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Australian families drive increased engagement with digital automotive content

4 minute read | Natalie Stanbury, IAB Australia Research Director & Lyndal Cowling, Industry Lead, Nielsen Media | July 2020

Engagement with digital automotive content has increased over the months of May and June as COVID-19 lockdowns and restrictions across Australia have eased, indicating that Australians’ interest and consideration of vehicle purchasing has returned. 

Turning to websites and apps to read up about the next model, reading reviews, seeking advice or looking for a bargain, Nielsen Digital Content Ratings data shows that Australians spent 29%1 more time engaging with automotive content for the month of June 2020 when compared to the same month last year. While the uptick would be noteworthy under normal living circumstances, it’s particularly telling given the global health crisis brought on by the novel coronavirus (COVID-19), which has altered every aspect of normal life.

Year-on-year increases in time spent across all devices were up across the board, with total time spent increasing by 31% via mobile and 26%2 via computer. 

According to Nielsen, 8.33 million Australians consumed automotive content online in May 2020, with audiences returning to automotive information and manufacturer sites at levels recorded pre-COVID-19.

Along with this increase in content consumption activity, there are signs of recovery in new car sales data with, The Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries (FCAI) announcing an uptick in new vehicle sales during June 2020. The monthly sales were the strongest since the beginning of the COVID-19 crisis. THE FCAI attributed the sales result to the easing of COVID-19 restrictions, seasonality, the extension of the Federal Government’s instant asset write-off scheme and marketing activity from brands and dealers.

Demographic data suggests that families are driving much of the rise in engagement. Historically, we’ve seen similar levels of total time spent across the 25-34, 35-44 and 45-54 age groups; however, June 2020 data shows the most substantial increase in engagement is across 35-54 year olds, up 46%4 year-on-year while engagement among Australians aged 25-34 only increased 2% during the same period. 

As always, online automotive content is playing an important role in inspiring and driving consideration of car purchase. According to Nielsen Consumer & Media View data, 66%5 of Australians who intend on purchasing a car (new or used) within the next year engage with online automotive content each month. Data reveals that car intenders who consume online automotive content  are not only a lucrative audience with a high household income, but are also especially passionate about cars when compared to other intenders.  

Australians continue their love of cars. After lower activity during the COVID-19 lockdown period, interest and engagement with digital automotive content has returned strongly to unprecedented levels over the months of May and June. 

The FCAI’ VFACTS report has also revealed that after lower new car sales throughout April and May, there was a slight uplift for the month of June. 

For many Australians, their auto is the second biggest financial purchase behind their own home, and as a result they are not likely to make such a decision lightly, particularly in these uncertain times. They will spend a great deal of time researching what model suits their needs and budget, and now is a more important time than ever, for brands to keep in step with consumers and continue communicating with audiences in automotive content environments.  


  1. Nielsen Digital Content Ratings, Monthly Tagged, June 2020 vs. Same Entities in June 2019, P2+, Digital C/M, Text, Automotive Category, Total Time Spent.
  2. Nielsen Digital Content Ratings, Monthly Tagged, June 2020 vs. Same Entities in June 2019, P2+, Digital C/M, Computer, Mobile, Text, Automotive Category, Total Time Spent.
  3. Nielsen Digital Panel, May 2020, P2+, Total, Automotive Category, Unique Audience
  4. Nielsen Digital Content Ratings, Monthly Tagged, June 2020 vs. Same Entities in June 2019, P35-54 and P25-34+, Digital C/M, Text, Automotive Category, Total Time Spent.
  5. Nielsen Consumer and Media View, National Online Database, S04 2020, Automotive Category – Brands and Channels, Intend on Buying a car in next 12 months. 

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