US-based automotive media company Cox Automotive has revealed the results of her 2017 Car Buyer Journey Study. The survey of 2,000 recent car buyers indicated a continuing upward trend in the time spent researching vehicle purchases online, highlighting a major opportunity for dealers to engage consumers by leveraging digital channels.
The study, conducted in coordination with IHS Automotive, indicates that the average car buyer spends 60 percent of their total purchase process online, 62 percent of which takes place on third-party sites.
Further, only 32 percent of consumers know the exact vehicle they want when starting to shop online — but 55 percent test-drive only the vehicle they purchase, indicating that the decision was made online. This data presents an opportunity for dealers to increase their traffic, engagement and sales by influencing consumers' purchase decisions during the online research phase.
The study also highlights the growing importance of mobile in the car-buying process. 53 percent of consumers now use a mobile device to shop for a vehicle, compared to just 46 percent in 2016. In addition, 18 percent of consumer’s research vehicles exclusively on mobile, up from 14 percent last year.
This continuing rise of mobile creates a chance for dealers to target and effectively influence shoppers at any time and from anywhere, through mobile-specific content.