Press release

37% of car buying decisions are influenced by kids

Children have the most say about colour when parents buy a new car.

  • Safety, size & space and comfort rated top considerations for parents when looking for the ultimate family car
  • Dads are voted the better drivers
  • Batmobile tops children’s favourite superhero car

More than three quarters of parents (78%) claim that having kids forced them to buy a new car. And nearly four in ten (37%) say that children go on to influence decisions to buy their next car.

These were the key finding of research carried out for Auto Trader, the UK’s largest digital automotive marketplace, in August, pooling the views of 1,000 parents and children aged between 5 and 11. The aims were to look at what parents and children looked for in their perfect family car – and to what extent children influenced their parents’ buying decision.

Findings pointed to a number of differences in the success of pester power. More than half of Londoners, for example (55%), said they were likely to be influenced by their children, compared with just 24% in the North East. When it comes to the sexes, the research suggests Dads should probably be the target of lobbying. 39% of Dads said they were open to influence compared with 33% of Mums.

“A substantial amount of research has been done looking at how the decision of the car buyer can be influenced and at what stage in the buying journey,” commented Nathan Coe of Auto Trader, “but few have really considered the role that children play, or the influence of pester power. If one of the kids doesn’t like the shape or colour of your next car, or it doesn’t come with plug-in for an i-Pad, then you’d better be prepared for some serious pestering!”

Overall, colour is the most common feature for successful persuasion by children (26% influenced their parents’ choice of colour). Children are most likely to push for red (28%), followed by blue (21%), black (14%) and pink (13%). Perhaps unsurprisingly boys tend to favour red cars (28% v 23%) and girls preferred pink (26% v 1%). However, only 2% said they’d prefer a white car, despite white being the most popular new car colour, according to SMMT new car sales data.

Children also influenced their parents in terms of the comfort (13%), size (12%), design (12%) and entertainment (9%) of their new car. Safety however – top of the list of priorities for parents (27%) – was one area where parents tend to go it alone. After safety, parents were most concerned with the size and space of the new car they were buying so they could get extra boot space or more seats (25%), how comfortable it would be (23%) and how reliable (19%) – entertainment systems were only considered important by 2% of parents.

For children however, their top ten wish list in a family car included glamour features like turbo buttons, ejector seats and flame filled exhausts, perhaps unsurprisingly alongside entertainment systems.

Coe continues: “Car retailers are becoming more aware of the need to cater for children on the forecourt, both in terms of providing entertainment for them whilst their parents are looking at cars, and actively pointing out features that they would be interested in, like in-car entertainment systems. As the technical specifications on new cars continues to advance, kids will only become more interested in the car they are transported about in.”

Are Mums or Dads a better driver? Overall, more children in the survey pointed to their Dads (54%). However when it comes to dropping off at the school gates, Mums rule the playground, as 55% voted for them compared to 42% who said they’d prefer their Dad to drop them off. More than two thirds (79%) of parents would claim they are better drivers compared to their partner.

When asked to consider their favourite superhero car, children went mad for the Batmobile. It topped the chart for all ages from 5 through to 11, other than for kids aged six year – they chose Lightning McQueen from the Cars’ films.

Notes to Editors:


When buying a car, which of these factors might your children influence?

  Overall Dads’ response Mums’ response
Colour 26% 21% 29%
Comfort 13% 13% 13%
Size 12% 12% 13%
Style and design 12% 14% 11%
Entertainment system 9% 13% 6%
Safety 9% 7% 10%
‘cool’ factor 6% 8% 4%


Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT): new car registrations by colour 2014

What is the most important feature in a family car?

  Overall Dad’s response Mum’s response
Safety 27% 23% 30%
Size and space 25% 25% 25%
Comfort 23% 27% 19%
Reliability 19% 15% 21%
Entertainment system 2% 3% 1%
Other 4% 7% 4%

The top ten features for your dream car (children aged 5-11):

  1. TV Screens
  2. DVD Players
  3. Internet connection
  4. Video games
  5. Snack dispenser
  6. Toy storage cupboard
  7. Turbo button
  8. Steering wheel in back seat
  9. Ejector seat
  10. Flame emitting exhausts
Who do you think is a better driver? Who would you prefer to drop you at school?
  My Dad My Mum   My Dad My Mum Another family member
Overall response 54% 42% 42% 55% 2%
Boys response 60% 37% 50% 46% 2%
Girls response 36% 48% 33% 64% 2%


For media enquiries, please contact:

Auto Trader PR Team on or call 07990 828856


About Auto Trader:

Auto Trader Group plc is a 100% digital business having successfully completed the transition from a print title in 2013. Auto Trader sits at the heart of the UK’s vehicle buying process and operates the UK’s largest digital automotive marketplace.

Auto Trader’s primary activity is to help vehicle retailers compete effectively on the Marketplace in order to sell more vehicles, faster. The Marketplace brings together the largest and most engaged consumer audience. attracts around 44.5 million monthly cross-platform visits on its sites, with around 68% of visits coming through mobile devices, with the largest pool of vehicle sellers (listing more than 400,000 cars each day). In fact over 80% of all time spent on classified sites is spent on Auto Trader. The Group does not buy or sell any vehicles itself.

Auto Trader has around 92% prompted brand awareness in the UK, with 80% of UK retailer forecourts advertising via the website and around 65% of UK used car transactions involving cars listed on

Auto Trader’s market-leading position enables it to generate and collect large amounts of data on the UK’s automotive marketplace and leverage it to create a suite of services that allow retailers to:

  • BUY – buy the right vehicles, at the right price
  • MARKET – market their brands and businesses effectively in the digital world
  • SELL- sell more vehicles through advertising on the UK’s largest digital automotive marketplace
  • MANAGE – optimise their stock turn and vehicle margin.

Auto Trader Group plc
Registered in England (Company number: 09439967)

Auto Trader Limited
Registered in England and Wales (Company number: 03909628)

Registered address:

1 Tony Wilson Place
M15 4FN
VAT number: GB 614 8918 20

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