Behind the logo: Do brand sponsorships make an impact on car buyers?
June 9th, 2023, Bhavika Bansal

Behind the logo: Do brand sponsorships make an impact on car buyers?

In the fast-paced world of marketing, sponsorships have become a ubiquitous tool for brands to increase their visibility and connect with potential customers. From sporting events and concerts to social media influencers, sponsorships have ingrained themselves into our daily lives. But amidst this sea of brand endorsements, do prospective car buyers take notice? And if so, what actions do they take, and what are their attitudes towards such sponsorships?

Data from YouGov Global Profiles highlights some interesting variations in the awareness of different types of sponsorships among consumers - who intend to purchase a new, certified pre-owned and/or used car in the next 12 month - across key international markets. While some patterns emerge, such as the prominence of event sponsorships, product placements, and user-generated content sponsorships, there are also noteworthy differences that reflect the market dynamics of each country.

Sponsorships at sporting events or music festivals appear to be the most popular and catch the attention of a significant proportion of respondents across all countries, with Hong Kong leading at 43%, followed closely by the USA and the United Arab Emirates at 41% and 46%, respectively.

Prospective car buyers in Hong Kong are more than twice as likely as those in Denmark to notice product placements (51% vs. 24%) and sponsorships in user-generated content on YouTube or in podcasts (42% vs. 20).

Similarly, twice as many consumers in the UAE and Hong Kong say they notice sponsored social media posts than consumers in Denmark (34%, 30% and 17% respectively).

Co-branding partnerships between brands and celebrities seem to have the most sway in the UAE with one in four prospective car buyers (25%) saying they have noticed such sponsorships in the last six months.

As can be seen from the data, brand sponsorships tend to grab more attention in the UAE and Hong Kong than in any other market. Less than a tenth of consumers eyeing new and/or used cars in these markets (4% and 8% respectively) say they are unlikely to notice any of brand sponsorship compared to almost a quarter of respondents in Denmark (23%).

However, noticing brand sponsorships is just one piece of the puzzle. It is important to understand the actions these prospective car buyers take after noticing such sponsorships.

Given their likelihood to not notice brand sponsorships at all, it is perhaps unsurprising that nearly two-fifths of respondents in Denmark and Britain say they have not taken any action even after noticing such sponsorships (39% for both). 

Simply visiting a website but making no purchases is the most common post-sponsorship action across almost all studied markets, albeit significantly more so in Hong Kong (32%), the US (35%) and the UAE (38%) than in Britain (23%) and Denmark (20%). 

More than one in four prospective car buyers in Hong Kong (27%) and the UAE (29%) claim to have researched the sponsors further while more than a third of them in the US (33%) and UAE (36%) say they have visited a sponsor’s website and made a purchase.

Respondents in the UAE (44%) are the most likely of all to visit a sponsor’s social media profile followed by those in Hong Kong (31%) and the US (29%).

A look at global respondents’ - adults who intend to purchase a car in the next 12 months - attitudes towards brand sponsorships also reveals some further nuances.

Though almost half of respondents say they rarely notice who sponsors an event (49%), more than half are likely to take notice if brands sponsor the sporting events they watch (53%).

When asked about brands sponsoring specific sporting teams, more than half of prospective car buyers globally say they love to see their favorite team have cool sponsors (55%). However, half of our respondents say they prefer brands that stick to sponsoring just one team (50%).

Almost three-fifths of respondents agree that sponsorships can help keep companies socially relevant (58%). Comparatively, almost half of prospective car buyers globally feel that sometimes it doesn’t make sense for brands to sponsor sports (48%). 

Clearly, sponsorships can spell success for automakers, but it can be imperative for them to exercise caution when selecting the right opportunities and channels for such sponsorships, especially in the case of sports teams and sporting events. 

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Methodology: YouGov Global Profiles is a globally consistent audience dataset with 1000+ questions across 48 markets. The data is based on continuously collected data from adults aged 16+ years in China and 18+ years in other markets. The sample sizes for YouGov Global Profiles will fluctuate over time, however the minimum sample size is always c.1000. Data from each market uses a nationally representative sample apart from India and UAE, which use urban representative samples, and China, Egypt, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Malaysia, Morocco, Philippines, South Africa, Taiwan, Thailand and Vietnam, which use online representative samples. Learn more about Global Profiles.