New GE Capital Retail Finance study unveils consumer trends
Despite the short selling season, consumers showed greater interest in buying new bikes this year, GE Capital found.
“During the first half of 2013, we have seen more powersport customers applying for credit, which we believe to be an indication of growing consumer confidence,” said Amy Kneeland, strategic accounts manager for GE Capital Retail Finance. “This also supports the finding that consumers are more open to making a large purchase than a year ago.”
GE Capital Retail Finance has provided its base of dealership clients with results of its second annual Major Purchase Shopper Study. The 2013 study gauges consumer trends and path to purchase related to making major purchases across 12 segments, including powersports. The findings — some of which are shared here with Powersports Business readers — underscored the increased role technology plays in the major purchase process.
More than 80 percent of consumers start their search online from home — up 20 percent from 2012 — and spend an average of 65 days researching their powersports purchase (up 14 days from the 2012 GE Capital Retail Finance study).
“While consumers carefully consider any major purchase, more than 40 percent of random shoppers surveyed say they are more open to making a large purchase than they were a year ago,” Kneeland said.
The study found that more than half (53 percent) of powersports shoppers define their purchase as a “need,” and top purchase triggers for powersports include: “old model broke” (35 percent) and “wanted a new/upgraded model” (34 percent).
“Financing continues to play an important role in the powersports purchase process,” Kneeland said. “Our research also shows that 90 percent of power product shoppers who did not use financing spent an average of 6.8 months saving for their purchase. GE Capital works with dealers to help them better understand consumer purchase considerations and needs, offer flexible financing options that their customers prefer and integrate information into their marketing strategies.”
With the weather-beriddled shorter selling season for many dealers in 2013, Kneeland finds dealers seeking an efficient retail financing solution for their customers in order to get them riding immediately.
“GE Capital’s online application and contract system is available to the dealers 24/7, giving them the tools needed to close the sale at their fingertips,” she said. “And if the dealers need additional support, our powersport underwriters are just a phone call away.
In addition to its role of being “more than a bank,” GE Capital partners with powersports manufacturers to develop promotional offers and sales tools that help authorized dealers sell more products and meet the needs of individual riders.
“As a result of the weather’s impact on the selling season for many dealers, many manufacturers ran aggressive financing promotions and cash rebate offers,” Kneeland said. “Consumers are responding to these promotional offers, as demonstrated by our strong financed volume throughout the summer months.”
GE Capital also offers pre-owned financing for all major powersports brands as dealers seek to build used inventory.
“Providing dealers with pre-owned financing enables them to accept more trade-in units, resulting in more new product sales. The dealers also benefit by keeping the customer in the store to complete the sale,” Kneeland said.
GE Capital’s ability to provide special financing options, as well as training, information, analytics and easy-to-manage program resources have made it an industry staple for more than 30 years.
“Dealers tell us they value the promotional options we provide that help them close sales and maximize their bottom-line,” Kneeland said. “For example, GE Capital provides extended term options that enables a dealer to give their customers the purchasing power they need while maintaining an affordable monthly payment.”