hallie kintner: research scientist general motors

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"Why should marketers and advertisers be interested in the CEX? After all, this government survey largely ignores brands and purchasing source, doesn't provide local data, and borders on being out of date. Also, its sophisticated sampling scheme poses challenges to statistical analysis and to links with proprietary databases. So the CEX won't assist in operational or tactical decisions.

"If you think of customers purely in terms of age, then prepare for the shift in household mix. This forecast predicts that the age mix for new-vehicle purchases will shift from 25-to-34 to older ages. Manufacturers would want to plan to reduce product offerings appealing to ages 25-to-34, like small sedans, and increase offerings appealing to ages 45-to-54, like mid-size sedans.

"Of course, age is only one demographic factor to consider in making predictions about future buying patterns. Many forecasts about future sales are based on a variety of factors, including income and racial/ethnic distributions. If age alone is examined and no other factors are considered, then predictions only hold true if spending patterns by age don't change over time. We know that this assumption is questionable, given that purchasing behavior early in life affects purchasing behavior throughout the life.

"On the other hand, the CEX is based on a nationally representative sample and has an unmatched historical time series. It may become more popular in the future as businesses attempt to make and sell products that cut across different product lines. Here is a database to use for examining what products are purchased together."

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