2018 FIFA World Cup: Americans Visit Russia

Our objective was to identify where Americans who attend 2018 FIFA World Cup games in Russia travel from in order to provide a glimpse into the reach football has across the United States during the international tournament. With only four games left to go in the tournament, we analyzed visitation patterns for every game through the Quarter Finals.

Game attendance was identified by comparing mobile location signals of devices observed within stadiums during game times to the our global supply of mobile location data, and, if from the United States, noting the likely state of origin of those devices.

In order to determine whether or not a device was at a stadium during a game, we first utilized precise retail boundaries to accurately identify if/when a visit occurred in the 12 FIFA World Cup stadiums in Russia. Our system then logged visits observed at the stadiums during game time, compared that to over 4.5 years of historical device data, and compiled an aggregated list of the likely origins of those anonymous devices.  

U.S. States with High Percentages of Hispanics and Latinos Lead American Attendance

The top likely U.S. states of origin for the 2018 FIFA World Cup games

  1. Florida – 23.92%
  2. California – 20.29%
  3. New York – 10.60%
  4. Texas – 10.18%
  5. New Jersey – 3.33%

The majority of American game attendees were likely from Florida, California, New York, Texas, and New Jersey. When compared to the percentage each state makes up of the national population, we found a significant increase visitation from Florida and California, suggesting their ranking is based less on sheer volume of residents and more on overall density of FIFA World Cup fans.   

Source: ubermedia.com

Particularly interesting was the relationship Florida and California attendees had to specific teams. We found that of all the Americans that attended Colombia games, 45.45% of them were from Florida, which has the highest U.S. ranking of residents with Colombian origin(3). Additionally, the majority of American attendees to Mexico games were from California (31.23%), which has the largest Mexican population in the United States(4).

Americans Attend More Games When Colombia or Mexico Plays

The top teams playing in 2018 FIFA World Cup games attended by Americans

  1. Colombia – 8.66%
  2. Mexico – 8.63%
  3. France – 4.85%
  4. Sweden 4.75%
  5. Brazil – 4.69%

Source: ubermedia.com


Source: ubermedia.com

Moscow Attracts More Americans Than Other Host Cities

Americans were more than twice as likely to be observed in stadiums in Moscow than at the other World Cup venues. While Moscow did host more games than the other cities, we found that the proportion of Americans attending games in Moscow vs the total tournament attendance was much larger than the other host cities. The largest city in Russia, Moscow has countless tourism offerings that could be taken into consideration when planning a trip to Russia. Specific to the 2018 FIFA World Cup, Moscow is fairly central to the rest of the host cities (2 hours by air and 3 to 5 hours by train(5)).

Source: ubermedia.com

Making Mobile Data Actionable

UberMedia is the leading provider of high quality mobile location data from anonymous and opted-in devices. Contextualized data and pre-processed insight datasets are available through an easy to use API.

With data from over one billion devices around the globe, UberMedia can provide high quality mobile data and analysis covering any use case while conforming to strict privacy standards.


  1. https://www.statista.com/statistics/872310/world-cup-fans-region/
  2. https://www.fifa.com/worldcup/news/2018-fifa-world-cup-more-than-2-4-million-tickets-allocated-additional-inventory
  3. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hispanics_and_Latinos_in_Florida
  4. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Demographics_of_California
  5. https://www.roadtrips.com/world-cup/2018-world-cup-packages/venues/

All statistics present in this report include all 2018 FIFA World Cup games that occurred on or before July 7, 2018. This report does not include the Semi-Finals or Final game.


Not All Fun and Games: Mobile Data Reveals Further Insight into Who will Take Over the Toy Biz

When Toys R Us announced that it was closing all of its 800 U.S. locations back in March, we conducted an analysis revealing what brands Toys R Us consumers are more or less likely to visit in order to predict where they’d shop once the big box retailer closed for good. We focused on retail giants Target and Walmart, and found that Toys R Us shoppers were 1.7x more likely to visit Target over Walmart.

With the news that Toys R Us is closing at the end of this week, a wild card has emerged: Party City. The party supply retailer has announced that it will open 50 temporary ‘Toy City’ pop-ups across the U.S. in an attempt to capture holiday toy shoppers (cue a collective sigh of relief from shopping centers looking to fill the retail spaces Toys R Us is leaving behind).

Toy City: Will Toys R Us Shoppers Make The Move?

