Recession Readiness Insights

How to Succeed During the Affordability Crisis

How to Succeed During the Affordability Crisis

March 30, 2023 | Brian Epro

Do you know your customers?

Current economic environment impacting affordability: continuing supply chain roadblocks, inflation, layoffs and a possible recession. Consumers are watching their spending. As you seek to provide the best automotive options for your customers, it is imperative you do not waste time on clients who eventually won’t — or cannot — close the deal.

Maybe you have already completed preliminary research on your ideal client. While you can rely on generalized income data to point you in the right direction, the traditional income surveys used depend solely on human recollection and honesty — meaning there is no hard data. 

The truth is: the entire customer journey hinges on affordability, and affordability hinges on income.

The problem with income data

Income data is complicated and frequently wrong. This reality has forced marketers into accepting “directionally accurate” income data. Most income data comes from surveying just 1-2% of the U.S. population. Additionally, income surveys are only updated every two to three years. 

Income vs. affordability 

Generalized data measure what occurs most often. Unfortunately, you cannot afford to waste time on anything but pinpoint-accurate data. 

Here are five problems with generalized data that don't provide a complete affordability picture:

  • Most data sets only measure income up to $250, but only 7.5% of U.S. households earn over $250k.

  • Most data sets provide an estimated income without considering fixed costs such as shelter, utilities, and healthcare.

  • Most data sets don’t include additional sources of income such as investments, businesses, and retirement.

  • Most data sets assume identical financial situations for “look-alikes” and assign the same values to all the households located in a neighborhood.

  • Most don’t consider the ability to pay by incorporating spending and available credit.

It is invaluable to spend your time and resources on affordability data that gives you what you need: customers who not only want to buy a vehicle, but also can also afford it.   

How to leverage affordability data

As we have seen, not having insight into your potential customers’ ability to pay can cost you dearly. Spending resources in conducting research and building a relationship with a potential client only to find out they can’t afford your product is a waste of time and money. And you want to avoid doing both.  According to the 2019 Nielsen Annual Auto Marketing Report, 40% of marketing spend in Auto is wasted. 

So how do you ensure you’re targeting the right customers with the right offer? 

  • Build audiences based on affordability. Fine-tune audiences based on affordability instead of depending on look-alikes. 

  • Use real-time personalization. 

  • A frictionless customer experience is a must. 

  • Mine your existing data. 

  • Make relevant offers and offer smart alternatives. Put the customer in the right vehicle. 

Let the data work for you

With Equifax you can get data you need to find the right customers, build relationships with them, and to help you move your business forward. Learn more about how to partner with Equifax today. 

Brian Epro is a 25-year Auto industry veteran and the Alliance Manager, Automotive at Equifax. Contact Brian at

*All statistics cited in this blog are derived from Equifax data and internal market analyses.


Brian Epro

Brian Epro

Alliance Manager

Brian Epro is an Alliance Manager for Equifax and has over 25 years of experience in data and digital marketing in the auto industry.