LONDON, Ontario -

Technology is changing the way used-vehicle buyers shop. 

As such, CARPROOF set out to take a fresh look at what carries consumers from "it's time to buy" to keys in hand.

The results, detailed in the newly released Into the Minds of Consumers report, shows that the path to purchase is paved with two type of buyers: car hunters and dealer-deciders.

Simply put, the former start their vehicle search online with no thought as to where they will buy that vehicle, while the latter opt to find a trusted dealership before choosing which car they will buy.

 “CARPROOF is a data company at its core. We have an extensive amount of unique data that empowers the Canadian used-car industry,” Mark Rousseau, president, said in a news release announcing the study. “This particular data-set provides surprising new information about the way used car buyers are shopping, which will be very insightful to dealerships looking to find new customers and build relationships that bring them back for their next purchase.”

Before delving into the minds of car hunters and dealer-deciders, the study looks at how the car-purchasing decision begins. Turns out, it happens before a consumer even starts actively looking.

Among all used-vehicle buyers, 88 percent know how much they are willing to spend on their next car before they start their search, and 85 percent know which type of vehicle they will buy. But only 37 percent know where they will make their next purchase.

Put another way, this means that 63 percent of used-car buyers have the potential to be wooed by dealers during the research process.

Also of note is what motivates consumers to start their car search. A majority — 64 percent — are driven by need; the remainder are motivated by desire.

Once the decision to purchase has been made, 60 percent of buyers will fall into the car hunter category.

Car hunters — 80 percent of them, the study found — will use dealership sites and/or online listing sites to filter vehicles by make, model, price and type, allowing them to quickly narrow down their options. Of that 80 percent, 39 percent believe these websites to be the most influential source of information for vehicle research.

Of car hunters who visited a dealership to see a vehicle they found online, 52 percent found that vehicle on the dealership’s website.

Car hunters come to the dealership ready to buy. In fact, 44 percent will buy from the first one they visit. Car hunters also tend to have their financing in order: 61 percent buy their vehicles with cash, and only 15 percent see access to financing as a pain point.

Additional statistics regarding car hunters:

— 39 percent will finance their purchase
— 30 percent will trade in a vehicle
— 20 percent say a lack of information regarding accident history is their top pain point, yet 63 percent are open to buying a vehicle that has been in an accident
— 47 percent make a listing website the first website they visit, while 19 percent will start at a dealer website

For the 40 percent of buyers who fall into the dealer-decider category, dealership reputation is king. Of these buyers, 41 percent believe the dealership visit was the most influential source of information during their vehicle purchase, followed by 23 percent who report friends and family.

While 87 percent of car hunters reported using one or more online resources during their purchase process, only 69 percent of dealer deciders reported doing so. And while 73 percent of car hunters reported using one or more offline resource, 83 percent of dealer-deciders reported doing so.

Additional statistics regarding dealer-deciders:

— 55 percent will finance their purchase
— 36 percent will trade in their vehicle
— 24 percent find access to financing a top pain point
— 58 percent are comfortable buying a vehicle that has been in an accident

Whether car hunter or dealer-decider, buyers reported things they wish were different about the car buying process:

— 30 percent want better visibility into vehicle information history

— 28 percent want simplified paperwork

— 25 percent want to see more cars available in a single location to view/compare

Additionally, there are certain things all used vehicle buyers want to know about their next car. Topping the list is top current condition (89 percent of buyers), mileage information (88 percent), previous accident information (81 percent) and maintenance and service history (80 percent).

A note about private buyers: These consumers are significantly less concerned about vehicle information. The No. 1 reason buyers opt for this route is price; 54 percent report this is why they bought privately.

The information contained in Into the Minds of Consumers was based on two Canadian studies: a cross-Canada study of used-car buyers and a dealer intercept study. For a more comprehensive look at results and study methods, download the study for free.