First we looked looked at the demographic profiles of Toys R Us and Party City shoppers by analyzing mobile location data across our platform. Overwhelmingly we found that their demographic profiles are astoundingly similar.

We found that shoppers that visit both retailers have similar ethnicities, ages, incomes and education levels. In an article by RetailDive highlighting our demographic research, this potentially reveals that “Party City might be uniquely positioned to pick up some toy sales as Toys R Us winds down.”

An interesting aspect of our research revolves around the likelihood that Toys R Us and Party City shoppers will visit other retailers when compared to the Average American consumer. Much like the similarities we found in demographic profiles between the two, their consumers share similar shopping patterns. Consistent with our earlier analysis, we found that both groups of consumers are likely to visit big box retailers, and that there is very little difference between those likelihoods.  

  • Toys R Us shoppers are 7% more likely to visit BJ’s Wholesale than Party City shoppers
  • Party City shoppers are 10% more likely to visit Target than Toys R Us shoppers
  • Party City shoppers are 15% more likely to visit Costco than Toys R Us shoppers
  • Toys R Us shoppers are 6% more likely to visit Sam’s Club than Party City shoppers
  • Toys R Us shoppers are 9% more likely to visit WalMart than Party City shoppers

Unsurprisingly, both groups of consumers are more likely to also visit kids retailers like Once Upon A Child, Buy Buy Baby, and the Disney Store. A key difference that surprised us, however, was that Party City shoppers are slightly more likely to visit the majority of kids retailers when compared to Toys R Us shoppers. If Party City shoppers already tend to shop for children’s items, perhaps the party supplier retailer is already primed to take over a major portion of Toys R Us’ market share.

  • Party City shoppers are 23% more likely to also visit Once Upon A Child than Toys R Us shoppers
  • Party City shoppers are 12% more likely to also visit Carters than Toys R Us shoppers
  • Party City shoppers are 16% more likely to also visit Buy Buy Baby than Toys R Us shoppers
  • Toys R Us shoppers are 37% more likely to also visit Build A Bar than Party City shoppers
  • Party City shoppers are 26% more likely to also visit the Disney Store than Toys R Us shoppers

Right Place, Right Time, Right Consumer

Party City, a retailer whose shoppers typically match the demographic and behavioral profiles of Toys R Us shoppers, is in an interesting (and seemingly lucrative) position to be a major player in the 2018 holiday shopping season.

Want to read more about our original analysis? Check out Gladys Kong’s article for CIO: Toys ‘R’ Us shopper data insights can give toy makers and retailers an advantage

More people visit Kohl’s after opening Amazon Return Centers  

In October 2017, select Kohl’s locations across the Chicago and Los Angeles areas designated a portion of their stores as Amazon Return centers, allowing Amazon customers a brick and mortar location to make returns free of shipping costs.

Our primary objective was to measure whether partnering with Amazon and becoming a Return Center affected overall foot traffic to the location. When compared to the previous year, Kohl’s locations that became an Amazon Return Center saw a measurable increase in foot traffic (12%).

Using UberMedia’s proprietary retail boundary technology, we identified Kohl’s locations across the country and recorded when devices visited these locations. By measuring the daily visits of both Amazon Return centers and non-Amazon Return centers over the course of 2016-2017, our team was able to control for the typical increase in foot traffic we see in Q4 due to holiday shopping while observing the significant effect becoming an Amazon Return center has on daily visits.

The presence of Amazon Return centers in Kohl’s led to a significant increase in visits when compared to the year prior (and controlled for holiday foot traffic). Specifically, non-Amazon Return centers had a 36% estimated daily visitors rise by 36% vs. before October 2017; while the Amazon Return centers rose by 48%, indicating an additional average 12% increase in average daily visitors after the launch above the normal holiday increase.

Kohl’s Weekly Visits 2017

Kohl’s Weekly Visits 2016

The Amazon and Kohl’s partnership is another example of innovative retailers offering consumer experiences that differ from typical “off-the-shelf” brands. By combining the convenience of an Amazon Return center with the variety of products offered at Kohl’s, the department store may attract a new consumer base that would have otherwise ordered online.

To learn more about the Kohl’s-Amazon partnership and how mobile location data is changing today’s competitive commerce landscape, read UberMedia CEO Gladys Kong’s thoughts at CIO.com : Using mobile location data to track the Amazon bump, and other retail innovations.

