percentage of visitors in their 50s and older is lower.

Tesla allows customers to make purchases and apply for test drives online. The fact that the process of purchasing a vehicle can be done easily without going to a dealership may also be attracting the interest of the younger generations.

Age groups of those who searched for "EV"
Period: May 2022 - April 2023
Devices: PC and smartphone

On the other hand, when we looked at the age groups of those who searched for "EV," a large amount of people were in their 40s and older. Younger people are not necessarily more conscious of environmental conservation and thus, considering Tesla. It may be that the Tesla brand itself is attracting the interest of the younger generations.

Next, we will look at the percentage of visitors to the official website who are single or married and whether they have children or not.

Percentage of single and married visitors to the official websites of Mercedes-Benz, Audi, Volkswagen, BMW, and Tesla
Period: May 2022 - April 2023
Devices: PC and smartphone

All of the brands tend to have a higher percentage of married visitors than single visitors. The only exception is Tesla, which had a higher percentage of single visitors than the other four brands, with the percentage of single visitors in the 40% range.

Percentage of visitors to the official websites of Mercedes-Benz, Audi, Volkswagen, BMW, and Tesla with or without children
Period: May 2022 - April 2023
Devices: PC and smartphone

There was a major difference between whether they have children or not. Only Tesla had a higher percentage of visitors without children.

Reasons may include the fact that Tesla has many younger visitors and that Tesla does not make family cars like station wagons. For households with children, Tesla may not be considered an option.

Some brands also attracting customers with household incomes of less than 4 million yen

Next, let's look at annual household income.

Annual household income of visitors to the official websites of Mercedes-Benz, Audi, Volkswagen, BMW, and Tesla
Period: May 2022 - April 2023
Devices: PC and smartphone

Overall, interest tends to be higher among those that have an annual household income higher than the average of all Internet users. On the other hand, interest in Audi, Volkswagen, and BMW is high among those with annual household incomes below 4 million yen.

Although many associate global car brands with luxury, these three brands also sell reasonably priced cars in the 2.5 to 4 million yen range.

Example:
・Audi A1 Sportback: 3.04 million yen and up
・Volkswagen TSI Active Basic: 2.57 million yen and up
・BMW 1 Series: from 3.98 million yen and up

Compared to these three brands, Mercedes-Benz and Tesla, which has a high percentage of users with an annual household income of 10 million yen or more, has a higher price range of about 5 million yen, even for the most affordable models.

Examples:
・Mercedes-Benz The new A-Class: 4.98 million yen and up
・Tesla Model 3: 5.4million yen and up

This difference of about 1 million yen may be due to the difference in interest by annual income.

A large number of Tesla visitors are in the younger age group. Generally, the younger age group tends to have lower disposable income than the older age group, but in the case of Tesla customers, the opposite is true. The annual household income is higher than that of other brands.
Even if Tesla visitors are narrowed down to those in their 20s and 30s and aggregated again, you can see that the percentage of users with higher annual household incomes is high.

Annual household income of visitors to the official Tesla website in their 20s and 30s
Period: May 2022 - April 2023
Devices: PC and smartphone

What are the most popular models of each brand that consumers are interested in?

Next, we explore which products and categories are popular based on the keywords searched when visiting each brand's official website (inflow keywords that led to the website). First, the top-ranking search for all brands was the respective brand name (appointed search).

Inflow keywords for the official "Mercedes-Benz" website
Period: May 2022 - April 2023
Devices: PC and smartphone

For Mercedes-Benz, its car type and model names, including the SUVs like “GLC” and “GLB,” the luxury models like “Maybach,” and a subsidiary of the Mercedes-Benz Group and a sports/race brand “AMG (Mercedes-AMG),” are frequently searched.

Inflow keywords for the official "Audi" website
Period: May 2022 - April 2023
Devices: PC and smartphone

For Audi, in addition to SUV models such as "Q3" and "SQ5," there were searches for "Certified Pre-Owned." It is apparent that people searching for Audi are not only interested in new cars but also in used cars.

