Shoppers today looking for vehicles have more information at their fingertips than ever before. By now, it is standard practice to start the purchase journey online and most dealerships and manufacturers have made the necessary changes to their marketing plans to capture the attention of online shoppers. With channels like social media, digital display, email marketing and direct mail constantly evolving, automotive marketers must continuously stay ahead of the game to stay relevant along the car buying journey.
So, what does the purchase journey look like today and what tools are available to help dealerships and auto brands capture market share? Cox Automotive recently put together research looking at some of today’s most relevant trends.
For car buyers, payment pressure is a very real concern. In a climate of fluctuating and higher interest rates, many consumers are unaware of the factors that can contribute to rising vehicle payments. New vehicle payments have increased to twice that of used-vehicle payments and buyers are taking note. Many consumers are now leaning towards purchasing a used vehicle – a number that has grown to nearly two in three shoppers.
Heading to the internet for vehicle research continues to remain the top resource for consumers.
Third-party sites are used most frequently by car shoppers. In the research by Cox Automotive, 80% of vehicle buyers stated they visited third-party sites.
Consumers are doing so much research online that they are also visiting fewer dealerships. In 2017, the average number visited was 2.7 and in 2019, the average number of dealerships visited was 2.3.
Among new vehicle buyers, third-party sites were trusted the most to help select the right brand.
Visiting a dealership has never ranked very highly for consumers. In fact, past research studies have indicated that consumers would rather visit the dentist than go to the dealership. Unfortunately, buyers do not feel the shopping experience is improving. Among those who have recently purchased or leased a vehicle, 61% stated that their current experience when compared to their previous experience was the same or worse.
Paperwork and the negotiation process remain one of the most frustrating aspects of the experience.
While consumers do the vast majority of their research online, completing the entire process is still fairly limited. Only 9% stated they were able to negotiate the purchase/lease price online and 5% stated they were able to review and sign the final contracts online.
For those who negotiated or completed heir paperwork online, they were most satisfied with their dealership experience.
The way consumers research and purchase cars is constantly evolving. Staying ahead of the curve and adapting with these changes will be crucial to stay competitive. Learn how Porch Group Media can help by identifying and targeting vehicle shoppers when they are most likely to purchase. We offer in-market data to target and convert active automobile shoppers, robust demand-driving marketing programs, and marketing dashboards to measure your results.