Web engagement steady; online traffic dip less steep

ATLANTA - 

This year’s end-of-summer online car-shopping drop was less notable than prior-year seasonal changes, according to new Dealer.com data.

Dealer.com’s October DataView index found that total dealership website visits in September dropped by 6 percent compared to August.

Meanwhile last year, Dealer.com found a 9-percent drop in total traffic in September compared to August. And in 2015, the monthly contrast was 10 percent.

Dealer said the Houston area saw a significant drop in both traffic to Dealer.com websites and leads submitted to dealerships, following Hurricane Harvey.

But about a month later, activity returned to normal levels just after a spike, as Houstonians shopped for cars to replace those damaged in the storm.

In Florida, following Hurricane Irma, there was also a drop in web traffic before the hurricane's landfall and returned to normal levels about five days after the storm. But there was no spike to follow in Florida, which suggests that the damage in the state was not as severe as Houston’s, according to Dealer.com.

"A critical value of the DataView reporting is providing context and understanding around cyclical industry trends such as seasonal fluctuations," Cox Automotive Media Solutions senior director of analytics products James Grace said in a news release.

"As dealers continue to carefully monitor the sales climate, the October reporting points to continuing demand and purchase intent from U.S. consumers."

Consumer engagement in September was generally consistent with how it has been through the rest of the year, meaning SUVs remain popu;ar and mobile traffic is climbing.

More specificially, 35 percent of all VDP views were SUVs, making it the most popular segment. Mobile has climbed to the point where it is now accounting for 57 percent of total VDP visits, according to Dealer.com.

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