With Toys R Us gone, who will become the main toy retailer?

In response to the news that Toys R Us will be closing it’s 800 U.S. locations, we decided to conduct a location affinity analysis, a report that reveals what brands consumers are more or less likely to visit. This allows us to predict where Toys R Us visitors will shop once the big box retailer has closed its doors.

While there is no denying that Toys R Us was feeling the effects of Amazon, big box retailers are also becoming major players in the toy business. In fact, Hasbro and Mattel, which each report 10% of overall sales from Toys R Us, are also sold in Target and Walmart. According to CNNMoney, Target meets Toys R Us’ share of sales, while Walmart exceeds both retailers, accounting for 20% of overall sales for both toy makers. Will Target or Walmart win Toys R Us shoppers?

Toys R Us shoppers choose Target over Walmart

Our analysis suggests that although Toys R Us shoppers are more likely to visit both Target and Walmart than the average American consumer, they are 1.7x more likely to visit Target (96.22%) over Walmart (56.65%).

Bargain retailers to see a Toys R Us bump

Expanding analysis to include kids’ resale store Once Upon a Child and the official Disney retailer, The Disney Store,  Toys R Us shoppers are almost 2x more likely to visit Once Upon a Child (110.27%) over The Disney Store (56.04%), suggesting that Toys R Us parents appreciate affordable products over the often pricey licensed Disney merchandise.

Analysis in this report was done with UberMedia Vista, an insights-as-a-service platform that provides mobile location data, analytics, and media measurement for businesses of all sizes. Mobile data used in this analysis came from UberMedia’s aggregation of multiple sources and advanced data processing.

Retail Roundup: The State of Brick and Mortar in the United States

There is no denying that the retail industry is changing. But is this change an actual retail apocalypse, leaving thousands of storefronts empty in its wake? Or is this shift in how consumers relate to offline brands ore of a regenesis, making way for a new and improved shopping experience?

Here is our current “Retail Roundup” keeping tabs on the people talking about the state of brick and mortar in the U.S.


What in the World is Causing the Retail Meltdown of 2017?

From rural strip-malls to Manhattan’s avenues, it has been a disastrous two years for retail. There is no question that the most significant trend affecting brick-and-mortar stores is the relentless march of Amazon and other online retail companies. But the recent meltdown for retail brands is equally about the legacy of the Great Recession, which punished logo-driven brands, put a premium on experiences (particularly those that translate into social media moments), and unleashed a surprising Golden Age for restaurants.

To continue reading, please visit Derek Thompson’s article for The Atlantic.


Is Amazon to Blame for Slew of Retail Store Closures?

As digital transformation continues to engulf everything in its path, opportunities and challenges will co-evolve. With this in mind, maybe it is time to adopt a proactive approach rather than the traditional, reactive response?

Let’s not mistake the symptom for the cause.

Rather than pointing the finger at Amazon, diagnose and treat the inability to adapt. Without a mobile-first approach, a seamless user experience across devices, and a digitally literate workforce, every day is a missed opportunity to be the disruptor, and not the disrupted.

To continue reading, please visit Anurag Harsh’s article for The Huffington Post.


Nearly Every Retailer Says This is How They’ll Bring Back Traffic. But Few are Truly Delivering

It’s one of the most common responses when retailers are asked how they plan to bring customers back into their shops: make the in-store experience more exciting.

But few have figured out what, exactly, that buzz phrase really means — and fewer still have made meaningful efforts to roll out an effective solution.

Time is running out. With mall traffic deteriorating in nearly every quarter since 2014, retailers need to hone in on what makes their brand unique and find a way to bring it alive for customers.

To continue reading, please visit Krystina Gustafson’s article for CNBC.


The Death of Retail is Greatly Exaggerated

Retail isn’t dying, it’s changing.

Let the malls implode. Young retailers will remake them in their own image, gutting the old Gap stores and putting in a coffee shop. Large buildings will be repurposed into markets and micro-retail will replace maxi-retail. And the process will repeat – small becomes big which topples and the small rise again. While the seismic effects of retail death are real and dangerous in the short term I’m optimistic enough to bet on the small scale in the long term.

To continue reading, please visit John Biggs’ article for TechCrunch.


Is American Retail at a Historic Tipping Point?

Store closures, meanwhile, are on pace this year to eclipse the number of stores that closed in the depths of the Great Recession of 2008. Back then Americans, mired in foreclosures and investment losses, retrenched away from buying stuff.

