South Africa commemorates Women’s Month in August as a tribute to the thousands of women who marched to the Union Buildings on 9 August 1956 in protest the extension of Pass Laws to women. On 9 August 1956, more than 20 000 women from all walks of life united in a mass demonstration to the Union Buildings in Pretoria. They protested the unjust pass laws enforced on women in South Africa. This is an opportunity to celebrate women’s achievements and the important role that women of all races and religions have played and continue to play in South African society.

Over the years, women have become a more powerful and influential segment of the car buying community. Research shows that women influence 70 to 80 percent of all consumer purchasing. Specifically, regarding car ownership, women were responsible for 45 percent of new car purchases in 2018. As a growing number of women are walking into dealerships by themselves, and buying cars, it is now crucial for dealers to create messaging and a customer experience that appeals to this rising group of buyers.

While a growing number of women are attending dealerships by themselves, more than half are still going to dealerships accompanied by another person. For Chevrolet, Ford, Jeep, Honda, Nissan, Subaru, and Toyota, between approximately 42 percent and 47 percent of women who attended dealerships associated with these brands purchased vehicles while alone.

So, many women are choosing to bring someone along with them, and in most cases, they are men. While this was the case in most dealerships, Toyota and Chevrolet had the highest rates of women accompanied by men (85.3 percent and 81.2 percent respectively).

The 2019 Festival of Motoring will celebrate women in the local automotive industry with its ‘Women in Autos’ conference. The Festival of Motoring is thrilled to be partnering with Gumtree in this important conference, aligning perfectly with their strategy of shining the light and celebrating women in the automotive world.

The event is free for women working in the automotive space and last year featured speakers including Nissan Africa GM of Sales Liz Segal, journalist Juliet McGuire, Ford CEM Maja Smith, safety advocate Mandy Miller and communications expert Janine Lazarus, as well as a lively panel.

Again, women are a growing audience for dealerships. More of them are purchasing cars on their own and visiting dealerships by themselves. As a result, dealers need to ensure they are crafting messaging and customer experience elements that are directly related to this group. From online ads to social media messaging, the marketing approach should target this group in some way. The 2019 Women’s Car Buyer report had a wide range of helpful insights that can help you do this, so be sure to read it for additional information regarding the growing female consumer base.

By Noni Nchwe