Autos playing catch-up in digital
Shoppers say other industries make buying easier
Nearly four of five U.S. vehicle owners say the auto industry lags behind other online retailers in effective use of digital media, a survey shows.
Of that group, 90 percent say better digital media would significantly cut the time needed to buy a vehicle.
The survey for consulting firm Accenture by Coleman Parkes Research polled 1,000 U.S. vehicle owners and 12,000 non-U.S. owners in August and September.
Respondents owned their vehicles for a maximum of three years.
Anant Kamat, a managing director with Accenture's automotive practice, said shoppers' online experience will grow in influence, but will never replace face-to-face communication in a showroom.
Despite the need for improvement, 28 percent of U.S. respondents said they were very satisfied with their online purchasing experience and an additional 51 percent said they were satisfied, the survey showed.
They also were pleased with their overall buying experience online and in the showroom. The survey showed that 40 percent were very satisfied and another 39 percent were satisfied.
Two of three U.S. respondents said dealer Web sites were very influential or influential in the decision to buy a vehicle, while three of four respondents said factory Web sites influenced their decisions.
Meanwhile, U.S. vehicle shoppers are likely to visit more Web sites than non-U.S. shoppers: Among U.S. respondents, 58 percent had visited at least 16 Web sites to research their purchases, compared with 34 percent for other respondents, according to the survey.
U.S. shoppers are hungry for information about vehicles on their prospect lists, Kamat said, and they want smoother transitions between factory and dealer Web sites.
Said Kamat: "Shoppers want a more personalized experience."