Study: Web shopping cuts dealership visits
Car shoppers are doing so much research online these days that 58 percent of car buyers visit just one or two dealerships before purchasing their vehicles, a study commissioned by online shopping site AutoTrader.com has found.
By the time online vehicle shoppers arrive at a dealership they generally have decided to look at a specific vehicle, said Kevin Filan, AutoTrader.com vice president of customer marketing.
At that point a salesperson's "mission is to look at a specific vehicle at a dealership that meets their criteria," Filan said of online shoppers.
Between July 2011 and August 2012, AutoTrader commissioned KS&R of Syracuse, N.Y., to survey by telephone 67,742 buyers of new and used vehicles across the country.
AutoTrader published the results last month. AutoTrader.com is a consumer auto shopping site that provides leads to dealers and posts inventory of new and used vehicles from participating dealerships.
The survey also found that online vehicle shoppers are more likely to travel farther to make a vehicle purchase than shoppers who don't use the Internet. About 23 percent of the car buyers surveyed who used the Internet for shopping said they bought their vehicles from dealerships more than 30 miles from their homes. Only 15 percent of shoppers who didn't use the Internet traveled that far.
The study showed that new-car buyers spend an average of 11.5 hours online researching their purchases and 7.5 hours offline in activities such as visiting stores. Used-car buyers on average spend 11 hours online and 7 hours offline.
AutoTrader Group of Atlanta, the parent company of AutoTrader.com., also owns KBB.com, vAuto and VinSolutions, which help dealers price used vehicles, market them to shoppers and perform other services.
AutoTrader has about 20,000 subscribing dealerships, split between new-vehicle franchised dealers and independent used-car stores.
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