The current torrent of closures comes as consumer confidence is strong and unemployment is low, suggesting that a permanent restructuring is underway, rather than a dip in the normal business cycle. In short, traditional retail may never recover.

To continue reading, please visit Michael Corkery’s article for The New York Times.


‘The Dominoes are Starting to Fall’: Retailers are Going Bankrupt at a Staggering Rate

Retailers are filing for bankruptcy at an alarming rate that’s quickly approaching recessionary levels.

It’s only April, and nine retailers have already filed for bankruptcy since the start of the year — as many as all of last year.

“2017 will be the year of retail bankruptcies,” Corali Lopez-Castro, a bankruptcy lawyer, told Business Insider.

To continue reading, please visit Hayley Peterson’s article for Business Insider.


Urban Outfitters CEO Says Retail Carnage Proves ‘Bubble’ Has Burst

Stores, particularly those focused on apparel, are grappling with drops in foot traffic in the order of 6% a year, and an increasingly promotional environment as consumers shift spending away from clothing, the surfeit of which has made it a commodity. That, coupled with years of overbuilding has led to dismal comparable sales results for specialty clothing stores and department stores in particular.

“Our industry, not unlike the housing industry, saw too much square footage capacity added in the ’90s and early 2000s. Thousands of new doors opened and rents soared. This created a bubble. And like housing, that bubble has now burst,” Urban Outfitters CEO Richard Hayne told the Wall Street analysts.

To continue reading, please visit Phil Wahba’s article for Fortune.


Anomalies and False Narratives: Finding Truth in Big Data

By Kerry Pearce, SVP, Product Development, UberMedia

It’s rare for marketers to find clear answers in Big Data. But for inquisitive marketers, Big Data is incredibly helpful for identifying the right questions.

Recently, a fitness apparel brand sought to identify potential customers by analyzing mobile location data. We focused on gyms, public recreation areas, and stand-alone fitness locations like yoga and cycling studios. We found the audience, but we also found something unexpected: a large overlap with audiences that frequent fast food establishments, none of which could be classified as healthy options. To the client, this looked like the kind of previously unseen and counterintuitive insight Big Data is famous for. Yes, the client reasoned, logic dictates that you’re unlikely to find a significant audience of gym rats who also have a serious French Fry habit. But with so much data, how could that conclusion be wrong?

Big data is really about picking the relevant “small” data

For all its emphasis on scale, Big Data is really about analyzing the small fraction of collected data that is relevant to the inquiry. This is because collecting Big Data, by definition, means collecting even more noise. This is why data scientists talk about “cleaning up” the data as a prerequisite to analysis – the idea isn’t to find the needle in the haystack, but rather to locate the relevant haystacks.

So is it possible that people who workout a lot also enjoy eating unhealthy food? Of course it’s possible, and we can even come up with some behavioral theories to explain why. Perhaps, these gym rats workout to offset junk food. Or maybe, the appeal is convenience, because people who workout are pressed for time. Neither of these theories is inherently wrong, but the further down the road we go with this particular data-driven narrative, the more susceptible we become to our own bias. Put simply, we want to believe we’ve discovered a new audience segment, and so we tell ourselves a story where Big Data unearthed a hidden clue. But is it truly a relevant data point; or put another way, is this insight one that will move the needle for a marketer?

When the data adds up, worry

One constant requirement of narrative is that the storyteller ties up loose ends. But that’s not how the real world works because the real world is messy. So if the data adds up to a tidy story – the audience segment for fitness apparel is huge because everyone is passionate about fitness! – it’s time to worry.

Too often, marketers seek out only data that confirms narratives they already believe to be true, or narratives they want to believe to be true. All humans are susceptible to this problem, by the way – it’s why we want to believe news reports about studies that tout the health benefits of drinking alcohol and eating dessert. But marketers can be especially prone to this type of bias because marketers are the guardians of a brand’s intangible qualities and values. They know their brands, which simultaneously makes them experts and the least likely people in the room to see the bias of their own assumptions. They believe everyone cares about fitness – whether they actually demonstrate that care or not – because everyone who works at a fitness brand is demonstrably passionate about working out. The question is not how to get rid of that bias – you can’t – but how can marketers use Big Data to seek out deeper truths that may upend what we think we know for sure?

