Used-car shoppers spend bulk of buying process online

CARY, N.C. - 

Used-car buyers who shop online spend 62 percent of the car-buying process there: online.

That's according to Cox Automotive’s latest Car Buyer Journey Study, which examines consumers’ car-shopping behavior during the car buying process and how they use their time.

Cox Automotive found that during the chunk of time car buyers spend online, they research and shop across multiple devices, creating multiple marketing opportunities for dealers, according to the company.

A total of 53 percent of all respondents who shop online use multiple devices when shopping, such as both desktop and laptop computers, smartphones and tablets.

Eighteen percent strictly used mobile, according to the study.

Among those who go online, a breakdown on their usage on each device:

Desktop/Laptop: 79%

Smartphone: 56%

Tablet: 32%

Again, car shopping on multiple devices means multiple marketing opportunities for dealers, Cox Automotive said.

Dealers have an opportunity to create unique ways to communicate a consistent overall message with content specifically designed for each device that consumers use, according to the company.

Car shoppers are getting introduced to the dealership before they actually go to the dealership, Cox Automotive's Scott Hernalsteen said in a phone interview with Auto Remarketing.

“After they’ve done all their research online, they’ve made a pretty solid decision,” said Hernalsteen, who is Cox Automotive Media's senior director of research and market intelligence. “So even though they’ve entered the process undecided, by the time they get done with their online work they have a really strong idea of what they’re going to purchase — three-quarters of the time they do purchase from the dealership what they were intending to purchase.”

The study suggests that marketers maintain an integrated marketing strategy because third-party sites are the most-used site of any online resource.

Used-car shoppers spent 65 percent of their total amount of time online visiting third-party sites, while they spent only 12 percent on dealership sites.

“The third party sites are doing a good job delivering the information that they need,” Hernalsteen said. “While the numbers are lower for dealer and OEM sites, they’re still incredibly important to the process.”

Here is how used-car shoppers are spending their time online:

Third-party sites: 65%

Dealership sites: 12%

OEM sites: 6%

Search: 10%

Other: 7%

Cox Automotive commissioned the 2017 Car Buyer Journey Study through IHS Automotive and surveyed a total of 2,175 car buyers who purchased a vehicle within a year prior to August 2016.

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