Survey: Extended warranty offerings can affect powersports purchases

Publish Date: 
Mar 13, 2012

Powersports buyers aren’t exactly clamoring for extended service contracts, but offering them can be a deciding factor in a powersports vehicle purchase, new research shows.

Research firm Fulcrum Analytics last month conducted an email survey of 846 consumers who recently had purchased a new printer, copier, digital camera, passenger car, motorcycle, ATV, watercraft, snowmobile, chain saw, snow blower/thrower, lawn mower or leaf blower. The survey was to determine how important the availability and the structure of an ESC program was to the underlying product purchasing decision.

The survey asked consumers how important it was to them to know they could buy an extended service contract; powersports equipment scored the highest at 70 percent (compared to digital cameras, the lowest at 39 percent). In addition, the percentage ranking the availability of ESCs highly has increased in the past year for all products.

"It's potentially a deciding factor," Tara Piazza, Fulcrum Analytics’ SVP of customer research, told Warranty Week. While an ESC program is often a secondary factor that only comes into play after price, features, perceived quality, style and appearance have been evaluated, it's a concern for many consumers.

Some of the other items that were on the list of secondary factors included online reviews, resale value, the availability of financing, the financial stability of the brand, and the retailer's reputation in terms of customer service level.

"So it's definitely not a main decision criteria," she said. "But to the extent that there isn't a strong winner in the top decision criteria, they'll fall back into this secondary set of criteria. And the availability of the extended service contract is one of them."

Among other significant findings:

  • Powersports buyers, at nearly 50 percent, expressed the greatest interest in an ESC offered by the manufacturer (and using OEM parts for repairs) versus an ESC offered by a third party (and possibly using aftermarket parts).

  • Piazza used the data to derive a mean percentage of the underlying product's price that consumers said they were willing to pay. For powersports vehicles, the figure was 5 percent for major repairs only and 11 percent for all repairs.

  • Just 2 percent to 4 percent of respondents said offering and ESC would have a major negative impact on perception of product quality;

  • Among those who said they were interested in purchasing an ESC, the majority said they would like to do so at the time and place of the product purchase. More than 50 percent gave this answer in each of the four product categories.

  • Fewer than 30 percent of consumers said they wanted to get an offer via direct mail or phone. Fewer than 40 percent of the car buyers wanted email, though this channel was preferred by about half of the other types of shoppers. Most said they wanted to be offered the ESC in-store.

Posted by Holly Wagner

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