Embrace the anomalies

The overlap between the fitness and fast food audiences is an anomaly – one we must embrace. If taken at face value, the overlap seems to prove what we want to believe: everyone is passionate about fitness. But the same data can actually be used to tell just the opposite story. People who go to the gym and frequent fast food may not be passionate about fitness at all. True, they do exercise and so may require workout gear, but their level of enthusiasm for exercise might actually be diminished by their interest in fast food. Put another way, the anomaly didn’t enlarge the fitness audience, it actually made it smaller because the deeper we dug into the data, the more nuance we found. And in that nuance we discovered a subset of the fitness segment that doesn’t really share the primary values associated with the overall segment.

Of course, trading a large data set for a smaller, albeit more useful one, feels counterproductive because doing so forces us to abandon the story we told ourselves. In embracing the anomaly, we found hard evidence that the passion for fitness is not universal. But in exchange for letting go of that false narrative, we put ourselves in a better position to locate that passion. It’s not an easy trade, even if it is a good one. In fact, for marketers, letting go of stories that neatly summarize brands and customers is terrifying. But the alternative ought to be even more frightening, because a strategy based on a false narrative is one that is inevitably doomed to fail.

Pumping the Brakes: Is Technology Really Disrupting the Car-Buying Experience?

“Data in the Digital Age” is a monthly blog written by UberMedia CEO, Gladys Kong, sharing her views on the new data landscape. 

April 4, 2017 – CIO.com – It’s often easy to get swept up in the excitement of technological disruptions. Just looking at the news coming out of both the Consumer Electronics Show and Mobile World Congress earlier this year, one would think flying cars are just around the corner. Clearly, technology is quickly driving connected cars and autonomous vehicles forward. In these cases, technology is certainly disrupting the driving experience. However, it’s not disrupting the buying experience as much as one might be led to believe.

Let’s take a look under the hood of the automotive market. Perception assumes few people shop in person anymore, with mobile and digital greatly disrupting the car buying experience. While there is certainly a shift in using mobile for research, data tells us consumers in market for a new or used car are still heading to physical dealerships to augment digital research. In fact, more than 40% of Millennials/Gen Y cite visits to the dealership as an important factor in purchasing a new car, according to Deloitte.  And, Gen Z is no different, with 66% preferring an in-store experience, says a new survey from Euclid Analytics.

To continue reading, please visit CIO.com. 

Mobile Madness: The UberMedia Brand Bracket

We “seeded” top automotive, fast food, home improvement, and sporting retailer brands based on the difference in whether NCAA Men’s Division I basketball tournament game attendees were likely to visit key retailers of interest before and after attending a game.

UberMedia’s team of data scientists analyzed mobile behavioral patterns of NCAA Men’s Division I basketball tournament game attendees to reveal their “location affinity,” the likelihood that game attendees would visit U.S. retail and restaurant chains. Our study included a sampling of brands (not all restaurants for example).

For the championship, we developed four key sectors to seed our brand bracket: automotive, fast food, home improvement, and sporting retailers. We seeded top brands in each sector based on the amount of U.S. locations the retailer has and the likelihood of game attendees to visit retailers of interest before and after attending a game. Each brand’s score was assigned by taking the difference in likelihood to visit retailers of interest before and after attending a game, known as a location affinity score.

The Dream Team: Automotive Sector Sweeps NCAA Fandom

Overall, the automotive sector had a very high average location affinity. Buick and Infiniti, both official NCAA corporate partners, saw more game attendees after the tournament than before. Automotive manufacturers are the top television advertising category for the championship games, with 11 different advertisers spending over $266 million (18% of the total ad revenue) on pre-game, game, and post-game programming. Buick and Infiniti are among the top advertisers.

The Underdogs: Wendy’s New Sponsorship Ripe for Fast Food Takeover

The fast food category overall had fairly low location affinity, meaning that game attendees were not as likely or in some cases even less likely to visit restaurant chains after attending a championship game.

While Wendy’s location affinity score was low (-0.70%), the restaurant chain actually had the highest pre-game/post-game location affinities out of its competitors, meaning that the chain saw less than a 1% difference in the likelihood that game attendees would visit a Wendy’s location before a game vs. after. Considering that this is their first year as the NCAA’s “Official Hamburger,” this could be promising for the quick service restaurant chain.

