Buyers who spend the most amount of time online shopping for a new vehicle also visit the most dealerships to shop prior to purchase, according to a new J.D. Power 2014 New Autoshopper Study.
"There may be a notion in the marketplace that the more auto shoppers use the Internet to determine which vehicle to buy, the fewer dealers they are inclined to shop, yet we see just the opposite" said Arianne Walker, senior director, automotive media & marketing at J.D. Power. "New-vehicle buyers who do a great deal of automotive Internet shopping also go to more dealerships to shop."
The study examined how new-vehicle buyers use digital devices, like smartphones, tablets, and computers, to collect information before purchasing a new car, along with websites and apps they use during the shopping process.
The study referred to new-vehicle buyers who use the internet during their shopping process as automotive internet users (AIUs).
AIUs spend approximately 14 hours on the internet looking for vehicles before making a purchase, according to the study. AIUs who spend the most time shopping on the internet, 12 hours or more, visit more dealers to shop prior to purchase than those who spend either moderate (5 to 11 hours) or minimal (1 to 4 hours) on the internet.
At least one-third (34 percent) of AIUs used either a tablet or smartphone while shopping at a dealership, an increase of 29 percent in 2013, according to the study.
Vehicle pricing is the most frequently accessed content at a dealership (61%), followed by model information (42%), searching inventory (40%) and special offers/incentives (36%).
"The phenomenon of 'showrooming' at new vehicle dealerships, where potential buyers use their mobile devices to verify information and price shop while at the dealership, will continue to grow," Walker said. "Shoppers are gathering information digitally up to moment the deal is signed, which underscores the need for ensuring mobile websites and apps have up-to-date and accurate information. Dealers need to accept and embrace this practice as the new status quo and provide complete transparency with price, value and product offering in order to build trust with these savvy new-vehicle shoppers. If not, dealers could lose these customers to the competition."
The study is based on responses from more than 15,300 purchases and lessees of 2012 to 2014 model-year vehicles who used information collected digitally during the shopping process.
The study took place between February 25, 2014 and July 9, 2014.