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COVID-19 Limits Auto Show Attendance, Drives Innovative New Opportunities

ROCHESTER, Mich., Sept.

ROCHESTER, Mich., Sept. 23, 2021 /PRNewswire/ -- Foresight Research's recently released report on the 2020-21 US Auto Show Season reveals that COVID-19 forced a series of dramatic changes to the show circuit this past year, yet also brought many necessity-driven opportunities. This report covers 10 auto shows held between December 2020 and July 2021 (versus 55-60 shows measured during a typical season).

These shows' public day runs were often shorter, their footprints smaller, and some had imposed visitor limits. Several moved all or part of their shows outdoors to accommodate local regulations and allay public health concerns. In the face of such conditions, it is no surprise that this season's attendance numbers represent only a fraction of a typical pre-pandemic season. 

Yet with these challenges came unique opportunities. Summer weather dates permitted a significant increase in test drive options and engaging outdoor displays. Chicago added a street festival to their docket, drawing crowds who may not have attended otherwise. And for consumers who did come, a return to their local auto show was an eagerly anticipated milestone event - the opportunity to resume a semblance of normality. Countless visitors actually thanked participating automakers for being there.

As in past years, show visitors continued to be younger, more often automotive influencers, and more ethnically diverse than the shows' local market area populations. Importantly, the mix of visitors who were in-market to buy a new car or truck in the next year was stable (74% reported being 12-month intenders, identical to last season). Show visitors were also far more hybrid and battery-electric vehicle savvy, and significantly more likely than the general population to be considering a hybrid / BEV for their next new vehicle purchase.

Most visitors attended the shows to see new products and offerings (61%) or to be educated about new technologies (50%). One surprising finding was the average show visit was roughly 45 minutes longer than the prior season, and in fact was one of the longest US auto show season dwell times Foresight has recorded.

About Foresight Research - www.foresightresearch.com Since 1998, Foresight Research has been providing consumer insights and data to support strategies and best practices for the automotive industry. Foresight Research is a recognized leader in measuring auto shows, experiential marketing and sponsored events, as well as vehicle accessories and motorsports.

Contact Christopher Stommel Foresight Research 248.608.1870 x 16 cstommel@foresightresearch.com

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SOURCE Foresight Research