Tournament Attendees Shoot Hoops After Games

Sporting retailers overall have fairly high location affinity, meaning that fans are likely to later be seen at retailers typically associated with selling gear to people actually playing the game. The clear winner in this category is Play It Again Sports, a retailer that sells new and used sports and fitness equipment. While game attendees were not likely to visit Play It Again Sports prior to attending a tournament (-8.28%), their post-game likelihood jumps to 25.13%. This impressive change in consumer behavior scores Play It Again Sports the second place spot in our bracket and proves that attending a championship game inspires fans to get out and play sports.


Win on Sunday, Sell on Monday: Nascar’s Effect on the U.S. Auto Industry

On Toyota’s 10-year anniversary, an UberMedia Business Intelligence Study quantified the Japanese manufacturer’s success of becoming integral to American racing culture.

The 2017 Daytona 500 marks Toyota’s 10th year in the Nascar Cup Series and a decade of integrating its sedan, the Toyota Camry, into American automotive culture.

In order to quantify Toyota’s success in getting the attention of Nascar fans, we used our proprietary mobile location data analysis to look into the effect that Toyota’s Nascar participation has had on influencing people to visit actual dealerships. Additionally, we looked into how winning a Nascar race could be related to dealership visits of the participating brands (Chevrolet, Ford, and Toyota).

The Great American Race

The Daytona 500 is a Monster Energy Nascar Cup Series race held annually at the Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, Florida. The Speedway holds 100,000 seated spectators. With general admission it is estimated that there are 250,000 fans that attend, making the Daytona 500 the third most-attended sporting event in the country.   

Currently, Ford, Chevrolet, and Toyota all participate as manufacturers in the Cup Series, producing stock cars that are meant to resemble production-based American family sedans.

Toyota Joins Nascar

When Toyota announced it was joining Nascar in 2006, the manufacturer was met with some opposition. According to one critic, “Not everyone [was] pleased that Japanese automaker Toyota [was prepared] to join the ranks of America’s most celebrated good ol’ boys.” However, The New York Times noted that Toyota was committed “to [getting] many of the estimated 75 million Nascar fans in the United States to notice Toyota and, of course, buy one.”

The Toyota Camry was introduced into the Nascar Cup Series in 2007 and won the Daytona 500 in 2016, marking the first time an import manufacturer won the series since the first Daytona 500 race in 1959. It is currently the only import manufacturer to participate. Additionally, Toyota is an official sponsor of the series.

In January, Toyota released the 2018 Toyota Camry TRD. In an interview with Autoweek, Toyota’s VP of Integrated Marketing said that now “fans can enjoy driving a Camry that closely resembles the one their favorite Nascar driver races each weekend.”

Spectators Visit Toyota Dealerships

As it turns out, Toyota has found its place in Nascar. UberMedia’s Business Intelligence Study revealed that mobile device owners in attendance at a race where a Toyota Camry won were also more likely to be observed at a Toyota dealership in the 30 days after the race. We saw a 25.2% change when we compared that to the race attendees who visited a Toyota dealership in the 30 days before a race. When compared to the percent change Ford (3.6%) and Chevrolet (2.5%) saw, it looks like they are winning more than just races.

Spectators Visit Toyota Dealerships After a Win

Nascar Fans are Car Fans

Additionally, we found that the Daytona 500 and the start of the Nascar season provides huge exposure for the auto industry in general, driving notable increases in dealership visits from fans.

Nascar Fans are Car Fans

Key Takeaways

  • People who saw a given manufacturer win were more likely to visit that manufacturer after the race
  • Toyota dealerships saw the strongest positive correlation between a win and an increase in visits from race attendees
  • Regardless of who won, Nascar race attendees were more likely to visit any auto dealership after attending a race


We identified Nascar fans by observing devices seen at Nascar Sprint Cup Series (now known as the Monster Energy Nascar Cup Series) races in 2015 and 2016. Additionally, our team of data scientists identified which of those devices were also seen at Ford, Chevrolet, and Toyota dealerships. Our team then analyzed the location data from those devices to provide a detailed view of Nascar fans and their visitation patterns to automotive dealers. Analysis included identifying the likelihood of race attendees to visit a dealership lot before or after a race, and whether seeing a certain manufacturer win a race was related to that likelihood.