Inflow keywords for the official "Volkswagen" website
Period: May 2022 - April 2023
Devices: PC and smartphone

Volkswagen is characterized by many searches for the “Golf” series, which can be said to be the flagship model of Volkswagen, such as "Golf R," "Volkswagen Golf," and "Golf Volkswagen."

Inflow keywords for the official "BMW" website
Period: May 2022 - April 2023
Devices: PC and smartphone

As with Mercedes-Benz, many searches are conducted by model or series name, such as "3 Series" for BMW, "X3 (X Series)" for its SUVs, and "M3 (M Series)" which specializes in its drive quality.

Inflow keywords for the official "Tesla" website
Period: May 2022 - April 2023
Devices: PC and smartphone

The most frequently searched Tesla models are the “Model Y” and “Model 3,” which can be said to be entry-level models in the company's lineup.
In addition to vehicle models, there are also searches for "Superchargers," facilities that can quickly charge electric vehicles. Tesla has installed Superchargers at facilities in various countries and locations, including along major routes. People searching for Tesla are also interested in how they will be charging it after purchase.

Each brand appears to have its own unique method of attracting customers

Next, let's look at the traffic sources for each brand. The graph below shows which channels, such as organic search and display ads, are most likely to bring visitors to the official website, as a percentage of the total number of visitors, by brand.

Traffic sources of the official Mercedes-Benz, Audi, Volkswagen, BMW, and Tesla websites
Period: May 2022 - April 2023
Devices: PC and smartphone

*In Dockpit, "social media" includes links posted by official accounts and general accounts, etc. Inflow via display ads featured on social media are included in "display ads," not "social media."

Audi focuses on display ads. Almost 80% of Tesla's website visitors come from organic search

Notable are Audi and Tesla.

Audi attracts nearly 50% of its customers through display ads, indicating that it is focusing on display ads to attract new customers.

The makeup of Tesla’s traffic sources greatly differs from Audi’s, with organic search accounting for nearly 80%.

Traffic sources for the official "Tesla" website
Period: May 2022 - April 2023
Devices: PC and smartphone

On the other hand, paid search and display ads accounted for 0%. This shows that Tesla, like Starbucks, is attracting its own customers without relying on advertising.

However, in a press conference in mid-May 2023, Tesla CEO Elon Musk said that he would "try a little advertising" at the shareholder meeting. Perhaps Tesla's traffic sources will change in the future.

Summary

In this research, we analyzed five global luxury car brands: Mercedes-Benz, BMW, Volkswagen, Audi, and Tesla.

The analysis revealed that each brand has its own unique customer profile and strategy for attracting customers. In particular, the newest brand Tesla seems to have a unique strategy in all areas.

Let's continue to watch how the long-established European brands will differentiate itself from its competitors and what strategies Tesla, which is strong in attracting customers to its website through organic search, will use to increase the number of visitors.

About Dockpit

▼Data from Dockpit was used in this case study. Dockpit is an online behavior analytics tool provided by VALUES, Inc., and it allows you to access online behavioral data (updated monthly) via your browser so you can research competitor websites and investigate trends. There is a FREE version of Dockpit, so if you are interested in using it, please register below.

dockpit Get free version

※日本語での記事はこちらをご確認ください

BMW、メルセデスベンツ、テスラなど...高級外車ブランドのマーケティング戦略を分析

https://manamina.valuesccg.com/articles/2409

日本は国内にさまざまな自動車メーカーのある自動車大国ではありますが、欧米諸国の車も人気を博しています。今回は、高級外車ブランド5社(メルセデスベンツ、アウディ、フォルクスワーゲン、BMW、テスラ)にフォーカスし、日本におけるユーザー像、集客戦略を分析しました。

Reference materials

・2023 Annual Shareholder Meeting
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bZNL_8bUz6A&ab_channel=Tesla

この記事のライター

Born and raised in the Bay Area, U.S.A, I was fascinated by the different social and purchasing behaviors between Japanese and American consumers. I studied communication for undergrad and international marketing for my graduate studies. My professional background is in bilingual recruitment and Japanese-English translation.

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