Auto shoppers displayed erratic behavior online in 2018, showing little loyalty to their previous model or make, according to a study by CarGurus.
Shoppers were even less certain about which dealership to turn to for their next purchase, the study found.
The CarGurus "Buyer Insight Report," which analyzed more than 3,000 recent auto purchasers in the new- and used-vehicle market, found that 69 percent of respondents chose a different brand from the one they were replacing, and 61 percent reported they were most likely to change their mind on the dealership.
The report is certain to sound a troubling note to retailers who have been doggedly pursuing better customer loyalty through improved service and showroom experiences.
"Switching car brands creates both an opportunity and a challenge for carmakers and dealerships," Madison Gross, senior manager of customer insights at CarGurus, said in a statement.
Equally disconcerting for a business that has tried to win over customers with relationships instead of price competition, pricing was the No.1 factor driving vehicle selection, according to the study. Two-thirds of the respondents said that price is what determined their dealership selection. Available inventory was the second most common factor, far below, at 36 percent.