  1. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Daytona_International_Speedway
  2. https://www.reference.com/sports-active-lifestyle/many-people-attend-daytona-500-637bf2fe7f2a0e36
  3. http://sports.yahoo.com/nascar/blog/from_the_marbles/post/The-most-attended-sporting-events-in-the-country?urn=nascar,243650
  4. https://archive.boston.com/cars/news/articles/2006/01/29/toyota_joins_nascars_good_ol_boys/?camp=pm
  5. http://www.nytimes.com/2006/10/25/automobiles/autospecial/25toyota.html
  6. http://autoweek.com/article/nascar/toyota-racing-development-unveils-new-camry-nascar-cup-series

What Mobile Location Data Can Tell the U.S. Auto Industry About Car Buyers

Our new report analyzes two years’ worth of proprietary dealership visitation data to better understand what mobile location data can tell us about how people shop for cars, and which brands attract the most foot traffic and consumer interest.

The rise of mobile technology, social media, and omni-channel shopping behavior has radically changed the way we buy cars, but that’s not the whole story.

We leveraged mobile location foot traffic data from more than 18,000 dealerships across the U.S. to better understand the impact of real-world cross-shopping behavior and the value that multiple dealership visits still have on the auto purchasing journey.

“The data findings in our automotive report are intended to help guide auto manufacturers, car dealerships, and marketers through the complicated landscape of how today’s consumers make their auto purchase decisions,” said Gladys Kong, CEO, UberMedia.

Utilizing our vast amounts of high-quality location data, demographic data, and interest cues, “UberMedia Data Insights on the Auto Purchasing Journey” provides in-depth analysis of cross-shopping foot traffic data from every major automotive manufacturer and the proportion of car brands that are more frequently cross-shopped, the cities with the most prevalent cross-shopping behavior, and the most competitive brand combinations that consumers cross-shop when on the verge of an auto-buying decision.

Car shoppers visit multiple dealerships before making a decision

There are a lot of industries that have been disrupted due to the dramatic shift we have seen toward online shopping. But rest assured, the auto industry is not one of them. According to  research, 59% of car buyers still visit up to 5 dealerships before buying a car. The typical person considers 2.4 vehicles on average.

“There is so much conflicting information in the marketplace, and our empirical UberMedia mobile location data, spanning across 18,000 U.S. car dealerships, highlights the fact that consumers still actively cross-shop car brands and still engage in-person with the showroom experience. This is great news for anyone in the auto industry,” said Kong.

The car shopping journey varies by city

Cross-shopping is more common in urban areas where there are more brands and dealerships to choose from, and less common in rural areas. Angelenos visit multiple auto dealerships more than any other city.

Ford, Mercedes, and Toyota, which rank high in customer loyalty, are the some of the least cross-shopped brands by proportion of those shoppers seen in other dealer showrooms. Chrysler shoppers are more likely to be seen at other auto dealer showrooms than any other brand.

People shopping for a luxury car tend to visit fewer dealerships, suggesting that affluent shoppers tend to go to only one dealership before making a purchase. People shopping for a car from a mass-market auto manufacturer tend to visit more dealerships. We observed that Dodge and Jeep are the most cross-shopped auto brands by sheer volume across the U.S.

Bottom line: We Google it. But we also show up for a test drive.

Just because shoppers still show up to dealerships doesn’t mean they aren’t doing their research. It turns out that well-informed researchers actually visit more dealerships before buying a car. Despite the wealth of information at consumers’ fingertips, they still want personal interaction with a car brand before making a decision.

Key Takeaways

  • More than half of auto shoppers visit multiple dealerships before making a purchase. Some research sources claim that 41% of new car buyers visit one dealership, but 59% visit an average of up to 5 dealers. The typical person considers 2.4 vehicles on average.
  • Ford, Mercedes, and Toyota, which rank high in customer loyalty, are the some of the least cross-shopped brands by proportion of those shoppers seen in other dealer showrooms.
  • Luxury brands experience less cross-shopping than mass market brands, indicating that the super affluent tend to go to only one dealership before making a purchase.
  • Manufacturers that are visited by the most shoppers (who were also seen at other brand dealerships) tend to be mass market brands that in many cases ladder up to the top-ranked manufacturers.
  • Cross-shopping is more common in urban areas where there are more brands and dealerships to choose from.

To download the report, please click here.

To uncover real-world auto shopping patterns for this report, UberMedia, a trusted mobile authority that transforms mobile behavioral data into actionable consumer insights, distilled two years’ worth of proprietary dealership visitation data combined with existing research to better understand what mobile location data can tell us about how people shop for cars, and which brands attract the most foot traffic and consumer interest.