Why ‘Car Guys’ Are 4 Times More Valuable to Marketers Than Average Consumers


New study examines behavior of auto, outdoor and home tech enthusiasts

Auto enthusiasts are more valuable than you realize.
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Superfans are a powerful target audience for brands and marketers—almost twice as valuable overall, to be exact. That’s according to “The Power of the Enthusiast,” a new study by The Enthusiast Network (TEN) and GfK, which examines the purchase behavior and influence of “enthusiasts” in the automotive, adventure sports/outdoor and home tech categories.

Enthusiasts are defined, in the study, as consumers who are passionate about a certain category, and are looked to by friends and family as trusted advice givers who offer recommendations via word-of-mouth or social media. They’re consulted for advice on a purchase three times more than the average consumer.

“They’re somebody who’s directly involved in the decision making before it happens, and they’re sought out by peers and friends as an expert,” explained Josh Paige, research manager at TEN.

Auto enthusiasts, for instance, are often self-proclaimed “car guys,” and they’re more than four times more valuable to auto marketers than the average consumer.

Enthusiasts also have more money to spend, with a net worth that’s 50 percent higher than the national average.

Adventure sports/outdoor enthusiasts and home tech enthusiasts are five and three times more valuable, respectively, to marketers in their respective categories.

Enthusiasts also have more money to spend, with a net worth that’s 50 percent higher than the national average, and are twice as likely to pay more for high-quality items.

“There’s an attitudinal unifier of adventure and risk [among enthusiasts],” said Paul Sammon, vp of media at GfK. “They have a moral compulsion to share information: they consume a lot of expensive equipment, and they love expressing that to others.”

Ninety-six percent of enthusiasts are male, and the majority are college educated. Millennials make up the bulk of enthusiasts, while Gen X and Baby Boomers are the second- and third-largest generational cohorts, respectively.

“Passion levels don’t seem to change as enthusiasts get older—a longtime surfer doesn’t have lower levels of risk and excitement [as they age],” Sammon said.

And, good news for marketers: they’re receptive to advertising, according to Paige.

“When it comes to web ads, their click-through is almost six times the Google average, and, with social video, engagement is 60 percent higher than average,” he said. “The real key is targeting them when they’re consuming content that they’re passionate about. You do better when you talk to an enthusiast when they’re in the middle of enthusiast content rather than in a Google ad in the wild.”

For more data on enthusiasts, check out the graphic below